Big posse headed to Taos
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Mountain Sports team (CBMST) freeride athletes have been busy the past couple of weeks with athletes competing in events from Telluride, Colorado to Grand Targhee, Wyoming and a couple of places in between.
It started with several athletes headed to Telluride to compete in a 3-star national event January 30 through February 2. Addison Featherman had the top result among the CBMST skiers with a third place finish in her age class while local independent skier Brooks Hudson finished third in the boys 15-18 age class.
The next weekend a group of seven CBMST athletes traveled to Grand Targhee for an IFSA North American Junior Freeskiing National competition February 6-9. The comp would prove to be a big test, their first big test for some CBMST skiers, of the season as it attracts a lot of the top junior freeskiers.
“It’s a high level of competition for sure,” says coach Matt Evans. “There are as many as 50 boys and over 20 girls in each age division.”
While fog shrouded the mountains for the first couple of days of the event, it also brought snow and the athletes found great conditions when they finally got to compete on the top-notch venue.
“Conditions were perfect and it’s a great venue,” says Evans. “It’s a lot like Headwall, shorter but with more features.”
Gus Bullock led the CBMST team as he finished day one in eighth place and then jumped up into second place overall after his final run.
“He was super smooth, threw a great 360 off one feature and executed everything perfectly,” says Evans.
Snow snakes and mishaps took down a number of the other CBMST athletes but overall Evans was pleased with their skiing.
“The kids had to wait at the top for as long as two hours because of visibility but they persevered and did well,” says Evans.
Meanwhile, coach Grant Spear was at A-Basin Saturday and Sunday, February 8-9 for back-to-back regional comps and had equally, if not better, conditions for their competitions.
Kye Matlock was the lone CBMST athlete competing on Saturday fresh off a seventh place finish at the Freeride World Junior Championships in Kappl, Austria two weeks ago. Matlock had a bobble at the top of his run but recovered enough to finish in 10th place.
The following day, four athletes stepped into the starting gate for the competition looking down a venue stuffed with snow.
“They had the venue closed during the whole storm cycle and then opened it for the competition,” says Pear. “It was deep, epic conditions for sure.”
Owen Berv was the standout athlete on Sunday as he skied his way to a third place finish while Marko Alling was on pace for a similar result until his final move.
“He had a great run going but came up short on his bottom air and hit some rocks,” says Spear. “His skis took the brunt of the impact. He was healthy but bummed out.”
The CBMST stays in Crested Butte this weekend and then heads to Taos in force next week with 25 athletes jumping into two regional events and one National competition.
“It’s going to be huge,” says Spear. “Things are looking good right now. The kids are stepping up their game and skiing really strong.”