Locals defend home hill
The chillingly steep pillow drops of Slot Rocks, the endurance pushing Staircase and the intimidating Dead Bob’s chute served as the stage for the best telemark skiers in the nation to exhibit their knee-bending prowess in this weekend’s 13th Annual U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Telemark Championships.
Colin MacMillan and Mackenzie Mailly, both of Crested Butte, skied their way into first-place finishes, the title of “Champion” and $1,200 in cold, hard cash.
The championships were held on day one in Hourglass’ narrow choke, the mandatory crux air of Cesspool and the billy-goating terrain of Sock-It-To-Me Ridge. Competitors pushed through two runs on day one with a finals and super finals on day two. Points for each run throughout the two-day event were cumulative.
MacMillan showed his intimate familiarity of the heart-dropping steepness of Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s famed Extreme Limits. He absolutely torpedoed through the rocky Handrail and car-sized boulders of Slot Rocks with lightning speed, arcing beautiful telemark turns. For his efforts, MacMillan is the new Adult Men’s champion.
“The guy flashed through that run like there were no rocks,” says head judge Ross Matlock, “He’s cat-like, and he just goes for it.”
MacMillan, who has garnered second, eighth and 10th-place finishes in the competition in years past, flew into the finish line with an ear-to-ear grin, earning himself 126.20 points overall for his speed and agility.
“It’s just another day of skiing,” he says modestly.
MacMillan scored a full five points above second-place competitor Will Cardamone of Basalt. Cardamone, in his third competition in Crested Butte, had his own feast of fast Slot Rocks drops, finishing with 121.20 points while scoring the highest single run of the entire competition in the super finals. Corky Still, skiing out of Alyeska Resort in Alaska, placed third through his dramatic drops in Slot Rocks, giving him 118.40 points.
Mailly, just barely old enough to enter the Adult Women’s division, is no stranger to competition. With numerous junior championship titles and podium finishes at the Crested Butte competition under her belt, she strutted her experience with the most difficult line choices for the women throughout the two-day event. Mailly showed complete competence and confidence in her difficult line choices in Sock-It-To-Me, Hourglass and Slot Rocks.
“There is so much support here for telemark skiing,” says the Crested Butte native and member of the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team, “and we have the best coaches.”
Mailly ended a full 4.6 points in front of second-place finisher Paige Brady of Anchorage. Brady also had a strong showing, with consistent bites of the meat of Slot Rocks with her unwaveringly style. Finishing out the women’s podium was Francesca Pavillard-Cain, another recent addition to the adult division. Pavillard-Cain, known for her buttery smoothness and rock-solid skiing throughout numerous junior extreme competitions with championship and podium finishes, showed she can hang just as well with the adults. It was here in the Adult Women’s category that competition experience trumping age was most clearly demonstrated.
For the Junior Women it was another Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team member, Klara Wohlers, who took first place with her consistency and fluidity in Staircase, winning her 73.20 points. Danny Plyman of Edwards, Colo., who punched through one of the most impressive lines of the day in Slot Rocks, took it for the Junior Men.
The Masters Men held strong, showing the tele youth of today the roots of the sport. Bill Lench of Breckenridge smoothed his way through Staircase to a first-place finish and 48.60 points.
And for the coveted Sick Bird Award, Crested Butte local Daniel Krajewski plummeted off of a nauseatingly high cliff in Slot Rocks to the absolute cheering pleasure of the cow-bell-clad crowd.
Crested Butte continues to provide the most challenging venue for aspiring telemark skiers to test their skills against those of their peers. The camaraderie and telemark culture is evident here, in both the crowd and the athletes, creating a competition infused with style.
1. Bill Lench, Breckenridge, Colo.
2. Kent Fasiang, Carson City, Nev.
3. Launce Gauw, Salt Lake City, Utah
4. Randy Leeds, Littleton, Colo.
1. Klara Wohlers, Crested Butte, Colo.
2. Riley Ebel, Eagle, Colo.
3. Kelsey Lewis, Basalt, Colo.
4. Brooke Lederer, Basalt, Colo.
5. Hannah Fasiang, Carson City, Nev.
1. Danny Plyman, Edwards, Colo.
2. Luke Lubchenco, Glenwood Springs, Colo.
3. Luke Cutler, Castle Rock, Colo.
4. Jordan Goldstein, Vail, Colo. & Cole Graskamp, Vail, Colo.
1. Mackenzie Mailly, Crested Butte, Colo.
2. Paige Brady, Anchorage, Alaska
3. Francesca Pavillard-Cain, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
4. Sydney Fuller, Crested Butte, Colo.
5. Dede O’Mara, Jackson, Wyo.
1. Colin MacMillan, Crested Butte, Colo.
2. Will Cardamone, Basalt, Colo.
3. Corky Still, Reno, Nev.
4. Seaton MacMillan, Crested Butte, Colo.
5. Jeremy Wegner, Irwin, Colo.