The finals of the Subaru Canadian Freeskiing Championships went off in grand fashion today at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
A statement from tour organizers said the 20 men and seven women were flown to the top of Mac Face in a Bell 105 provided by Selikirk Tangiers Heli Skiing. Mac Face, which is right at the edge of the resort boundary, is a steep technical face that proved challenging for the finals competitors as well as Revelstoke’s Professional Ski Patrol.
While the day one competition was happening in North Bowl on Sunday, the Patrollers were busy heli bombing Mac Face, with little results. Today, the patrollers were the first ones dropped at the top of the run and while doing ski cuts to test the snow pack they triggered several significant slides. Due to this the helicopter was sent to pick up explosives so the patrol could throw hand charges into the venue to ensure its safety for the competition. This pushed the competition back an hour but safety is always the first thing in the minds of event organizers and the ski patrol.
“A short delay is a small price to pay to ensure our competitors safety” remarked Event Director Bryan Barlow. Once the venue was cleared by the ski patrol, the women were the first to get their shot at Mac Face.
The women’s champion was Leah Evans of Rossland with a run score of 32.83 and combined score of 66.16. Tatum Monod of Revelstoke fought her way from the qualifier to finish in second with a combined score of 46.90. Rounding out the podium finishers for the women was Nicole Derksen of Revelstoke with a combined run score of 42.10.
On the men’s side, the competition was intense as the champion was not decided until the last run. Lars Chickering-Ayers of Mad River Glen, Vermont, came out on top with a run score of 42.07 giving him a combined score of 79.37. Chickering-Ayers earned his score by skiing a line that included lots of exposure and ended with high speed turns through the sluff debris at the bottom of the venue. Skiing directly after Chickering-Ayers was Drew Tabke of Seattle, Washington, who came into the day in first place by a small margin of 1.23 points. Needing a score of 40.84 to retain his lead, Tabke fell short with a run score of 33.8 putting him in second place with a combined score of 72.33. The final podium finisher for the men was Spencer Brinson of Kirkwood, California, with a combined score of 71.67. The top Revelstoke male was Sean Cochrane. He came in 15th place with a score of 31.33.
The three men and women were presented with their Howitzer Trophies in downtown Revelstoke. The Howitzer Trophy, fashioned from howitzer shells used for avalanche control work, will be presented to the top three men and women at all of the remaining stops on the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour. The tour next heads to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the tour qualifier as athletes who have yet to pre qualify for the tour vie for the coveted remaining pre-qualified spots for the remainder of the season.