Estrada, Ogden rule Crested Butte extremes


Although the base was a meager 42 to 55 inches on this rocky horn, the skiing was better than ever at Crested Butte’s 16th annual U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships.
    “The best thing about the extremes is the local support. The crowd is at least three times bigger than any other contest,” said Laura Ogden, Whistler transplant and 2006 freeskiing world tour winner.
    The semifinals were on Staircase in the North Face area. Hannah Whitney attacked the couloir and took air in the steep upper section. Whitney outscored Ogden in both runs. “With a few more comps behind her, she’s going to start slaying it,” Ogden said of her competition.
    Ogden adjusts for the treed terrain of the Butte: “My normal style is fast, with big turns, so I have to switch it up when I come here,” she said. After hitting the diving-board air, she worked the “handrail” of Staircase for as many little airs as possible.
    Newcomer Crystal Wright took third on the day, showing strong, confident form and air skills in the main Staircase line.


CRESTED BUTTE, Colorado — Although the base was a meager 42 to 55 inches on this rocky horn, the skiing was better than ever at Crested Butte’s 16th annual U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships.
    “The best thing about the extremes is the local support. The crowd is at least three times bigger than any other contest,” said Laura Ogden, Whistler transplant and 2006 freeskiing world tour winner.
    The semifinals were on Staircase in the North Face area. Hannah Whitney attacked the couloir and took air in the steep upper section. Whitney outscored Ogden in both runs but Ogden won the finals. “With a few more comps behind her, she’s going to start slaying it,” Ogden said of her competition.
    Ogden adjusts for the treed terrain of the Butte: “My normal style is fast, with big turns, so I have to switch it up when I come here,” she said. After hitting the diving-board air, she worked the “handrail” of Staircase for as many little airs as possible.
    Newcomer Crystal Wright took third on the day, showing strong, confident form and air skills in the main Staircase line.
    The Slot Rocks area was available to skiers only for the second run. Slot is a series of hunchbacked pillows that eventually lead to cliffs, with tons of trees right at the bottom.
    Butte local and favorite Carrie Jo Chernoff was one of the only women to go there, but lost her route and did not get the high score she’d hoped for, holding fourth. Those damned Crested Butte trees!
    Aaron Estrada took the men’s lead in the semifinals. Estrada skied with fluid speed and palpable aggression. His second semifinal run scored an amazing 37 points, which he modestly called “a gift.”
    He held the lead and became the first man ever to win three U.S. extremes, all while skiing with his right hand in a cast. Estrada has felt pain as well as victory here. In 2003, he crushed the same hand and had to be evacuated for emergency surgery. After taking 2004 off from competition, he returned to Crested Butte in 2005 with unsatisfying results.
    Tyson Bolduc broke a ski in his first run and was handed a low score for the resulting loss of fluidity. His second run peaked with a dialed 20-foot air to a narrow landing pad surrounded by trees in the gut of the couloir.
    Griffin Post, defending champion, hit Slot Rocks better than anyone, with an exciting descent into the longest cliff with the shortest landing zone.
    Headwall, the finals venue, is a rocky place that goes through skis like Kleenex. The treeless terrain and mostly sunny skies allowed the competitors to step up the speed and tricks.
    The day was blustery, with an intense wind blowing at the top of the course. The Butte crowds were out in force and whooping it up, pretending it was warm. Because of the short runs, everyone got two runs and the event was still over by 1:30 p.m.
    Ogden stepped it up, taking one of the most exposed lines of the women’s field. Ogden aired through sets of boulders and rock gardens with full exposure below.
    “The best thing about my last run was hitting my first pillow drop, and finding it still had snow on it! I thought it would all be gone, so I was like, ‘Just deal with it. … That and the crowd cheering as I came in,” said Ogden.
    Her bold lines earned the highest women’s score of the day, 34, and she overtook the point lead of Whitney.
    Whitney was thrilled with her second-place result in her third-ever competition. “I think Laura definitely skied stronger than me today. I missed my line the first run.” Whitney’s second run tied Ogden’s as the second-highest women’s score of the day (30.4).
    The former alpine racer watched the extremes for a few years before trying it last year. “I like competition. Even though it is against other women, it’s totally about challenging yourself. There’s so much support — everyone is stoked for each other,” said Whitney.
    Chernoff took third place with a strong final run.
    Estrada skied through the rock fields of Headwall remarkably fast but in perfect control. On run two, he hit an imbedded rock. Everyone gasped as Estrada disappeared in his snow plume, but he collected himself and finished the run as if nothing had happened.
    “I snagged the rock, and it blew a sidewall. It completely stopped me. I put my hand down [the broken one], but I was able to get it together. Fortunately, I was in a spot where I could stop safely,” said Estrada.
    Second-place finisher Bolduc had super-clean style and threw a 360 off a natural launch pad, over a steep rocky face and down 30 feet to hardpack. The 360 got the crowd roaring and earned him the Sick Bird award for the biggest move.
    He added the trick to his earlier line, knowing he had to turn it up to stay in contention. Said Bolduc, “I tried to find new lines, but that was the only area I had slipped. I had to do something more. There was a really smooth transition into that jump, so I knew I could do a 360. I had lots of time to visualize it.”
    Post and Cliff Bennett had similar fast, direct runs through main angle gully. Friday’s scores kept Post in third place over Bennett, who took fourth.
    Jesse Hall took one of the most exposed lines in recent memory, dropping 25 feet from the main cliff face onto a narrow landing pad above angle gully and all of the rocks and cliffs below it.
    Upon landing, Hall slipped back off the snow pad and tumbled over most of the rocks below — about 70 feet in total. He just stood up and skied down. Afterward he said, “I’m fine, just mad, that’s all,” thanks to body armor and a bit of luck.
    Hall hit the same outrageous line for run two and stuck it, getting the highest run score of the competition (37.8). His attack of the upper cliffs was i
ncredible, especially after the disastrous first go, but Hall skied smoothly and quickly through the entire course.
     The banquet/awards ceremony was memorable in the end because the final scores were not tabulated correctly. Everyone’s last run was left out of the totals, causing a major reshuffling in the men’s and women’s results. This was discovered by some competitors after the awards had concluded, and many had left.

Adam Heller’s most recent U.S. extremes as a competitor was 2002. He is a ski journalist and photographer based in Boulder, Colorado.


CRESTED BUTTE EXTREMES 2007
FINAL RESULTS

FEMALE JUNIOR COMPETITORS
PLACE BIBFIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE RUN 1 RUN 2 RUN 3 RUN 4 TOTAL
1 128Francesca Pavillard-Cain Steamboat Springs CO 24 24 25 22 95
2 138Colby Adams Breckenridge CO 29 18.2 23.2 22.2 92.6
3 91Katherine Crew Denver CO 27 25 16.2 19.8 88
4 140Erin Kerr Whistler WA 23.6 19.8 24.2 DNS 67.6

MALE JUNIOR COMPETITORS
PLACE BIBFIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE RUN 1 RUN 2 RUN 3 RUN4 TOTAL
1 74Tyler Ceccanti Lake Tapps WA 31 31 31.8 29.4 123.2
2 170Matt Potter Morrison CO 32 29 31 27.6 119.6
3 89North Parker Hailey ID 30.6 19.4 30.6 30.8 111.4
4 58Max Weintraub Norden CA 26.2 31 27.4 26 110.6
5 127Zach Coffey Gunnison CO 28.2 29.6 26 24.2 108
6 49Ian Lockhart Avon CO 27.8 28.4 24.8 25 106
7 148Brandon Clabaugh Aspen CO 28.4 28.8 21 26.8 105
8 192Benjamin Costa San Rafael CA 20 25.4 27 24 96.4
9 118Jesse Tibbetts Santa Rosa CA 21.8 23 28.4 19.4 92.6
10 180Matthew Stern Mill Valley CA 22.2 23 27.6 19.4 92.2
11 87Nick Coffey Gunnison CO 23.4 24.2 24.4 19.6 91.6
12 159Ian Lowell Aspen CO 26.4 28.4 23.8 TDQ 78.6

MASTER WOMEN
BIBFIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE RUN 1 RUN 2 RUN 3 TOTAL
1 188Kelly Walter Crested Butte CO 12.8 18.8 20.4 52

ADULT WOMEN
BIBFIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE RUN 1 RUN 2 RUN 3 RUN 4 TOTAL
1 153Laura Ogden Crystal Mountain WA 26.2 23.4 30.4 34 114
2 178Hannah Whitney Gunnison CO 26.4 24 21.4 30.4 102.2
3 45Carrie Jo Chernoff Crested Butte CO 22.2 24 25.4 29.2 100.8
4 96Phillipa Hunt Salt Lake City UT 20.8 19.6 28.2 28.8 97.4
5 80Crystal Wright Wilson WY 25.8 22.2 18 30 96
6 145Tanya Christensen Crested Butte CO 21.8 19 25 26.6 92.4
7 174Karolina Ekman Gothenburg Sweden 26 19.2 24 17.6 86.8
8 164Ashley Carruth Carbondale CO 23.2 15.2 22.8 22.2 83.4
9 126Suzanne Graham Salt Lake City UT 19.8 19.6 20.4 18.6 78.4

MASTER MEN
BIBFIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE RUN 1 RUN 2 RUN 3 RUN 4 TOTAL
1 120Peter Bowers Incline Village NV 29.2 24.4 28.8 29 111.4
2 51Jonathan Love Carbondale CO 26.4 25.4 21 20.8 93.6
3 137Leo VanDerBosch Telluride CO 26.2 18.6 27.4 17.6 89.8
4 72Mark O'Neill Crested Butte CO 20.6 22.2 21.8 23.2 87.8
5 166Rich Shaw SLC UT 24 18.8 TDQ

ADULT MEN
BIBFIRST NAME LAST NAME CITY STATE RUN 1 RUN 2 RUN 3 RUN 4 TOTAL
1 42Aaron Estrada Carnelian Bay CA 31.2 37 34.6 30.8 133.6
2 86Tyson Bolduc Avon CO 26.6 33.8 35.4 36.6 132.4
3 85Griffin Post Denver CO 30 35 31.2 35 131.2
4 44Cliff Bennett Ward CO 27.6 34.6 32.8 34.2 129.2
5 77Lars Chickering-Ayers Plainfield VT 27.4 29.6 35.4 36 128.4
6 93Ben Furimsky Mt. Crested Butte CO 24.6 34 33 36 127.6
7 71Ryan Sutton Crested Butte CO 26.2 28.2 36.2 36.8 127.4
8 168Kent Hyden Park City UT 26 30.8 32.6 32.8 122.2
9 59Chris Dach Crested Butte CO 24.2 33 28.2 31.6 117
10 70Justin Modroo Red Lodge MT 23.2 28 32.8 32.6 116.6
11 114Dylan Crossman Randolph UT 28.4 34.4 32.6 20.4 115.8
11 95Jesse Hall Salt Lake City UT 28.4 32.8 16.8 37.8 115.8
13 56John Nicoletta Aspen CO 23 29 31.6 29 112.6
14 57Ben Somrak Crested Butte CO 25.2 26.6 28.8 30 110.6
14 104Cody Price Gunnison CO 27.4 30.8 21.2 31.2 110.6
16 198Tanner Flanagan Jackson WY 21.8 24.4 31.8 31 109
17 182Forrest Coots Mount Shasta CA 23 31 19.8 34.6 108.4
18 155Chris Tatsuno Gunnison CO 30.8 28.6 24.6 23.8 107.8
19 172Cory Zila Mammoth Lakes CA 26.6 23.4 28.2 29.2 107.4
20 183Bobby Block Crested Butte CO 27 20.2 35.8 22.2 105.2
21 75Alex Else Crested Butte CO 27.6 30 25 17.4 100
22 173Lucas Urtiaga Belen NM 23.8 27.4 18.4 TDQ 69.6

 

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