Freeride soars at Jackson Hole
by Gavin Thompson, Intercollegiate Club Sports Staff Writer
Western’s Freeride ski team excelled at their first competition of the year in Jackson Hole Wyoming last weekend January 29-30.
The competition was split into two days one of which was a qualifying day and the other was the final day of competition featuring the best skiers at the event.
Western freerider Mark Mikos took a podium finish placing fourth out of a pool of 93 other men during his final race in the second day. Miko qualified to race in day two by taking 8th place in the day one preliminary race.
Miko’s success not only earned him accolades at Jackson Hole, but has also pre-qualified him to enter into all of the competitive rounds in all competitions for the rest of the season. With his pre-qualification Miko will be allowed to skip past the preliminary rounds in the rest of the year’s tournaments.
Also representing Western was Lady Mountaineer Ciera Glenn who was nominated for the Sick Bird Belt Buckle by judges at the competition. The Sick Bird award is given to the freeride skier who fearlessly attempts the most daring line.
Glenn was nominated for the award after taking on a cliff that intimidated the rest of her opponents. Although she did not stick the landing, Glenn was still nominated just for trying such a difficult line.
Also representing Western was skier Sierra Halverston who, according to Coach Eric Freson, was on track to a podium finish before hitting a mogul field and crashing just feet before the end o her run.
Another Mountaineer who nearly made the final cut was Max Lindsey who missed the final selection by only two placements out of nearly a hundred competitors.
According to Freson, the team’s success at Jackson Hole is indicative of the talent and passion of Western’s skiers.
“These competitions are not collegiate by any means”, said Freson. “We are the only college team that does this, the Freeride World Tour is actually a breeding ground for pro-athletes to make a name for themselves. We are competing against the best up-and-coming skiers in North America… It’s tough so to do well is really, really great.”
Freson also sited good team dynamics as a factor lending to Western’s success at their first competition.
“After day two the rest of the team set up camp at the base of the tram face and we all cheered Mark on. Afterward We did a lot of hot tubing and we all got dinner together on Saturday to celebrate Mark’s victory which was nice” Freson said.
Overall, the first freeride competition of the year was a good one for Western and according to Coach Freson the rest of the season look very bright.
“I am expecting to see the team do well we have five women racers which is very exciting…and our men’s field is also very competitive”. Said Freson.“I would expect to see at least one podium finish for us at Crested Butte.”
Up next for the Freeride team is their annual competition at Crested Butte Mountain Resort on February 17-21.
Western’s Freeride ski team is currently looking for new members to join them for the rest of their season. Any prospective members should e-mail coach Freson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in learning more about the team should check out www.wscfreerideskiteam.com.