Mountain Sports Team struggles at IFSA Junior Nationals
Written by Than Acuff
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Look to rebound in final weeks of season
The Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team (CBMST) was heavily represented on their home hill with 12 athletes competing in the IFSA Junior Nationals freeskiing event at Crested Butte Mountain Resort March 8-9.
The event drew close to 150 skiers from throughout the west all gunning for key national series points in both the 12-14 and 15-18 year old age groups.
With conditions the way they are on Crested Butte Mountain, event organizers ran the qualifying day on Hawks Nest and the finals on Staircase.
The CBMST was fresh off a strong showing at a regional event the week before and were looking to take their game to the next level at the National event.
“They were definitely ready for it,” says CBMST coach Will Dujardin.
CBMST skier Matt Evans led the charge for the team on the qualifier day spinning to win the day in the 15-18 year old age group.
“Matt had a sick day one run,” says Dujardin. “He threw a 360 at the top and was able to keep it really fluid through Hawks Nest.”
Oz Scott also advanced finishing day one in 17th place and Patrick Curvin just made the cut off coming in 28th place in the 15-18 age group.
Josie Byron made the cut in the girls 15-18 year old finishing her day in fourth place while Maile Cowell was the lone young gun for CBMST finishing the qualifier day in third place in the girls 12-14 age group.
The other seven CBMST skiers had a rough go of it on the qualifying day falling short of advancing to the finals.
“Freeskiing competitions aren’t kind,” says Dujardin. “It may have been a combination of conditions and over-thinking things.”
Skiers were faced with tricky conditions on Staircase with a mixed bag of soft, punchy as well as firm snow and rife with rocks at the top and extensive foliage on the bottom third of the run dubbed the “cabbage patch.”
Cowell ended up dropping a spot in the finals finishing in fourth place. Byron had a quality run on her finals day working the upper skiers left side of the Staircase with smooth turns in a highly exposed area before turning into the gut and finishing it out without a hiccup.
The run set her up for success if the top three suffered any mishaps but they didn’t and Byron finished the competition in fourth.
Scott moved up a spot on his finals run from 17th to 16th place but Evans had a tough go on his finals run.
After flashing the upper part of the Staircase including a quick double on the upper portion of the handrail area, Evans came charging back into the Handrail area for more airtime.
Unfortunately, he ended up body checking as he reentered the Handrail and got hung up dropping him from his podium position in the final standings.
“There was a technical hard pack aspect to the Handrail,” says Dujardin. “The conditions were not ideal for his line.”
After a tough weekend, the team received good news on Tuesday when the prequalified list for the Junior North American Championships was posted and six CBMST skiers made the cut. Evans, Scott, Brittany Barefield, Byron, Cowell and Lizzy Curvin are all in if they want to go. The IFSA North American championships will be held at Revelstoke Ski Resort in British Columbia April 5-7.
Until then, Evans is back at it competing at a National series event at Crystal Mountain this weekend and then will join the team for another event in Grand Targhee March 21-14.
“There are chances for everyone to improve before they go into Revelstoke,” says Dujardin. “We’ll see what happens.”