February 5, 2011 | Stop 1 of the Ski The East Freeride tour is Mad River Glen, VT, setting the season off with a bang. This place breeds excellence, skiers like world class Lars Chickering Ayers grew up here, Lars won the 2010 Freeskiing World Championships at Snowbird, Utah, last March and continues to move his way up the ranks on the Tour. Mad River Glen is a gem, every ounce of the mountain demands commitment, living up to the motto “ski it if you can”. This years competition brought over 100 contestants, with many more entries than they had predicted the event started an hour early to make sure everyone got a chance to run.
Conditions were good – most of the terrain around the mountain was skiing excellently, with help from the 40 some-odd inches ULLR had delivered to Northern Vermont in the last 7 days. The course was bumped up and patchy in places but for the most part it was holding snow very well. The course also claimed it’s victims – not any serious injuries that we are aware of but there were certainly some gruesome spills on the bottom section.
It’s an outstanding venue, one for it’s hollywood bottom section but also because it’s so gosh darn long. The bottom most challenging it holds the largest cliff band on course and competitors are usually pretty gassed at this point. A lot of the terrain up above on the single chair liftline is steep and exposed but most of it has safety lines or patches that don’t require mandatory drops. This section has it’s safety exit out the skier’s left but down the center it’s got endless opportunities. Looking at it from the side or the bottom just doesn’t do it justice. It’s seriously intimidating sitting on the lift looking down, most people picked their way through the cliff band, a few competitors went big, essentially a 25′ to 30′ huck and you gotta be able to send it deep to get past the 3 stages of rock and ice. The lowest cliff band had plenty of opportunities as well, it looked like the landing was starting to wash out but some sent it big, even a few old school moves.
From our side stand outs included Luke Catlin, this guy came in 6th overall – He played it safe up top and didn’t go huge but sent the last cliff big. Luke meticulously picked his way through the cliff band like he had skied it a thousand times before, clean, controlled and stylish. This is him.
Ryan Hughes, this guy went big at the bottom but washed out in the bumpy section between cliffs, an unfortunate fall but he stylishly threw a 180 off the bottom drop. Here is Ryan.
Chris Stearns, Chris had one of the cleaner hucks through the bottom section and he certainly deserves an honorable mention. Here’s a shot of Chris and also his POV footage from the day.
POV | Chris Stearns
Collin Boyd, a competitor who finished 38 but he threw down pretty hard, we also think he stood out because we saw him in the woods after the competition picking his way through some super technical cliff lines. Here is a shot of Colin and a quick clip of him in the woods after the competition.
Alpine-Live.com | Post-Competition Hucking with Collin Boyd
Lastly, Brad Coffey – he finished one spot above Collin but his line choice towards the bottom section was super technical and he stuck it.
Our video edit from the day
Here are the top 5 finishers:
1. Carson Barbour | 103.85
2. Colby Vavolotis | 103.85
3. Andy Weis | 102.4
4. Jeremy Walker | 102
5. Brent Harrewyn | 98.1