February 27 , 2007
Taos Ski Valley, NM - (News Release) - A favorable southern flow keeps pounding the resort with snow and conditions are arguably the best in the country for the second annual event. "Things are on track," says Chief of Race Tom Winter. "Conditions on The Ridge and at other venues are looking really good. We're hoping to add some new zones to this year's comp. Who knows, maybe we'll even have a super-final off the top of Kachina Peak."
It is said that in Taos, gravity is a state of mind, hospitality is a way of life, and pure skiing is everything! Expect a talented regional contingent to battle it out with a field of top extreme skiers from across the nation in the Second Annual Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships slated for February 28 thru March 3, hosted by Taos Ski Valley.
"In only its second year, this event is poised to become a staple on the big mountain circuit, wrote Tom Winters in Freeskier Magazine (Dec 2005). The five-day freeride competition for skiers is an International Free Skiing Association (IFSA) sanctioned event. Top competitors will jockey for prizes including a cash purse of $10,000, equipment and product prizes in each of the divisions (male, female, and junior skiers) and athletes will get points towards the overall North American standings.
"We're proud to be working with Jim Jack and the rest of the IFSA," says Winter. "It's a top-notch organization and one which all skiers should support." Entries will be limited to 150 competitors and the event is expected to draw top international riders, as well as competitors from across the Rocky Mountain region and the Western United States.
If you have yet to register for the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos, now is the time to do so, space is limited. Qualifying will consist of two runs, with the field being progressively cut each day. Venues will be determined by the TSV ski patrol, Chief of Race and event staff and are subject to change depending upon snow and weather conditions. There will be five judges for the event. Judging will adhere to the standards created by the IFSA.
A thletes are judged in five specific categories: Line — the steepness, exposure, snow conditions and number of obstacles in the path chosen by the skier; Control - a fall is the ultimate loss of control and greatly affects a skier's score; Fluidity - constant direction toward a goal. This category includes continuity, pace, speed and smooth transitions; Form/Technique — style and technical ability, this category is the most subjective and is the athlete's opportunity to impress the judges with style and skiing beauty. The final category is aggressiveness/attack — which focuses on the energy with which a skier attempts a chosen line.
Winning is tough; just a few bobbles can cost you valuable points in the judges' eyes. Competing against a pedigree of top-notch athletes in a venue representing some of the best double-diamond terrain in the country, littered with tight lines, multiple cliff drops and gnarly rocks bearing names like Zdarsky Spine and Mickey's Nose.
"There were lines being skied that have never been skied before on this mountain. That's what big-mountain comps are all about," said Alejandro Blake, TSV Special Events Coordinator. "Taos has that reputation as being a steep mountain and is always rated one of the top 10 in the country. It was a natural to host the event here, since most of the other mountains hosting are mentioned in the same breath with Taos.
The venues for this event, Kachina Peak's famous steep cliff bands and the notorious West Basin Ridge, will showcase Taos' toughest terrain. "The competitors consider themselves professional athletes and there is a lot of conditioning that goes into it. They approach the sport very seriously, and they should, because it can be a very dangerous sport if you're not in the right frame of mind or in good condition," Blakke said. "The reputation the event earned two seasons ago has made it one of the staples of the IFSA. Check out photos of the 2005 event at http://www.skitaos.org/freeride/photos.php.
For more info about the event or to register as a competitor go to http://www.skitaos.org/freeride/.