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The Judges’ Perspective: No Go on Tram Face

The Judges’ Perspective: No Go on Tram Face

[ February 28, 2010 - 6:48pm ]
Tram Face Slide
As of this morning, the plan for the Squaw Valley stop of the Freeride World Tour was to let competitors tackle the infamous Tram Face. But then poor snow conditions led to a change of plans and today's run was can canceled. Instead, the event will move to Silverado tomorrow. Judge Tom Winter gives us the details.

As any kid will tell you, there’s nothing worse than getting a gift on Christmas, only to have it taken away. While today wasn’t quite Christmas, it did seem that those of us at Squaw Valley got the gift of a lifetime when the resort’s notorious Tram Face was given the green light from ski patrol as “good to go” for today’s Freeride World Tour competition. But then, in a cruel twist of fate, that very same gift was stolen from us.

The event was on hold, waiting for warmer temperatures to soften the bottom of the venue when a photographer or someone, walked out a ridge that was closed to athletes and triggered a massive avalanche on an area adjacent to the event venue. The slide created a bit of excitement as Freeride World Tour guide and head of snow safety Jerome Ruby was on the event venue at the time, and was traversing off of it into the path of the slide. Ruby was unscathed as was local photographer Hank de Vre, who was also on the event venue preparing to shoot the event. The reaction from Squaw’s patrol and mountain manager was immediate: no competition today.

Of course, with safety being the priority at all Freeride World Tour events, that decision didn’t come as a surprise. The new plan is that the event will move to the Silverado venue tomorrow. This area has remained closed for the past two days, preserving the snow, and preventing tracks from sullying the venue. Still, the fact that the event has to return to Silverado for 2010 (poor conditions on the Tram Face led to a similar situation last year) is disappointing for everyone, particularly the athletes who were looking forward to testing themselves on what has to be one of the toughest venues in North America. Stay tuned for further updates.

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