Crested Butte, CO, February 23, 2008 — For only the fourth time in the 17-year history of the Subaru U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships (USEFC), Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) allowed competitors to take full advantage of the record-breaking snowfall. CBMR Pro Patrollers dropped the ropes on the oft-closed vertical, cliff-strewn 'Big Hourglass' venue to today's finalists and super finalists.
Jen Ashton of Whistler, BC, showcased her classic powerhouse form through the finals and super finals to dominate the women's field. This approach kept her on the top of the women's podium with a final score of 93.00.
"I was really nervous this morning," Ashton reflected. "I tried to keep my focus on how fun this was going to be, not how daunting the course was…there are so many exposures on this venue, from huge rocks to tree roots, not to mention how outright steep it is. I just tried to put the demons out of my mind and focus on keeping it fun."
Colby Adams of Breckenridge, CO, finished second with 89.00 points, and Hannah Whitney of Alta, UT rounded out the podium with 79.25 points.
With CBMR's natural amphitheater at the base of the venue packed with roaring spectators, the men's field got underway with finals action that included 30 of the best in the world putting it all on the line. Coming into today's finals in the hot seat, Dane Tudor of Red Mountain, BC, gave no slack on his lead, flawlessly skiing through a chain of waterfall leaps, before blowing the crowd away with a massive launch across 'Gary's Gap', a terrain feature never before successfully landed in competition. Hot on his heels, the world class field of athletes pushed each other to the limit, skiing seemingly impossible lines with aggressiveness and style.
"This is just simply unbelievable skiing, there is no other way to put it," exclaimed Eric "H" Baumm, USEFC Event Director. "The bar just keeps getting raised higher with these guys, and to have this much snow to work with just means they keep going bigger and better every run."
The super finals kept everyone's eyes glued skyward as the exclusive group of 10 finalists took center stage. Today's undisputed Sick Bird Award winner, Kiffor Berg (Aspen, CO) sent a shockwave through the crowd in his Super Finals run, after lining up to an 80+ foot drop, smirking at his skis, and dropping in for the long flight, skiing away to the delight of every witness.
Ultimately though, it was Brett Crabtree of Whistler, BC's clean skiing and perfect landings which earned him one of the most coveted titles in freeskiing, taking the title with 112 points.
"I just kept it straight-up," said Crabtree. "I wanted to stick my landings with no room for second-guessing. I felt so solid all day, just on it."
Cliff Bennett of Snowbird, UT, claimed second place with 110.99 points, and Dane Tudor of Whistler, BC, finished third with 110.75.
The North Face Young Gun award, which rewards a single under 21-year-old competitor who shined throughout the competition, was awarded twice at the 2008 USEFC. The first went to Dane Tudor with the second going to Colby Adams, both only 18 years old, and both taking second place respectively.
Nancy Elrod of Squaw Valley, CA, took top honors in the women's Masters category with 66.58 points, followed by Michelle Keener of Big Sky, MT, in second with 62.15, and Teri Siebert of Vail, CO, in third with 44.48 points. The men's Masters was led by Scott Kennett of Telluride, CO, with 83.83 points, Marc Schllhorn of Crested Butte, CO, in second with 77.5, and Tim Naylor of Taos, NM, in third with 70.33 total points.
MSI will broadcast same-day video webcasts on the newly redesigned and recently launched usfreeskiing.com which features state of the art video and photo player technology. The daily uploads of video, photos, news and results of each day's competition action will be available after each day conclludes. To see all the action of the final rounds please visit usfreeskiing.com.
2008 Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Series & Freeskiing World Tour Schedule
Special thanks to our sponsors: Subaru of America, The North Face, Corona, Nordica, Coca-Cola, Powder Magazine, Emergen-C, Ski Press Magazine, Mt. Olympus Water, Lynden Transport, Sports Insurance, Grabber, Skull Candy, Yakima, and IFSA.
Special thanks to our Resort partners: Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Telluride Ski Resort, Squaw Valley USA, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and Alyeska Resort.