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Free Rides Corbet's

posted: 01/28/2004
by Susan Reifer

A week after Jackson Hole closed last April, local boy Shad Free launched into Corbet's Couloir -- on his snowmobile. The 27-year-old sailed off Jackson's East Ridge on his 600-pound Ski-Doo, dropped some 50 feet of air, stomped the landing on Corbet's 50-degree slope, then gunned it out the bottom into Tensleep Bowl.

"It's all very calculated," asserts Free. "I would never have done Corbet's if I didn't think I was going to stick it." The self-proclaimed "free-'biler" has had plenty of practice. He began ski racing at age 11 -- one year after he learned to pilot a sled. "My snowmobiling was enhanced by my skiing and vice versa," he says. Now he's a leading figure in a growing movement of "slednecks" who -- like skiing's new schoolers -- are pushing their sport to previously unseen extremes. "Corbet's was actually relatively small," he claims.

The Bridger-Teton Forest Service certainly wasn't impressed. Free was slapped with a federal misdemeanor for riding in an area closed to snowmobiles, though the accused says he was unaware he was breaking the law at the time. He and his lawyer are fighting the charge, and Free claims to have but one regret: "I should have gone back up and done it again."

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