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US Freeskiing Nationals Results

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
US Freeskiing Nationals
Big Mountain Freeskiing Championships
Kaj Zachrisson and Jamie Burge Take The Lead On Day One


SNOWBIRD, UT, U.S.A.— There are five categories that the judges take into consideration when judging a big mountain competition: line score, control, technique, fluidity, and aggression. When asked to judge 85 of the world’s best freeskiers in a single day, discerning the best skier can be a challenge. Today was one of those days. The skies were blue, the sun was warm, and the snow was soft, cold and generally perfect. The best ski athletes in the world had been collected and set loose to compete for the US National title.

The field of 20 women ran early, and the level of athleticism was unprecedented. The ladies pioneered lines that were later skied by the men; they jumped cliffs, picked their way through gnarly rocky, exposed areas and let their skis run fast and fluidly down the hill. “It was a day that we have not yet seen in freeskiing;” said 2001 IFSA World Tour Champion, Jennifer Ashton, “there is no turning back now. The confidence is high among the gals, and I think it will continue to grow.” Ashton finished 5th for the day, she won the first World Tour event in Whistler in January, and looks to improve in tomorrows finals. Squaw Valley USA’s Jamie Burge currently leads the women by nearly 3 points. Ingred Backstrom from Crystal Mountain, USA is in 2nd, local Laura Ogden of Alta holds the 3rd position and young newcomer Asia Magriby of Jay Peak sits in 4th place.

The men’s competition was almost a judges nightmare…or pleasure. Throughout the day, athlete’s runs seemed to continually improve upon the last competitor’s run. Control was high, aggression was pinned, and despite thinning coverage over rocks and cliffs, athletes continued to sustain the quality and difficulty of runs until the last competitor had skied. The run of the day went to Swedish favorite Kaj Zachrisson who skied the entire venue including many large airs in under a minute. Zachrisson leads the pack by just 1.6 points from second place challenger and defending 2001 US Nationals Champion, Frenchman, Guerlain Chicherit. A close 3rd was Leif Zapf-Gilje of Whistler and World Tour Stop #1 Canadian Freeskiing Champion Pierre-Yves Leblanc earned 4th place. Currently in 5th is American Jon Johnston.

Tomorrow, Sunday February 3, athletes will ski two final runs, beginning at 10:00am, on North Baldy at Snowbird. All three competition runs are cumulative to their score.

The event is sponsored by Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, DaKine, Clif Bar, and POWDER Magazine.

For more information and press credentials please contact Lhotse Merriam, Method Media, PR Director at 801-201-3337 or freeskiers@earthlink.net.
post #2 of 5
Thanks Todd!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
US Freeskiing Nationals Double Defense
Guerlain Chicherit and Jamie Burge each defend their US National Championship Titles

SNOWBIRD, UT, U.S.A.— History was made today, as Frenchman, Guerlain Chicherit, and American, Jamie Burge both managed to defend their respective titles as US Freeskiing National Champions. Before the sun had gathered strength, athletes gathered atop the north face of Mt Baldy at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. Run scores from the previous day loomed, for some, as a challenge to overcome; pressure to get a good additional score, so that they could move on to a final afternoon run. Fifty-three athletes attempted to qualify for the final run. Just seven women and nineteen men actually remained as the competition intensified and the race for the National title concluded.

In front of a crowd of over a thousand spectators, Jennifer Ashton of Whistler, Canada pushed her limits to try to knock defending champion Jamie Burge from the lead. Ashton skied the steep rocky faces and shark rocked cliff bands with speed and control, airing over 30 feet and landing with the woman’s run score of the day. But the groundwork Burge had laid in previous runs was too solid to knock her from retaining the top of the podium. Burge put two strong runs together and added to her lead to beat Ashton by just 1.4 points. Ingred Backstrom of Crystal Mountain, USA was pushed back a spot from the previous day to finish in third. Local favorites Linda Peterson and Laura Ogden of Alta/Snowbird finished fourth and fifth.

The men’s competition was fierce. Kaj Zachrisson of Rattuik, Sweden had been leading coming into the final day, but a fall in his first run pushed him back in the standings, leaving the door open going into the final run. Three men attempted to take control of the winning position. Rick Greener of Alta/Snowbird, 2001 World Tour Champion Hugo Harrisson of Canada, and Guerlain Chicherit of Tignes, each skied two runs within a point of the other. They skied 40° slopes at speeds over 40 miles per hour, aired huge cliffs and picked their way through rugged and thinning terrain. In the end, Greener moved from his previous position of 17th to finish on the podium in third place. Hugo Harrisson of Whistler slid from 7th into second and Chicherit pulled out in front to retain his title as the US National Freeskiing Champion.

Rounding out the top ten were Enak Gavaggio of Les Arcs, France in 4th, Aaron Estrada of Aspen, USA 5th, Kaj Zachrisson of Rattuik, Sweden 6th, a two-way tie for 7th between Canadian Pierre-Yves Leblanc and Sverre Lilliquist of Sweden, American Aaron Hunt was 9th, and Jamie Blair of the USA finished 10th.

The event was the second stop of the International Freeskiers Association (IFSA) World Tour. Athletes will go on to compete March 2-4, 2002 in Les Arcs, France for the final stop of the World Tour.

The US Freeskiing Nationals was sponsored by Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, DaKine, Clif Bar, and POWDER Magazine.

For more information please contact Lhotse Merriam, Method Media, PR Director at 801-201-3337 or freeskiers@earthlink.net For deatailed score information go to www.freeskiers.org
post #4 of 5
Guerlain Chicherit is an unbelievable skier. I was lodged on a spine mid-course of the Winter Gravity Games Feeskiing comp next to a patroller (I was photographing the event) when Guerlain came blasting through, launching some amazing airs and a series of must-make-moves. The patroller looked at me and said "as far as I know, nobody has EVER skied that line." This was off the top of Mammoth, and easily accessible area where millions of skiers ski every year -- and he still finds a truly original line to surprise local who ski there every day!
post #5 of 5
I watched a few runs on Sunday at Snowbird. I witnessed some unbelievable skiing. My hat/helmet goes off to these people!
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