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2009 North American Freeskiing Championships at Kirkwood (POV Video)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

The past 5 days I've spent at Kirkwood trying to qualify and compete in the 3rd tour stop of the Freeskiing World Tour (FWT), The North American Freeskiing Championships at Kirkwood.


I needed to do a one-run qualifier on Thursday on Lookout Vista to earn the right to compete against the rest of the pre-qualified World Tour skiers in the semi-finals on Friday, and then hopefully the Finals as well on Saturday.  The last time the FWT came to Kirkwood (2007), i was able to make the Finals, so I wanted to at least equal that showing and hopefully better.


Wedneday was athlete check-in day and venue inspection on Lookout Vista, the qualifying venue.  Conditions were extremely hard and bony with the words "coral reef" being used by many of the competitors to describe the snow conditions.  Freeze/thaw cycles in the Tahoe region can mean bone crushing conditions on south/southeast facing slopes such as Lookout Vista.  Thankfully however, temps were to rise into the 50's on competition day so by 12:30 or 1, things should've been softening up given a distinct advantage to the competitors in the latter half of the start order.  Unfortunately, I was scheduled drop 20th out of 74 skiers, so when I was going conditiosn were going to still be pretty firm.  Oh well.


Two years ago, I qualified for this thing taking a line that nobody else did.  And this year I wanted to do the same.  So I spent Wednesday trying to find a line that no one else would think of getting into.....and luckily I found it.  My eyes were continually drawn to a cluster of rocks just off the peak that seemed to hold a sliver of snow for a landing strip in a mandatory straight line.  I thought of I could air this rock cluster and land in the mandatory straightline, I could earn a difficult line score.  The problem was that the cluster of rocks was so rocky, there was no clean way into the takeoff spot I needed to be in to land on the small strip of snow.  So I spent Wednesday, shoveling snow on rocks and building myself a small little ramp that could be onto the tight patch of snow for takeoff that would line me up perfectly for the tight landing zone. 


So Thursday, qualifying day comes along and I'm nervous as hell wondering if the snow is too firm for the line I have picked out, but before I know it, it's my turn to drop and I have no choice but to trust my judgement and go for the line I picked out.  Things went well enough that I made the cut and qualified for Day 1 of the FWT which meant I was skiing Friday from the top of lookers right in the permanantly closed Cirque.


Unfortunately, Friday didn't go so well for me.  I picked out a line from the top that not a lot of competitors were taking, but those that did go into this rocky zone, were well rewarded with high scores (i.e. top 5 - 10 type scores).....and since I joined this thing trying to be more competitive this year (i.e. do better than "just make it through) I decided that I was going to go into this more risky zone.  However, things didn't work out, and I got bucked by some firm snow above an air and ended up somersaulting over a cliff band and onto some frozen traverse tracks in the landing zone resulting in some bruised ribs.  After I crashed, I knew I was out of the competition, so I just cruised GS turns down to the bottom and I didn't even want to finish the rest of my planned line as my ribs were hurting pretty good.  Grrr.....I'm pretty pissed at myself for not sticking my line as I know it's something that I can ski.


Anyway, here's a POV helmet cam vid of my qualifying run and my semi-final run.  Kept in some extra footage of the hike to the starting area, and of the starting tent and what not to try to give you a feel of what it's like up there.


Click on "HQ" in the bottom right corner to watch in higher resolution:

post #2 of 9

I was watching the live streaming, really a bummer when I saw you crashing. Those lines look even more gnarly from the POV!


Hope the ribs heal well, better luck next year! 

post #3 of 9

That makes two competitions at Kirkwood under hard conditions.  Sure would have been interesting if that line could have been run on Sunday instead on 3-feet of pow, and good choice not to send Kodak this year.


Congrats on a good competition.  You are always pushing personal limits and that's what its about.  Well done.

post #4 of 9

Nice!!!! Wish I was anywhere near as good as you!


How do they judge the comp, from your POV or do they film from the bottom?

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Brad -- There are judges at the bottom.  They judge the lines based on the following criteria:








Each category is scored on a scale from 1 - 10 (10 being highest).


Here's a more accurate description of the judging format:


post #6 of 9

Looks like more rocks than snow sometimes.  Enjoyed the film, and good luck in the future.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Just got my hands on some non-POV footage of my qualifier run.  Video is courtesy of the good people at www.aboutlaketahoe.com \


post #8 of 9


Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post


Just got my hands on some non-POV footage of my qualifier run.  Video is courtesy of the good people at www.aboutlaketahoe.com \



That was amazing Ty.

post #9 of 9

Nice effort and vids, thanks for sharing.

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