It was a busy weekend for the Mountain Sports Program, with Mountain Bikers at the 24 Hours of the Old Pueblo, and the Freeride Team at home for stop number one of the Subaru Freeride Series.  Mountain Sports Athletes battled through a highly competitive Two-Star qualifier on the Headwall for a shot at competing in the prestigious Four-Star Event with a final on the infamous Big Hourglass venue.

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Coach Ed Dujardin delivering one of his legendary pep-talks. Photo, Mason Strehl

All said, sixteen Mountain Sports Athletes threw on a bib and stepped up for the competition.  For many it was their first ever freeride competition and an excellent lesson in competitive big-mountain free skiing.  Only three men’s skiers, and less from other categories, would qualify for the Four-Star Competition.  This forced athletes to push their abilities to the absolute maximum. Some found themselves competing on day two, but many others were not rewarded for their efforts due to crashes or stiff competition.

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Mountain Sports Athletes “dig-in” for the Two-Star competition

On Day two, five Mountain Sports Athletes made their way into the starting gate.  Francesca Pavillard-Cain, Matt Martell, Justin Barr, Morgan Haymans, and coach Dave Sugnet all qualified based on points carried over from last years Subaru Freeride Series. Francesca went on to terrify spectators, judges, and her teammates with a high speed crash through the aptly named Body Bag section of the Dead End/ Staircase venue.

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Morgan Haymans, coach Ed Dujardin, and coach Dave Sugnet under the legendary Big Hourglass venue

Morgan Haymans and coach Dave Sugnet were the only two Mountain Sports Athletes left standing for Saturday’s final. Dave made his way quickly and deliberately through the insanely steep venue to his final air.  At this point, with hopes of finding his way to the podium, he threw a massive 360 off of a 30 foot cliff only to lose a ski in the punchy and variable apron.  Morgan was able to lay down a spectacular and technically sound run, sweeping past seven other competitors, to take home his first top ten finish.  Upon finishing his 9th place run, Haymans was speechless. His gigantic grin said plenty, though.

Philipa Hunt, Sydney Dickinson, and Freeride Skie Team Alum Kaytlin Hughes. Photo, MSI

Freeride Ski Team Alumni, Kaytlin Hughes took third place in the women’s ski category next to CB native Philipa Hunt and CB local Sydney Dickinson in the top spot.  For the men’s ski, local domination continued with Tom Runcie in second place and Rob Dickinson, husband of women’s champ Sydney, in fourth.  Freshman Freeride Ski Team member, Miranda Holson came home with a fourth place finish in the Junior Freeride Tour competition held Sunday.  Miranda has been making waves in the park scene this year, she demonstrated her impressive depth of skill on the Headwall in Sunday’s JFT Final.

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Miranda Holson and coach Jason Holton inspecting Angle Gully. Photo, Mason Strehl

With the legendary Crested Butte competition in the rear-view, Freeride Athletes set their sights on the rest of the season.  Destinations include Taos, Telluride and the Subaru Freeride Series Finals at Big Sky, Montana.  Francesca Pavillard-Cain, fully recovered and ready for more, will return to her season competing on the Freeride World Tour beginning with Snowbird in early March.