Arne Backstrom and Jess McMillan Win Canadian Freeskiing Championships
Revelstoke, British Columbia â€” January 12, 2010â€”Following the qualifier round on Thursday, World Tour round 1 on Friday, and a weather day on Saturday, athletes on stop #2 of the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour were amped to show their prowess on Revelstoke Mountain Resortâ€™s famed Mac Face. The finals venue for the Canadian Freeskiing Championships was a 1,200-vertical-foot alpine face comprised of huge Alaska-style ramps, technical European-style routes, and massive cliff drops slapped to a 35- to 50-degree slope.
Morning clouds and fog kept visibility low, and pushed the competition back more than an hour, as race managers waited for the opportunity to strike. Eventually, the talented Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing pilot found enough windows to fly each of the 27 finalists to the start of the venue, which many described as a â€œgnarly knife-edge ridge.â€
For the women, Jackson Holeâ€™s Jess McMillan, came in first place with Jacqui Edgerly securing second, and Angel Collinson third. McMillan was thrilled by the competition and course. â€œI canâ€™t tell you how happy I am,â€ said McMillan following her winning run. â€œYou canâ€™t even see the start from the ridge, which is a little unnerving, but the snow was sick,â€ she added. â€œIâ€™ve been a competitor for a long time, and a smart one, but the younger girls are starting to huck a lot of cliffs, and I need to as wellâ€”so I made some riskier choices today to really challenge myself.â€
The clouds lifted a bit by the time Arne Backstrom shot down Mac Face, for the run that scored him first place in the Subaru FWT. Backstom flew at mach speeds over at least four features on the line he had chosen after scoping the venue earlier. â€œI was looking for that first feature to get me on the right line… once I was in that thing it was happening, and it was all there. Then thereâ€™s no other way to go but down.â€
Backstrom also won the Backcountry.com Sickbird Award for his fast, technical skiing, but judges had a tough time making the decision as there were so many impressive lines thrown down that earned Sickbird nominations. Most notably, was Julien â€œThe Flying Frenchmanâ€ Lopezâ€™s 70-foot cliff drop, where he soared over two large cliffs and stomped the landing clean. It was one of the biggest cliff drops ever landed cleanly in FWT competition history.
Lopezâ€™s huge drop, coupled with technical skiing, earned him second place for the men, with Fernie resident Luke Nelson taking third.
This was the first time RMR hosted the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour, and resort officials are ecstatic about how the contest went and the exposure it is giving to this true mountain town with terrain rivaling the most famous European peaks and Alaskan faces.
Director of Sales and Marketing at RMR, Ashley Tait, watched todayâ€™s competition from start to finish. â€œTo get all of the athletes to the top of Mac Face with the visibility we had today was incredible, and the skiing has been phenomenal for our competitors and crowd,â€ she said. â€œThis was a fabulous event for Revelstoke and I would like to thank the Revelstoke Accommodation Association for their support and sponsorship.â€ RMR will be on the docket for the next two years for hosting stops on the Subaru FWT, something athletes are already buzzing about.
Backstrom said this tour stop measures up to any big mountain competition heâ€™s ever experienced. That day one venue was bigger and had more features than normal for sure, and to get out in the heli for the final was insane.â€
Full stats, photos, videos and more from Stop #2 in Revelstoke are online at: freeskiingworldtour.com.
Men’s Top 10:
1) Arne Backstrom – 81.97
2) Julien Lopez – 74.10
3) Luke Nelson – 73.20
4) Aaron Schmidt – 72.77
5) Griffin Post – 72.43
6) Ryan Sullivan – 70.00
7) Alex Blais – 69.83
8) Graig Garbiel – 67.30
9) Drew Tabke – 63.47
10) Axel Peterson – 62.67
Women’s Final Results
1) Jess McMillan – 70.80
2) Jacqui Edgerly – 69.27
3) Angel Collinson – 67.63
4) Michele Manning – 63.07
5) Janina Kuzma – 57.00
6) Alexis Dupont – 55.30
7) Karine Falk-Pedersen – 43.90
The Canadian Freeskiing Championships is supported by Subaru, Corona Extra, The North Face, Powder Magazine, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Stayinrevelstoke.com, and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing
After Revelstoke, the Subaru FWT continues to Telluride, Colorado, the legendary steeps of Crested Butte, Colorado, and then onto the famed Cirque at Kirkwood, California. Long known as the premier venue on the Subaru FWT, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort will host the 2010 Subaru Freeskiing World Championships, with the tour leaders battling for top positions in the final runs of the year down the infamous North Baldy.
Mountain Sport International will again be producing live HD webcast coverage of the semi-final and final rounds of competition. Check freeskiingworldtour.com. for exact dates and times.
For a complete schedule of events, photos, videos, athlete profiles and more, please visit freeskiingworldtour.com.
About the author:
Shay Williams is the Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He loves cheeseburgers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sweden. He's likely on a plane right now—first class only.