Gabriel Boudreau and Molly Prosser top podium at sixth annual Carinthia Open
It was dangerous to be Irish at Mount Snow on St. Patrick’s Day. Not because festivities were raging in nearly every aprés ski venue within a 10 mile radius of Mount Snow, but because the warm spring sun was strong in the late afternoon and turned this writer’s face a few shades red. I’m standing on the last jump of Mount Snow’s Inferno, watching the last competitors of the sixth annual Carinthia Open complete their second run and though I’m searching for the perfect goggle tan, these men and women are only after one thing: the top of the podium and the accompanying enormous check with their name on it. Er, I guess that’s two things.
While 2012 had dumped little in the way of snow here on the East Coast, 2013 saw its fair share of large volume storms pummel New England, particularly those resorts like Mount Snow that reside in the Southern ranges of the Green and White Mountains. As a result, Mount Snow was able to host the Open once more in its premier park Inferno after having to move it last year to Gulch because of poor conditions. This year’s conditions were remarkably better; a fast yet not too firm course that was due in no small part to the Carinthia park staff and midwinter type temps, despite the warm sun. The course itself consisted of five features with the top section devoted to a mix of rails: an up flat, gap to flat down box or Carinthia’s signature rainbow rail into a choice of an up, down rail or the new tear drop box and finished with three large jumps. New this year as well was the absence of the men and women’s snowboard division, having been moved to the new event, the C.O.M.P. Snowboard Throwdown, which took place earlier this month.
Given the relaxed pace of qualifiers, a result of the three hour jam format, the morning started out slowly as skiers looked to become comfortable with the course, checking speed on the bottom booters and skiing conservatively on the top rail section. The Carinthia Open is one of the few AFP certified events where qualifiers are a jam format, meaning that it’s more of a morning skiing with friends than a winner take all battle. But as lunch and the last few minutes of qualifiers neared, the competitors were “metaphorically and physically hungry” for one of the top spots in finals, noted announcer and Weakly webisode star, Ian Compton.
After lunch, finals began in earnest as those, who’d bested a field of nearly 60+ athletes, made their way to the top of the course. All four of the women competitors who’d entered the contest would move on, joining ten men’s ams and twelve men’s pros who would look to lock down a best of two run final that would earn them a piece of the $5,000 prize purse pie. Where qualifiers, as mentioned, was a pleasant exhibition of skill, finals saw competitors get down to business. Athletes unleashed on the rails in the top section, mixing style with technical prowess and displaying perhaps every known combination of switch up to date before making short work of the jump line with right and left 10s and dubs seemingly now par for course.
Beginning with the Men’s Ams, it was Joshua Messier who’d take first place, followed by Cottie Gorham in second and Kevin Bane in third.
Of the four ladies that made their mark on the course, New Jersey’s Morgan Smith would take third. “This morning I wasn’t sure I was going to compete at all but my friends convinced me to so it was kind of a last minute thing” said Smith smiling as she’d walk away from the podium with $250. “It feels really great to be back here at Mount Snow” added Jackie Kling, who herself would take home $500 and the second place title. Taking the top spot on the women’s podium was Pennsylvanian Molly Prosser who finished third last year. “I just got here early and just started lapping the park for the jam qualifiers, that was pretty fun ’cause it was no pressure and then started spinning the jumps and it worked out good,” said Prosser, whose smooth rail section, which included a pretzel 270 out, and huge 540 on the bottom secured the top spot and $750.
Rounding out the award ceremony was the Men’s pro category, which has seen Chris Laker and Dale Talkington atop the podium in recent years. This year, it would be Quebecois Gabriel Boudreau taking in the view from the number one spot with a run that included a blind 450 out, switch k-fed into a cork 900 tail grab and concluding with both left and right 1080s on the last two features. “It was very good, a nice competition and sunny,” Boudreau would say through a smile and accented English. The Quebec City resident made his way down to Mount Snow the previous Thursday and now heads back north with the top title and $2,000. Joining him would be Colorado’s Mark Nowakiwsky in second and Vermont’s Ben Smith in third, earning both $,1000 and $500 respectively. “It feels great to be back at the home mountain and to have another beautiful day and Carinthia setup a great course, “said an elated Ben Smith, “I just love being able to come back shred with all the homies.”
2013 Carinthia Open Results:
1. Gabriel Boudreau
2. Mark Nowakiwsky
3. Ben Smith
4. Tyler Duncan
5. Cody Buchalter
1. Molly Prosser
2. Jackie Kling
3. Morgan Smith
4. Anna Tedesco
1. Joshua Messier
2. Cottie Gorham
3. Kevin Bane
Red Bull Best Trick:
1. Chase Morhman
2. Tyler Duncan
About the author:
Dan Brown is a photographer who lives just South of Boston with a dog named Frank.