2008 Freeride Championships

2008 Freeride Championships

Big mountain skiing took on a whole new meaning after the 7th annual Colorado Freeride Series at Snowmass Mountain in Aspen, CO. Male and female skiers and snowboarders from all over came to strut their stuff, showing the judges and spectators their jaw dropping abilities. Both days were packed with cliff dropping, back flip hucking and altogether impressive riding at the Stihl sponsored event.
No one could have asked for better weather for the two-day event, the sun was shining and jackets were off; most people went home with either goggle tans or burnt necks. Due to record snowfall for Aspen in December and January, the riders’ weren’t confined to any specific area of terrain, and creative runs kept the competition interesting. The qualifiers were located on the Hanging Valley Headwall on Friday, and the original 120+ competitors took turns picking lines down “Two Trees,” “Hourglass,” and many more.
Spectators maintained steady oohhh’s and ahhh’s while the contenders dropped 20-70 foot cliffs, proving that they weren’t afraid of any terrain. On Saturday, the skiers charged down the Burn Side Cliffs of Snowmass through hanging snowfields, jagged rocks, and powder pillows; some lost their ski’s and poles, but everyone eventually made it down in one piece. The judges scrutinized the riders on line difficulty, fluidity, aggressiveness, and control; at the end of the day it was no surprise that Aspen locals Kiffor Berg and Kate Cardamone toped the podium for skiing. Aaron Estrada, Mark Welgos, and Frank Shine followed for the men, while Jen Allen and Nadia Samer respectively rounded out the top for the women. As for snowboarders, Riley Gessele and Shannon Yates walked away with the first place titles. The prize purse totaled to $7,500, so each athlete on the podium got his or her hands on some cash and, in most cases, a pair of headphones.
This season, the freeride series competition has been the only freeride type event to be aired on television in Colorado. A 30-minute show will air later this spring on Altitude sports and Comcast will host the program on their On-Demand entertainment service for free.
Thanks to all the sponsors who made this event happen: STIHL, Helly Hansen, Town of Snowmass Village, Bud Light, Nature Valley, Audi, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Freeskier Magazine, Smith, Giro, American Express, Hertz, The Aspen Times, and Peak Party Rental.

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