It couldn't have been a better day here in Aspen. From the moment practice kicked off early this morning, all the way up until the podium had been stood upon, the sun blazed brightly and the course conditions were perfect.
The morning practice session (which consisted of skier-after-skier in ultra rapid succession making their way down the course – and is quite the spectacle I might add) led straight into the semi finals. Two heats of 20 competitors faced off; of those 40 total riders, only 10 would advance into the final round.
Eager to earn a spot in the top 10, the athletes absolutely sent it. From mega-technical rail action up top, to high-flying double flipping action down below, it was on like Donkey Kong.
Looking Up At The Course In The AM
Once the semi-finals wrapped up, the women took to the stage. With a smaller turnout on the women's side of things, they opted to jump straight into the finals. A smaller field also meant that the competitors had a solid chance of making the podium. That being said, it's no surprise that the ladies charged hard.
In the end, it was 24-year-old Kristi Johns who took the cake. Her rail mastery and superior jump skills trumped the rest of the field. Rounding out the podium was East-Coaster-now-Utah-Resident Catherine Warchal, and Ontario native Dara Howell. Flips galore, spins in both directions, big air, and heavy metal – the ladies certainly earned it today.
Kristi Johns Gettin' It Done
Once the women were through, the boys came back out for the finals. 10 skiers, 3 runs, 6 features, and some big time mula on the line; the stage was prepped for serious shredding. Right off the bat, the judges had their work cut out for them. Each skier brought a unique and technical approach to the rail section, and followed up with pure debauchery of the jump-line.
At the end of the day, however, only three would be crowned. Coming in 3rd was Norway's own Ole Christian Mustad. In practice, throughout qualifiers, and in both the final rounds this afternoon Ole brought his A game. His 3rd place run consisted of a 270 on to the down rail up top, a backside 270 out of the rainbow feature, a rodeo 5 double-japical on jump #1, a switch right 7 mute, a switch double 9, and a dub 12 to cap it all off.
Landing in the 2nd place spot was 15-year-old Jamieson Irvine of Ontario, Canada. A humble fellow, he was shocked to learn he'd ended up on the podium. It was well deserved, however, as his best-scoring run was pretty darn epic: 270 on to switch out of the down rail, switch 270 on, 270 out of the rainbow, cork 630 tail off the cannon box, left cork 9, switch right cork 10, switch right dub 10, and boom, what's up podium?
Coming in 1st this afternoon, and walking away with a casual $5000-cash, was Utah's Tim McChesney. A regular at this event, he finally found his way to the top. And a strong competitor at many events throughout the season, McChesney certainly was due for some time in the spotlight. He started off his run with a killer 450 on to the first down rail. He went switch on, 270 out of the rainbow, and continued on with a 630 tail out of the cannon feature. On the jumps, Tim brought out the big guns laying down a double cork 10, a rightside rodeo 9, and a switch double 10 to finish 'er out.
McChesney Goes 450 On
Karl Fostvedt Rodeo 9 Mute
Cody Ling En Route To The Top Of The Course
Big props to all the riders who slayed the course today. After speaking with many of the competitors at the end of the day, the consensus was that the competition was challenging as hell. This doesn't come as a surprise, seeing as the most prestigious event of the year is held on this very course. It was fun as' being up there today watching, and I look forward to the rail jam and pipe event in the days to follow.
Men's Top 3 Interview
Kristi Johns Interview
Irvine, McChesney, Mustad
Warchal, Johns, Howell
Men's Final Results
Women's Final Results