CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, WA – The best freeriders in the world got a chance to ride the legendary Silver King venue for the final day of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding tour. All 32 riders had a great shot at taking this years title as the field was stacked with heavy hitters.
Snow conditions were a bit marginal on the King with shark fins (pointed rocks) sticking out everywhere, not to mention all the rocks the riders managed to uncover in their runs.
From the start Forrest Devore came out charging throwing a nice 360 in the upper section followed by a laid out back-flip, unfortunately he went a little to big and was unable to stay on his feet. Devore is one of the most laid back people on tour, yet his riding is fast and aggressive, surely he’ll get his podium spot sooner then later.
The Kirkwood locals were representing in the Men’s finals with Dave Trout putting down a clean fast run full of airs, unfortunately the judges didn’t reward his efforts??? Another Kirkwood local and staple on the tour Adam DeVargas had a fun run and regardless of how he placed always has the biggest smile of all the competitors. Everyone including myself can learn a lot from Adam’s attitude!!
Ryan Hudson, a North Face team rider had a solid run but didn’t hit the final air in the venue which surely hurt his score, regardless Hudson is always stoked as hes only been riding for 5 years!!! To be competing at this level in such a short period of time is inspiring.
Jackson Hole local Alex Yoder has been on a tear lately, last week he ripped the Mt Baker Banked Slalom course with high speed turns and then did the same on the King. Yoder had a nice air at the bottom of the venue cementing his well earned 4th place spot on the podium.
Moss Halladay took a totally different approach from the other competitors ripping pow turns down the side of the venue earning him a respectable score of 72.67. Moss rides out of Squaw which has had no snow this season, so the powder turns seemed fitting.
Morgan Hebert an Alaskan native has been shredding Mt. Baker the last few years and came into the comp wanting to show everyone just how strong he is. I get to ride with Morgan a bunch at Mt. Baker and was stoked to see him do well on both days of the comp. In the finals Morgan rode fast charging down the Pacific Northwest snow sending numerous airs throughout the venue. Morgan ended up in 11th place and will be chomping at the bits to do better next time. Solid work Morgan!!
Jamie Rizzuto joined us for the first time on the TNF Masters tour and we hope he comes back for more. He dominated day 1 riding at a level much higher then anyone else. During his finals run he showed confidence on his board letting it rip over exposed terrain earning a 7th place spot. The Fernie, BC crew was killing it, I have to get up their to see what there zone is all about.
The Squaw posse were in full force with Ryland Bell, Chris Galvin and Andrew Irwin all riding strong throughout the week, actually all the time. Galvin send a double air at the bottom of the venue that earned him a free core shot, luckily he is riding for Never Summer so boards shouldn’t be an issue. Andrew Irwin on the other hand may have got the biggest core shot to the base of his board I have ever seen, but he’s on Jones Boards so like Galvin new boards are probably already in the mail. And to round out the crew Ryland Bell, poster child at SIA and and big mountain destroyer had an epic run with a 360 mid way through the venue and 540 on the bottom cliffs after riding the venue with fluidity. Ryland is on a roll and ended up placing 5th tied with Mikey Marohn.
The man of the hour however was Brandon Reid. Brandon aired into the top section sending it to start his run. Head judge Tom Burt and crew must have been stoked to see a technical line go down with the meat of it happening in the most exposed section up high. Brandon’s years of training in Crested Butte, CO showed off as he was able to hit his airs and then put on the breaks shutting down his speed. After a techie mid section Brandon decided to rip pow turns down the bottom of the venue bypassing the final air. The interesting thing about Brandon’s line is it was very similar to the winning lines from last year. It pays to be on tour and keep track of winning runs. Brandon had this to say about his run “Conditions were much better then last year, everything worked great up top”. All while smiling his face off, wouldn’t you be grinning from ear to ear after a solid run like that too?
Another memorable run came from none other then Forrest Burki. The Burkalurker donned a poncho and sunglasses all weekend. I am surprised he didn’t have his dog Tucker wrapped in the poncho or on his back. Burki pinned it from the top of the venue straight lining a chute and coming out of the bottom with serious speed. His Mt Baker legs rolled him all the way to the finish for 13th place, last year a similar run by Burki earned a podium spot.
I am sure I missed a bunch of other riders run on here, but lets just say everyone was ripping the King. The freeride family grows at each stop and the progression is now insane. The billygoating lines from 5 years ago would barely score as now you need to mix freestyle with hard charging snowboarding.
Congrats to all the riders and friends that made the finals and everyone that got the courage to compete in The North Face Masters of Snowboarding big mountain competition.
Rumor has it the Kirkwood comp is going to be re-scheduled to April due to lack of snow, details to follow.