Eleventh annual U.S. Extremes concluded today
VETERAN WILLY MUSHEN AND NEWCOMER VICKIE BATES TAKE TOP HONORS AT THE SAAB U.S. EXTREME FREESKIING CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY MAGNA BLOC
Crested Butte's Willy Mushen impressed the judges with his smoothness and strong technical skills in the rough conditions and launched into first place from 4th with creative line choices and fluid skiing. Ryan McCullough, this year's Swiss Army SkierCross champion, skied the rockiest section of the Headwall with strength and aggression. His high control scores and strong technique took McCullough from 6th place to capture second position. Two-time former champion, Rex Wehram, who shines in these types of technical conditions, moved up to take third place from his 7th place standing. "Today I just wanted to survive," Wehrman said. " I just wanted to ski well enough to move up and not take risks." "I tried to pick a very aggressive line and concentrate specially on fluidity." Wehrman said.
Vickie Bates of Snowbird, UT, a virtual newcomer to freeskiing events, skied solid lines, making several good moves in the cliff bands and scored well enough with the judges to take first place. Bates mock speed and fluidity throughout the event put her atop the women's field. Asia Magriby of Jay Peak, VT, with another strong performance today, hung on to second position with Laura Ogden of Tacoma, WA, yesterday's top finisher, rounding out the top three slots. "Guys still go bigger, but I feel that the women skiers here can follow the men's lines," said Angie Hornbrook, head judge for the event. "Women are skiing everything the men are these days and skiing it well - there's no such thing as 'Chick Lines" anymore in this competition."
Frontrunner Kyle Sul, Gunnison, CO, this year's junior Swiss Army SkierCross champion, held on to his lead skiing difficult lines smoothly throughout the competition. Ben Broche, Kirkwood, CA, last year's champion, stayed in second position with a close third place finish by Dan Wright of Crested Butte. "The juniors were strong, fluid and aggressive. These are going to be our freeskiing top guns in the years to come," said Justin Patnode, freestyle skiing legend, former competitor and veteran judge for this competition.
The event annually brings the top skiers in the country to Crested Butte for three days of adrenaline-charged action held on Crested Butte's wildest terrain. This year's event saw a number of younger skiers make their mark in the popular juniors catagory as this competition continues to further enhance Crested Butte's reputation as a freeskiers haven.
More than 120 competitors entered the 10th annual SAAB U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships and Swiss Army Skiercross presented by Magna Bloc which concluded today.
Tabbed "Skiing's Greatest Prize" by FREEZE Magazine, the 2002 U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships will award the largest cash purse for a freeskiing competition - with the men's and women's champions each collecting $6500, second place $4,000 each, third place $2500, fourth, $750 and Fifth $500. Killer prizes go even deeper down the line and include product from Atlas Snow-shoes, Smith, Scott, Elan, Hard Corps Sports, Backcoutry Access, Carrera, Boeri, Nike ACG, Fate, Bula and others.
Club Med, one of the major sponsors of this event is donating two 7 night trips to any Village in North America. This prize, for the first time ever, will be a "competitors choice" award for the best male and female run of the event, determined by the competitors, during the final awards banquet. At press time, this award had not yet been presented.
espn2 will broadcast coverage of the entire event next November during their X Block to kick start the 2002/2003 Crested Butte ski season which will begin on Saturday, December 14, 2002.
Editors Note: Photography and B-roll available. For more information contact Gina Kroft, (970) 349-2201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.