Freeride Championships return to Snowmass |

Freeride Championships return to Snowmass

Daniel Boccia
Snowmass correspondent

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Are you ready to go big? If not, how about just watching other people go big? Then you’re in luck.

The Stihl Colorado Freeride Championships will return to Snowmass from February 29-March 2, unleashing local rippers, pros and international athletes on the most extreme terrain the mountain has to offer.

Originally conceived as a spin-off from the now-extinct Berthoud Bad Ass Freeride Series and Championships, the event relocated to Snowmass and took center stage following the closure of the lifts on Berthoud Pass.

With over 100 registered athletes, this sell-out event is open to both male and female skiers and riders 16 years of age or older. And if bragging rights aren’t enough, competitors will vie for their share of the $7,500 prize purse.

The event begins Friday, February 29, with the qualifying round. Athletes will have one “do or die” run to advance to Saturday’s Championship rounds. Strategy becomes important during the qualifying runs as competitors will want to play it safe enough to ensure a spot in the finals, but cannot afford to be too conservative as qualifying scores will factor into the overall scores for the weekend. Hanging Valley Headwall will provide the venue for qualifying, and spectators who venture out to watch can expect to see normally closed zones opened up for the course.

On Saturday, March 1, qualifying athletes will throw down on the exposed terrain of the Burn Side Cliffs. This venue boasts plenty of cliffs, pillows, trees, hanging snowfields and steep, technical lines for competitors to play on. It’s also spectator friendly as it lies in direct view of the Gwen’s High Alpine Restaurant Deck.

Judges will score each competitor’s run on line choice (difficulty, creativity) and the fluidity and control displayed in their descent.

Competition both days will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 2 will serve as a back-up day if bad weather delays the event. Competition spots for the event are expected to sell out. Online registration has already closed, but interested athletes can contact Traci Salemme at or 970/300-7034.

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