KIRKWOOD, Calif. - Another sunny spring day greeted the world's best big-mountain freeskiers for the final day of competition of the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour at Kirkwood on Sunday.
Held to the looker's left of the "forbidden Cirque," a permanently closed 1,500-foot run in Kirkwood's backcountry, the finals venue was littered with rock features and exposure due to the low snow year.
"It was a different venue than we are used to, because of the lack of snow, yet performances from our athletes were exceptional," said Competition Director Ron Pankey.
Kirkwood's own Josh Daiek finished the season with a bang, taking the World Freeskiing Championships on his home mountain with a score of 72.83 to seal the overall title and win his first McConkey Cup.
"Daiek hit two of the biggest cliffs of the day, setting himself apart from the pack," judge Skogen Sprang said of the winner. "He came out of the gate super fast, throwing down a super smooth run."
Consistent throughout the weekend, Sean Collin of Squaw Valley took second place with a combined score of 70.67. Standing third on the podium was Jake Sakson from Aspen Snowmass with a score of 69.77.
Sakson sat in the leader's "hot seat" much of the day, with his final-day score of 38.67 beat only by Daiek. The young telemark skier threw two massive 360s, taking home the final backcountry.com Sick Bird belt buckle of the year in addition to his third place at the Championships.
In his first year on the 2012 Subaru Freeskiing World Tour, Fernie's Dylan Siggers was awarded The North Face Young Gun Overall 2012 winner. The 18-year-old Canadian had an impressive debut, placing second at the Moonlight Basin Qualifier event. The award will allow Siggers entry to the 2013 FWT and a head-to-toe kit, compliments of The North Face.
Heading into the finals on Day 2, the ladies' field was filled with suspense as the battle for the McConkey Cup came down to Crystal Wright of Jackson Hole and Angel Collinson's final run of the season. Posting a huge score of 34.23, Wright clinched both the event win and the overall 2012 tour championship with a combined score of 63.90.
"Winning both today was surreal," said Wright. "Angel and I had so much fun pushing each other all season. The girls' game is being upped every year, and it is so great to be a part of this tour."
Collinson, out of Snowbird, Utah, took home second place for both awards. Collinson's strength, athleticism and smart line choice earned her a two-day combined score of 61.27. Holding the third spot on the podium was Australian Natalie Segal, who came back from seventh place after Day 1. Segal earned a 33.43 in Sunday's finals, the second-highest score of the day, giving her a combined score of 60.93. Jay Peak's Ashley Maxfield was third overall.
That concludes the 15th year of the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour, which remains the largest and longest-running big-mountain freesking competition series in the world.
- Information from Mountain Sports International.