Squaw Valley snowboarders Iris Lazzareschi and Andrew Irwin both took top honors in the final stop of the 2014 Subaru Freeride Series and Freeride World Qualifier at Big Sky Resort, Mont., on April 5.
In addition to Irwin, Truckee’s Chris Galvin and Jonathan Penfield landed in second and third place, respectively, in the men’s snowboarding division.
Snow and low hanging clouds created visibility challenges throughout the day, but intermittent sun made competition possible on the steep face of The Headwaters venue. Athletes received a combined score from two days of competition to determine the leaders.
The competition began with women’s snowboarding. Lazzareschi rode Jack Creek fast and fluidly from top to bottom, pleasing the judges with her technique to receive a top combined score of 155.67.
“It’s definitely a big confidence booster for myself with the run that I had,” Lazzareschi said. “It wouldn’t have mattered if I would have lost because it was a lot of fun no matter what.
“I think the highlighting moment was to find out how good the snow really was when I got into the couloirs. Taking the win today means that I will live another day of being a pro snowboarder.”
Camilla Brown placed second with a score of 150.33, and Big Sky local Galen Bridgewater was third at 140.33.
In men’s snowboarding, Irwin, who’s also from Truckee, claimed the victory with a combined score of 166.00. Irwin rode down the looker’s left to Hell’s Half Acre, showing style and finesse. He finished his run with a high-speed straight-line through the chute referred to as Nun’s.
“The highlighting moment of my run was the creamy face shot at the top of the hill,” Irwin said. “I felt my run was pretty conservative, but I chose a line where no one else would go. The next step for me in my freeride career is to hopefully get a wildcard into the FWT (Freeride World Tour). If not, I plan on participating in the SFS (Subaru Freeride Series) again next year.”
Galvin finished second by hitting three airs down Jack Creek and finishing with a backside 360, earning a score of 165.33.
While Penfield was pleased with his third-place finish with a score of 157.00, the feat was overshadowed by the honor of the Backcountry.com Sickbird award — granted to the top skier and snowboarder who challenge not only themselves, but also the sport through their athletic performance.
Penfield, who’s currently riding out of Whistler, B.C., flew through a chute at the top of The Headwaters and stomped a massive cliff drop at the bottom.
Sugar Bowl snowboarder Brian Bozack finished seventh.
In the skiing categories, Freeride World Tour rider Francesca-Pavillard Cain of Crested Butte, Colo., and Forrest Jillison of Jackson Hole, Wyo., landed the top podium positions, while Kirkwood skier Hazel Birnbaum finished second in the women’s field.
Pavillard-Cain started the competition with a commanding lead after day one. She then executed a high-speed straight-line and double cliff drop through Hell’s Half Acre on Day 2 to seal the win.
Birnbaum had a similar run, also with a high-speed double cliff drop, but finished just behind Pavillard-Cain. Ashley Bembenek took third.
In the men’s skiing field, Jillison laid down two days of high-speed runs through Rock Chute leading into a sizable air off Tetris rock. He then skied into the Rock Creek Amphitheater, where he throttled into the Rock Star double.
Kyle Taylor took second place and George Rodney, who led after Day 1, was third. Connery Lundin of Squaw Valley finished 14th.