Howard places fifth at Crested Butte skiercross competition |

Howard places fifth at Crested Butte skiercross competition

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

Kirkwood skier Corley Howard placed fifth in the fifth annual Saab Salomon Crossmax Series skiercross Wednesday in Crested Butte, Colo., and is competing this weekend in the extreme Big Mountain championships at the resort.

Sweden’s Eric Andersson and Whistler’s Aleisha Cline won the men’s and women’s titles in the skiercross event, which is part of the Saab U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships.

The skiercross competition featured 80 skiers from the U.S., Sweden and Canada racing head-to-head in groups of four until only the fastest were left.

Winners shared more than $10,000 in cash and prizes.

Eric Andersson of Nora, Sweden, was first in the men’s division, followed by Justin Glick of Silverton, Colo.; Jamey Parks of Alta, Utah; Christian Questrad of Bogus Basin, Idaho; Kirkwood’s Howard; Kyle Sul of Crested Butte; Rob Wright of Crested Butte; and Tyler Williams of Aspen.

“I was very psyched (to take fifth),” Howard said from Colorado. “I made the semifinals and won the consolation. I thought I was going to go all the way because my skis were running super fast and I won every heat up to that point.

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“In the semis I was out by about half a ski length from qualifying for the next round. They take the top two from each heat. I tried to make a last-minute pass at the finish but was unsuccessful.”

Howard will stay in Colorado until next week to continue competing in his first-ever extreme, big mountain event.

“I had a pretty big crash in the rocks today,” he said. “This is my first big mountain competition and there were about 70 men out there. We got a foot of snow last night so it was a beautiful day.”

Howard said the event gains momentum this weekend, moving to another, steeper part of the mountain.

“The second- and third-day venues look pretty intimidating, definitely,” he said. “It’s part of the back-country access and it’s steep.”

The same event comes to Kirkwood April 4-6 as part of the North American extreme championships, Howard noted.

“I’m racing home in a couple of days and will be building the course all week long,” he added.