Tahoe skiing: Final Junior Freeride tour hits Mt. Rose this weekend
Returning to Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe on March 24-26, the Tahoe Junior Freeride Series Championships will see 130 premier freeride skiers and boarders from the multi-state region descend The Chutes in the fourth and final event of the 2017 series.
The Chutes are a series of steep, north-facing expert runs at Mt. Rose. With this season’s epic 680-plus-inch snowfall currently staking Mt. Rose’s title for the most snow in North America, the venue should prove an exciting host to the talented 12-18 year old competitors.
Contending with the likes of numerous ranked athletes, including World No. 1 Ross Tester of Squaw Valley, skiers and riders will be judged on five categories: Line Choice, Control, Fluidity, Technique and Style.
Line score indicates the degree of difficulty of the actual route down the mountain, as riders choose and critically inspect with coaches’ guidance. Difficult terrain, such as airs, steep or technical sections, can increase Line score, which thus increases all categories, since the others are weighted to Line.
Control scores are reduced for losses of control in turns or jumps, with the ultimate loss of control a fall — resulting in low scores in multiple categories.
Fluidity is how constantly a rider moves between and through terrain features, and ultimately down the mountain. Fall-line riding is rewarded, while hesitation and traversing are punished.
In Technique, judges reward sound, athletic riding with proper stance, weighting and no unnecessary movements. Finally, Style is a category most subjective, in which judges can reward anything that makes the energy of a run stand out, from creativity to speed to tricks executed.
Completing its 10th year, the TJFS organizes a number of junior freeride competitions at resorts around the Lake Tahoe Basin. Events are sanctioned by the IFSA (International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association), and points are awarded toward the North American Championships, to be held on the prestigious and permanently-closed Cirque at Kirkwood from April 5-9, featuring the top qualified junior freeriders across the continent.
This weekend’s event is open to the public, and the viewing area is accessible via a short walk and a $15 Walking Access ticket, or to pass- and ticket-holders ($69) for those seeking to do some freeriding of their own.
Jason Dobbs is the Freeride Director for competition team SquawFree, and is a founding member of the Tahoe Junior Freeride Series.