Kirkwood’s Garbiel wins second stop of Subaru Freeskiing Series
Big mountain freeskiers did not disappoint on the final day of the Subaru Squaw Valley USA Freeskiing Open last Friday, treating sun-drenched spectators to a jaw-dropping display of hard-pack hucking and technical skiing.
Athletes took turns negotiating The Headwall’s ominous vertical playground of wind-buffed stashes, cliffs and chimney-wide chutes for what became a showdown that lasted through the entire day’s final rounds.
Elyse Saugstad of Alyeska, Alaska, won the women’s title with a total of 97.51 points. Squaw Valley’s Allie Donovan captured second with 92.26 points, and Tanya Christensen of Crested Butte, Colo., claimed third place with 89.14 points.
The men’s competition featured an explosive lineup of powerhouse skiing, unexpected backflips and plenty of crowd-pleasing air time as skiers sent themselves into flight over 80-foot rock faces.
Representing Kirkwood, Craig Garbiel claimed victory, sticking several extremely technical line choices and blowing the judges away with a series of perfectly executed multi-hit cliff drops. Garbiel collected 115.01 points, and on his heels were Jesse Bryan of Mount Bachelor, Ore., with 110.76 points and Bryce Newcomb of Sun Valley, Idaho, who put in a hard-charging performance to earn third place with 110.63.
The women’s final round started the day on a high note, as Squaw Valley’s big mountain female legend Jamie Burge unleashed her toolbox of skills, airplane-turning down the upper section and sweeping into the corner pocket of JT’s face before perfectly negotiating a dodgy double-cliff drop line. Her impressive performance failed to intimidate her competitors, as one after another ripped arcs down The Headwall’s face and cleared gaping elevator drops.
“It was pretty unnerving standing up at the top and seeing just how much everyone was going for it,” Saugstad said. “As it came down to it, I just took a deep breath and did what I knew I was capable of. I wanted to ski an aggressive line, but to also ski smart. It worked out to stick to my game plan.”
Griffin Post, winner of the Subaru Telluride Freeskiing Open the previous week, laid it all on the line with unique, technical line choices and soaring airs in the finals to win the coveted Tobias Lee Memorial Sick Bird Award.
1. Elyse Saugstad, Alyeska, Alaska
2. Allie Donovan, Squaw Valley
3. Tanya Christensen, Crested Butte, Colo.
1. Craig Garbiel, Kirkwood
2. Jesse Bryan, Mount Bachelor, Ore.
3. Bryce Newcomb, Sun Valley, Idaho
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