By L.R. Fielding - powder.com
Last Updated: March 12, 2011
V: The Final Chapter
It's all over. The 2011 Subaru Freeskiing World Tour came to a close today on Snowbird's North Baldy. Clouds and snow caused several hours of delay due to visibility, which affected the last leg of the men, who were in the top spots.
"I was wondering what those guys were up to for that hour and half or so," said head judge Jim Jack. "Probably playing dice with [Ron] Panke and telling jokes."
There were a lot of hot and heavy crashes on the men's end, but the weather isn't to blame, since these guys "are laid back, and professional... and understand that this is a part of skiing," added Jack.
The weather would allow small windows of visibility, enough to send one or two athletes down the venue, and also drew the competition out to about 4 p.m. (this also prevented a second run-known as Super Finals-from happening). The typically large World Championships crowd was at its usual size, but long weather-holds may have resulted in a "whiskey blanket" effect. The extra "happy" audience stuck it out and was extra supportive of the final men.
Despite the undesirable wait on top, Drew Tabke managed to hold on to his first place spot.
"I was actually stuck in a cloud in 2007-I have enough experience with this weather and on this venue," he said. "I just put my iPod on and kept stretching."
Tabke slayed his line, stomping drops top to bottom, but his four point lead from yesterday on Silver Fox helped him cinch the overall Tour title and the much coveted McConkey Cup.
"My goal was overall victory," said Tabke. "This is the ultimate cherry on top."
Lars Chickering-Ayers was headed to Snowbird winning the point game, but a nasty spill yesterday pulled him out of the running.
"It's OK, after Ryan (died) I just came to ski and have fun," said Lars. "But it was good to see Drew ski well and earn it."
In second place was the industry star Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. Sage started his line in a big way with a right 360 off the sizable cornice at the top of the venue, followed by a flat-360, then a left 360, and he stomped the Amphitheater drop. (Officially, Sage had the top scoring line of the day, over three points ahead of Tabke, but Tabke's four point lead from yesterday's Silver Fox run pulled him into the top spot.)
In third place, was Chile's Chopo Diaz, who snuck a huge back flip into his smooth line.
There were no surprises in the women's competition; Angel Collinson captured not only today's top points, but also the McConkey Cup for the overall 2011 Tour title, and for a second consecutive year.
"I skied for him," she said, referring to Ryan Hawks, who she was dating at the time of his death.
Angel has skied consistent, "clean, technical" lines, said Jim Jack, adding, "The judges just love how she skis."
In second place was Crystal Wright, who stomped a straight-line double drop into the Amphitheater section of North Baldy.
"Hats off to Crystal," said Jack.
In third for the ladies was Nicole Derksen, who navigated her way through a rocky spot in the Amphitheater, skiing out of it and pointing it off a large cliff.
This has been a fabulous, bittersweet season. We've seen lots of snow, lot's of phenomenal skiing, and lots of good times. This particular stop, like today's low lying clouds, has been marked with a sense of somberness. We are all fragile. Despite our skills, training and experience, the worst can happen amongst this fun-loving, supportive community. Ryan Hawks and his "live now" spirit has reminded us all that we, as skiers, are the luckiest bastards on this earth.