With full blue skies on Wednesday the scenery of Mt Rainier was dominant on the Southern horizon.
Words & Photos: Jeff Hawe
Day two, final day for the comp saw ideal weather. Conditions on the venue were less than ideal though. With temps shifting from warm and raining to clear and freezing during the course of three days there was a layer of ice under a few inches of wind buffed new snow. That combined with thin snowpack presented a mountain course that made even experienced riders like De Le Rue questioning whether it was worth it or not. The fact that so many competitors adapted their riding to the conditions and got it done with speed and style was outstanding. 14 women and 42 men were qualified and gave it there all on the north face of Silver King. The ladies runs went fast and after the dust settled Iris Lazzareschi was the obvious champ, with a fluid and technical line. The gents class was not so easy to judge though, with the level of riding being strong among many competitors. By luck of the draw a lot of heavies were slated to drop late in the round. Riders like Debari, Habenicht, Burki, and Penfield made for an exciting finish. Keeping judges working hard til the last drop of the day, the top three placement kept shifting around with each run til the end. Tim Carlson made a strong impression early on though and held down the top spot through the end. The level of riding at this event was tip top, and in my opinion the best I have seen yet at any Masters event especially considering the snow conditions. With this stop of the Masters tour also a Freeride World Tour stop now it will be worth keeping an eye on what is to come from this series in the future.
The chosen venue of Silver King. The northern face of it was icy and in shadow all day, testing riders grit.
Ladies third place finisher, Casey Lucas ends off her run with a sizeable air. Casey was representing from Kirkwood, CA and looking forward to the tour coming to her home turf next month.
Iris Lazzareschi pulled off a long awaited first place finish at Crystal. A member of the tour since the early days Iris has been coming on strong. Pausing in this photo to set up a high-speed charge on the last technical section of her run.
Laura Hadar made the trip out from Utah and put together a smooth flowing run for a second place finish, less technical but faster than a lot of other competitors. Here she scratches out a toe-side turn in a few inches of fresh.
There was a contingency of European riders from the World Freeride Tour that showed up for this stop in Crystal. Flo Orley from Austria was a part of that posse, riding fast in tight spots and showing comfort in tough conditions.
Tim Carlson, with a second place qualification and a first place finish in the finals there is no question of his big mountain prowess. He told me his line the night before the comp, and rode it exactly how he pointed it out. Yeah Tim!
This man had a lot of people buzzin excitedly about the event and what he was going to throw down. Xavier De Le Rue known for his high-speed precision on gnarly mountains shows it here charging a pinner chute into another dog-leg chute.
Local ripper Blair Habenicht calls Crystal home, and it showed when he pulled into a line that most did not even know existed. A sketchy hidden chute that only a local would opt for then charged out and doubled up on airs to finish it off.
This shot may not seem crazy on first impression… but when you consider the tiny dot with his board pointed straight fall line is Forrest Burki and he had yet to make a turn, and did not his entire run then you will get a feel for what’s going on. It took him 19 seconds to straight line from the top to bottom! It also locked him a place on the podium second year in a row.
Johnathan Penfield took the crowd by surprise when he dropped in second to last rider, and layed down a 2nd place finishing run. Here he is airing into the gut of the chute and exiting out lower left corner of the frame.
Ladies podium; 1st Iris Lazzareschi, 2nd Laura Hadar, 3rd Casey Lucas. Winners of any Masters event take home a cool Katana blade and some cold cash.
Gents podium; 1st Tim Carlson, 2nd Johnathan Penfield, 3rd Forrest Burki.