All photos: Ben Birk
With a storm rolling in, making the day a one-run competition, last year's men's overall tour winner Aaron Robinson was determined, and succeeded in taking home not only the win at Kirkwood but the overall title for a second year in a row at The North Face Masters of Snowboarding presented by PrimaLoft®. Iris Lazzareschi scored first for the women at Kirkwood, but was one point short of the overall crown with Maria DeBari taking top honors.
"Year after year, the riders just keep getting better," said Head Judge Tom Burt. "The competitiveness of the tour is off the charts. With the top two women being separated by only one point, and the overall winner for both men and women being anyone's game until the very end, it made for an exciting end to a great year."
Aaron Robinson was fast and fluid, and hit a natural feature in the middle of the venue for a big, floaty air. Robinson hit a spine at the bottom and threw a big frontside 360 finishing with a 91.33. He was followed in second place by Squaw Valley's Ralph Backstrom with an 89.33, who was also second in overall tour points. Third place in the competition went to Andrew Irwin with an 87.00.
"I'm super psyched. This morning, when I woke up, I said I was just going to go out and win this thing and I did," said Aaron Robinson. "I get to be the reigning champ for a whole year again; the two-time reigning champ this time."
For the women, it was bittersweet for Squaw Valley's Iris Lazzareschi, who took first in Kirkwood as well as in Crystal, but missed first overall by a single point. Lazzareschi impressed with an 88.3 and a line down looker's right into the upper Harnell's section, down to Frank's alternate, airing into the top, and finishing with an air out of the trees at the bottom. Callan Chythlook-Sifsof of Alyeska, AK came in second with an 85.67, and Mt. Baker's Maria DeBari took third at Kirkwood with an even 85.00, but came in first in overall tour standings.
"I went into it knowing that if I stomped everything I could probably do well. Everyone is riding so hard right now, you just never can tell. I rode my line hard and I'm stoked on it," said Maria DeBari. "I can't believe my overall win was only by one point, I'm definitely going to have to share the celebration with Iris. It was a really tough season this year and I'm just so excited to wind up on top."
The North Face Young Gun Award, which rewards rider under 25 years of age who demonstrate raw talent and innovation in their riding style, went to Callen Chythlook-Sifsof, and the overall tour Young Gun Award went to Josh Warnick, who took it home at the first stop of the season in Snowbird.