Davenport wins freeski event
Aspen’s fresh prince of big-mountain freeskiing, Chris Davenport, nailed a first-place finish in the International Freeskiing Association’s World Championship at the Alyeska Ski Resort in Alaska Tuesday night.
Davenport, 29, tied for second place after the first competition run on March 22. He was forced to wait until late Tuesday for the second and final run, as storms socked in the Alaskan resort for the entire week.
“It snowed straight for five days,” Davenport said yesterday in a phone interview from Alyeska. “We got over a foot a night almost, and it never stopped during the day. But [Tuesday] it was total cold smoke, super-dry powder and the deepest of the year for me for sure.”
On Tuesday, competitors skied Alyeska’s “Christmas Chute,” though due to the blizzardlike conditions all week, the event didn’t get under way until late in the afternoon, after avalanche danger was alleviated.
“It was among the worst conditions I’ve ever competed in,” he said. “I didn’t get to go until 5:30 [p.m.], so I was waiting around all day in the storm. But we had to get one more run in.
“It was huge powder, but it was actually really difficult,” Davenport said. “It’s a long run and the top of the face is real steep. Before this huge storm, all the steep faces had gotten baked so the snow didn’t stick, so when you dropped in off the start, it was hard and real technical. If you fell you were going to slide. But as the angle relented and you got into the bottom two-thirds, it was just like blower powder. Every turn you made, the snow would slough down and then blow back into your face.”
Davenport’s run, one he described as among his best runs ever, “basically crushed everybody else,” he said. He won the event by a considerable margin, claiming a $3,500 purse. Aspenite Tyler Williams finished 19th, among a 40-skier invitation-only field of the world’s best.
“I’m freaking out,” Davenport said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to end the season this way. It feels so good to win another world championship five years after winning my first one.”
With the victory, Davenport, the 1996 World Extreme Skiing Champion, finished second on the IFSA World Tour, though he competed in just three of five events. He took second place at the Canadian Freeskiing Championships in early January at Whistler/Blackcomb, and later in the month, took third in the IFSA’s U.S. Freeskiing Championships at Snowbird in Utah.
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