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Freeride series returns to Snowmass

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
A skier takes the plunge on the Burn Side Cliffs in a previous Colorado Freeride Championships at Snowmass. The championships return Friday and Saturday. (Courtesy Jeremy Swanson)
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SNOWMASS ” Monster hucks return to Snowmass Friday and Saturday with the seventh annual Colorado Freeride Championships.

More than 100 freeskiers and snowboarders are expected to pick out a death-defying, or at least seriously insane, line on the Hanging Valley Wall at Snowmass during Friday’s qualifying runs. Survivors tackle the Burn Side Cliffs at Snowmass for Saturday’s finals ” best viewed from the deck at Gwyn’s High Alpine, located at the top of the Alpine Springs lift. (Sunday is reserved for competition, should weather force a cancellation on Friday or Saturday.)

The action takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.

Competitors are expected to include several local athletes, including Kiffor Berg, Frank Shine, Aaron Estrada and Dave Watson. Berg topped the men’s field among skiers at the 2007 championships and Estrada took second. Watson captured the men’s snowboard title.

Ben Crocker, who took second in men’s snowboard in 2007, is expected back, as is third-place finisher Casey VandenBroek.

Also expected among the returning competitors are last year’s top women in the snowboard competition, Tiffany Noel (first), and Shannon Yates (second).

A prize purse of $7,500 will be divvied out among the weekend’s top competitors.

The Aspen Skiing Co. reported no new snow on local slopes over the past 24 hours in its Thursday morning report.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center report for Thursday, Feb. 28:

The avalanche danger for the Aspen zone is rated at considerable on all aspects and elevations except the SE-S-SW aspects below treeline.

Go to http://avalanche.state.co.us/ for the full report and information on conditions statewide.


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