Some cliff notes
Forget Warren Miller. Forget Teton Gravity Research.
Watching movies of skiers and snowboarders hucking themselves off huge cliffs doesn’t come close to seeing someone actually do it up close.
Which is why the Colorado Freeride Series is one of the coolest competitions on the planet.
That is, if you really want to call it a competition.
Yes, someone wins in this thing, and someone loses. But just making the commitment to drop in on some of these lines and risk serious injury ” well, that takes guts, and that creates shared respect among participants.
There was definitely a good vibe among the 100 or so participants who chilled out Saturday at Gwynn’s High Alpine restaurant to watch friends navigate dicey lines and drop huge cliffs on the Burnside Cliffs.
From below, it was hard to size up just how big some of the drops were, but competitors estimated drops to be anywhere from 40 to 60 feet.
Yes, 60 feet.
And the best of the bunch made it look easy, dropping successive cliffs as if they were simply navigating a mogul field. Oh yeah, and managed to pull grabs in the process.
Competitors were scored by three judges on fluidity, aggressiveness and control; but most importantly, they were rewarded for difficult line selection. Put simply: Bigger is better.
“Your line is always the most important thing,” said Ben Leoni, who made the trip over from Summit County to compete. “Judges will reward you specifically on how technical it is. That’s why freeskiing is so great.”
Finally, a judged sport that’s easy to understand.
Can anyone say Winter Olympics?
For complete results from this weekend’s Colorado Freeride Series, check Monday’s paper.