Spectacular crashes in the Butte | AspenTimes.com

Spectacular crashes in the Butte

Devon O'NeilSummit County correspondentAspen, CO Colorado
Carston Oliver's boots and legs are visable as he tumbles after a fall Thursday during the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships qualifiers in Crested Butte. (Kristin Anderson/Summit Daily News)

CRESTED BUTTE Carston Oliver said he never saw the 6-foot green tree. Ryan Hoynacki saw the lip, but after a 12-foot drop onto hardpack he was going WAY too fast to do much more than he did.What resulted were a pair of spectacular wipeouts at the base of Little Hourglass, each too good to pass up for Crash of the Day at the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships. So, in the name of fairness, they will share Thursday’s honor.

Hoynacki went first. After landing a solid air in his early afternoon run, the 24-year-old Crested Butte loading dock worker looked to be in control on the greased-pan-fast runout, which so many others before him had also safely screamed out of. Then he hit a 2-foot lip and, with his weight on his heels, you could hear the “Uh-oh” in the crowd at the bottom. His tips shot toward the sky and Hoynacki rocketed through the air at 40 mph, parallel to the ground, before exploding on his return to earth. Double ejection.

“The top cliff I was on was way more jagged, and I was gonna ski right off it but I had to kinda ollie over everything and that’s where I gained too much speed,” he said, quickly adding: “But I was going for it the whole time.” Oliver, meanwhile, hit the same drop as Hoynacki except 10 minutes later. He, too, carried an incredible amount of speed into the runout, but this time it looked like the 19-year-old from Salt Lake City would escape the carnage that is perpetually stalking the skiers at this event.

Nope. Right before the treed escape route opens up, Oliver’s ski tip ended up on the wrong side of an evergreen’s trunk. The result was a take-your-breath-away wipeout that left him with no skis on his feet as he rag-dolled three or four times downslope. Some of the branches from the unlucky tree came to rest 60 feet away from their owner.Asked to describe what happened, Oliver said, “I don’t know. I just didn’t see the tree. Just kinda hooked on the little tree and blew up. But whatever.”For more coverage of the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships, go to http://www.aspentimes.com/section/EXTREME

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