Day two of the 2009 World Telemark Freeskiing Championships wrapped up at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. Today the Final took place on “The Headwall”, an area yet to be open to the public this season and an amazing venue to showcase some of the World's strongest telemark skiers. Competitors took to the Headwall in classic AK style of “scout your line from the bottom”. Most other competitions allow a checkout run so participants can get a good look at the venue they are about to rally. Brooke Edwards, fourth after yesterdays qualifier on the North Face says, “What is remarkable about Alyeska’s “read and run” style” is that it truly highlights the realistic challenges that skiing big lines in the mountains is all about.”
Today’s competitors embarked on a true test of endurance, boot packing up the Headwall and skiing non-stop tele turns down the 1,000 feet of vertical between them and the Red Bull arch at the finish. Snow conditions that deceptively looked like inviting powder turns ended up hiding shallow rocks referred to as sharks for their scary ability to reach up and grab your skis. After evading the shark feeding frenzy, the reward was face shots in beautiful powder on the second half of the run.
Shaun Raskin and Megan Michelson were finally allowed through Mt. Redoubt's airlines vortex. The Rossignol and Flylow sponsored skiers stepped off the plane and onto the boot pack, making an already competitive field even stronger. Megan returns to Alaska as the defending World Champion and she wowed the crowd with her characteristic smooth turns, skiing the entire headwall in seconds.
For the men, young Jake Sakson lead the pack once again. He skied a bold line down the center of a rocky cliff feature called "The Wedge". Girdwood local Josh Varney, who yesterday sent the crowd into spontaneous applause with his custom "tele-heli", was relieved to pop up uninjured from the largest spill of the day. Pushing the envelope, Varney hucked a large rock at the top of the Headwall and landed it nicely with speed. Hitting the next cliff, Varney took a scary fall. Much to everyone's relief, he skied out the rest of his run fully intact with beautiful arching turns.
In tomorrow’s Superfinal the top men and women go head to head in this world class competition. The field will be cut to the top 15 men and 11 women for a showdown on the Headwall. Weather back up venue will be the North Face “Knuckles”.
The World Comps are only one component of “Telepalooza”. The 6th Annual Jeff Nissman Memorial Telemark Festival is a five day celebration that brings together friends, families and members of the telemark community. Events include telemark clinics, Uphill/Downhill, Classic and Dual Slalom fun races, demonstrations, live music and lots of fun. This year the festival has a “Wild West” theme, and costume parties are held every night at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill. Telepalooza is held in honor of Jeff Nissman, an avid teleskier, mountaineer and avalanche forecaster for the Chugach Ranger District, who died in a work-related accident in January 2004. Proceeds from this year’s charity raffle, featuring over $30,000 in prizes, go to benefit Friends of The Chugach Avalanche Information Center in Jeff’s honor.
WORLD TELEMARK FREESKIING CHAMPIONSHIP DAY 2 RESULTS
1. Megan Michelson - Boulder, CO
2. Paige Brady - Anchorage, AK
3. Louise Sanseau - Jackson, WY
4. Shaun Raskin - Park City, UT
5. Lizet Christiansen - Tahoe City, CA
1. Jake Sakson - Carbondale, CO
2. Corky Still - Anchorage, AK
3. Bayden Hamilton - Fernie, BC Canada
4. Paul Kimbrough - Utah
5. Ryan Leard - Oakland, CA
Next up, Alyeska Resort will host the 2009 Subaru Freeskiing World Championships on April 8-12.
Alyeska Resort, located 40 miles south of Anchorage, is Alaska's premier year-round resort. Tucked amid the Chugach Mountains, Alyeska Ski Resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding with stunning views of the Turnagain Arm and an average snowfall of 742". The 1,400 acres of terrain with 2,500 feet of vertical rise, are serviced by nine lifts including a 60-passenger aerial tramway. Ski-in/ski-out access is available from The Hotel Alyeska which features the luxurious Spa at Alyeska, dining at the Seven Glaciers, Sakura and the Aurora Bar & Grill. For information on ski packages and rates or current mountain conditions, call Alyeska Resort at 1-800-880-3880 or visit http://mailiwant.com/t/?l=1176080&s=4636051&c=2033165&t=1.