The herd was thinned on Crystal Mountain’s Northway run yesterday. The conditions were pretty tough, with a sheer ice layer sitting below a small layer of cold powder, but that didn’t stop the field of riders from charging. Those who balanced fast riding, good edge grip and a few stomped airs on the chunky, rigid terrain beneath moved on. Of the 83 competitors, 36 made it into the finals. They will join top ranked World Freeride Tour riders like Xavier De Le Rue and pre-qualified heavies like Forrest Burki and Aaron Robinson in today’s finals on the Silver King face.
Eager kids were sending it all day yesterday though. The progression alone, from one year to the next at this event is pretty remarkable. Young guns like Mammoth’s Josh Warnick and Snowbird’s Jon Rodosky took to some big drops. Stoked AMs searched for lines on top of the drop in all day. And there seemed to be more new, eager faces than I remember seeing before. Plus, with the addition of the Freeride World Tour, there’re a lot more foreign languages trickling in the background and some serious skill from a handful of European and Japanese riders. Today should be a good show.