You can’t beat a bluebird day in the Northwest. The sharp blue skies extending for miles before it fades pale over white, crinkled mountains, dormant peaks and lush forests. It’s the clarity after the storm and it was the striking scenery for the second stop of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding at Crystal Mountain, Washington. Iris Lazzareschi and Tim Carlson proved their runs down the Silver King face on such a day couldn’t be beat, either. After a crazy influx of weather over the last few days-rain to slush to ice to pow-the conditions were variable and challenging to say the least.
Tahoe’s Iris Lazzareschi slowly chiseled her way down the massive rock strewn face before picking through a narrow chute and pointing it to the bottom. She was one of the few ladies who attempted the more technical runs that the guys later chased. Spewing with excitement after the results, Iris was simply shocked to win. “My best friend sent me this text ‘Your mind is clear, your heart is pure, your body is strong, your dream will endure’ and so I just though about that the whole time I was hiking up and checking out my line. The women I competed against are all such amazing riders, I never expected to win against this group.”
A new face on the tour, Laura Hadar, came screaming around the untouched rider’s right on here run. She laid down some high speed slashes and a few ollies off of cliff corners to create a powerful, controlled run that picked up second place. “I feel like if more girls knew about this they might be more interested in it. It’s really cool! A lot of girls that are still doing contests–the ones that I used to compete with like Hana [Beaman] and Leanne [Pelosi]–they’ve been pushing it in the backcountry and I think they’d be stoked on a contest like this!”
For the guys it was clear that rad dad and Northwest icon Tim Carlson had the line of the day. “It was fun, actually. I enjoyed myself and was happy that I took my line and pulled it. I’d like to do it with more snow, and a little better pow, but all in all it made me happy. I’m stoked.” With surgical precision Tim dissected his way down a path of snow, ice, rock and trees with little hesitation. After a couple drops and a snaky line through a difficult tree section, Tim came out stomping. Hell, he used to be in Warren Miller films. Dude still has it in him!
After 54 competitors, the place was pretty torn up. What little fresh snow stuck to the blue ice and chunder by the last few competitors made a serious challenge for Whistler’s Johnathan Penfield. A previous Young Gun award winner, Johnathan came out gunning. He snapped a handful of ollies and cliff drops before sealing the deal with a front three on the bottom cliff. “There was a lot of pressure, but then I decided I just wanted to have fun and rip the best line I could.”
While most of the field inched around, pausing on technical lines, Crystal-bred Forrest Burki simply straight lined it. The chute up top was hairball, especially with the thick ice and minefield of chunky avalanche debris everywhere. “I didn’t really feel like thinking that hard about doing something technical, not to take anything away from those guys ’cause Tim’s run was fucking awesome. It was just there and nobody had done it. It seemed like a good call and something different so I simplified things.”
It wasn’t just these three who killed it. The whole field of riders really rallied, especially under the icy conditions. The Freeride World Tour heated up the competition with foreign rippers Xavier De Le Rue, Flo Orly, Jonathan Charlet and handful of other highly skilled shredders whose names you’ve probably never heard of. Another one to add to that list would be Mikey Marohn out of Jackson Hole who won the Young Gun award at the day’s close.
There’s something about this contest. Something different. Maybe it’s more Gore-Tex and scruff in the crowd. Or less neon and advertising bombardment. It could be the free suds and food, or a chance to ride in front of legendary snowboard judges. The amateur and professional riders here have passion just like the rest of the world’s best, but take a deviate approach towards the mountain. It seemed like the best part of the event for most was simply enjoying the act of snowboarding over a couple days with new friends and new terrain, stoking the riding fire. And you can’t judge that.
The North Face Masters Of Snowboarding continues with a last stop at Kirkwood Mountain from March 3-6.
Women (see the full results here)
1. Iris Lazzareschi
2. Laura Hadar
3. Casey Lucas
Men (see the full results here)
1. Tim Carlson
2. Johnathan Penfield
3. Forrest Lee Burki