The Flow Freeride World Championships: Day Two
The riders’ excitement was infectious after a brief weather hold, as the skies cleard. Unfortunately, that stoke got riders to drop in on the qualifier venue, tacking it out before the event and causing organizers to scramble for a new venue. According to event founder Mark Sullivan, “Our goal is to showcase what the Chugach has to offer riders in a competition format- tracked pow is not part of that.”
For day one, competitors got flown with Deam Cummings H2) Heliguides to his exclusive forest service terrain to warm up with big spines and big pow. Riders were treated to the most challenging terrain ever thrown at snowboarding competitors in the Chugach.
Safety is the number one concern when challenging riders with a competition according to safety director Sean Wisner, “Our goal is to provide options for riders of varying ability levels with our venues- rider safety is always the to priority. This year has been a challenge due to existing snowpack (deep facets and spread of competitor abilities.”
With a field of riders that included international competitiors like Shin Biyajima and Yoko Kakamura, pros like Bjorn Lienes, Mikey Mahron, and Wyatt Caldwell and big mountain champions like Brandon Reid and Will Brommeisiek- day one was epic for riders who have cut their teeth on the Chugach for years as well as those getting bumped up on their first heli run.
Day two featured a jam session on the Python with riders scoping and picking their lines over the course of the 4-hours jam session. With variable snow conditions on Python, experience paid off with veterans finding deep untracked snow.
Judging was done by video review at the Valdez Convention Center with all competitors casting their votes for the victors. The wrap up bash included Sumo Suit Wresting and an informal competition on a mechanical salmon/ bull.
According to second place finisher Ave Perry, “ My heli run was the best run of my life.”
1. Wyatt Caldwell
2. Ave Perry
3. Jayson Hale
1. Yoko Nakamura
2. Vera Janssen
3. Iris Lazzareschi