February 8, 2015
SNOWBIRD, UTAH (Feb. 8, 2015) – Athletes came out to win today on the classic North Baldy venue at the 2015 Subaru Freeride Series (SFS) final day of competition. A day of big tricks, huge hits and extreme competition marked the first stop of 2015 SFS, where athletes competed for points to be crowned the Freeskiing World Tour and Masters of Snowboarding champions at the end of the season.
After Friday’s competition was cut short due to 120 mph gusts and Saturday was announced as a weather day, athletes were excited to come out to a beautiful sunny day with a high of 40 degrees. Several hundred spectators enjoyed the warm weather as athletes took to the venue that was boney, technical, and full of features for athletes to explore. Action began with men’s ski and snowboard semis, which due to time constraints, became final results. It was Grant Howard who won over the judges and crowd finishing first in men’s ski. “Grant Howard had a super fluid, playful run with three big 360s-just beautiful riding,” said head judge Eric Schmitz.
Since women ski and snowboard competed on Friday, their finals were based on a combined score of the two days. The top three women maintained the points to podium, but it was Freeride Series veteran Crystal Wright who had the “winning run of the day,” according to Schmitz, with a huge, bold straightline air at the bottom that earned a major Sickbird nomination. Ashley Bembenek from Crested Butte, skied a fast, solid line to maintain her first place semi results for the win.
“I grew up ski racing with the ladies who took the top four places today,” Bembenek said. “It’s great to return to our stomping grounds here at Snowbird for the first comp of the season.”
The Backcountry.com Sickbird award winners, Connery Lundin (skier) and Harrison Fitch (snowboarder) both went huge. Lundin did a massive flat-3 with a Japan grab and stomped it. Fitch won the crowd with the front side rodeo-7.
Little Cottonwood Canyon local, Grant Howard, also earned The North Face Young Gun Award. The award is granted to the most impressive up and coming athlete under 20 years old who exemplifies sportsmanship and passion for the mountains.
The Subaru Freeride Series continues to Telluride, CO (March 4-8), Alyeska, AK (March 16-22), and Big Sky, MT (March 25-29). For the event schedule and details, please visit SubaruFreerideSeries.com. Join Freeride Series on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and by using #FreerideSeries #SFS15. With the strong heritage, the Freeskiing World Tour and Masters of Snowboarding Facebook pages will provide sport specific news regarding SFS.
SFS is sponsored by Subaru, The North Face, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Sony’s Action Cam, Clif Bar, Snowboard Magazine and Backcountry.com. The Freeride Series is an MSI production.
1. Ashley Bembenek, 131.33
2. Kele Thorsen, 129.00
3. Alaina Huestis, 127.67
1. Grant Howard, 75.00
2. Lars Chickering-Ayers, 74.00
3. Andrew Pollard, 72.67
Subaru Freeride Series (SFS)
The Subaru Freeride Series (SFS) represents the amalgamation of the Freeskiing World Tour and Masters of Snowboarding. The Freeskiing World Tour (FWT) is the oldest competitive big mountain freeskiing tour in the history of the sport, producing the world’s premier open big mountain skiing competitions at the most rugged mountains in North and South America. Founded in 1998, the FWT, created and produced by Mountain Sports International, Inc. (MSI), is heading into its 18th year. MSI also founded the Masters of Snowboarding in 2008, which was the first competitive snowboarding tour specifically tailored to pioneer the sport of Big Mountain Snowboarding. Dedicated to athletes, quality, culture, competition, freeride history and sport progression, the Subaru Freeride Series will host five stops for skiers and snowboarders at North America’s top big mountain venues in 2015 and one in South America. www.SubaruFreerideSeries.com
Mountain Sports International, Inc. (MSI)
Mountain Sports International (MSI) is a private company, founded in 1997, to develop and produce action/adventure sports events and programming in North America. MSI operates the Subaru Freeride Series, in addition to several other properties and concepts. MSI launched MSI Live in 2009, to provide live HD webcast production, content management, encoding, and satellite uplink & delivery. MSI provides event management services, infrastructure and expertise for high-end brands, including The North Face, Red Bull, Subaru, UFC, Burton, Scott Sports, Clif Bar and Sierra Nevada. MSI matches brand and culture, company and credibility, to create sought-after events that help to define the action sports culture. For more information, visit mtsports.com.