2010 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos:
Bertoncin and Lopez Score Wins on Kachina Venue.
Saturday's final round of the 2010 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships saw falls by the leaders in both men's Alpine and Snowboard Divisions, mixing up the leader board while local athlete Traci Lopez held on for victory on the 12,481 foot Kachina Peak venue.
In the men's Alpine Division, leaders Joe Augusten (Taos, New Mexico) and Canadian athletes Luke Nelson. Nelson (Fernie, B.C) and Carter McMillan (Lake Louise, B.C.) all fell, opening the door for Taos athlete Andre Bertoncin, who took the win with an impressively fast line and huge backflip. With his run, Bertoncin moved up from 7th after round one on the West Basin Venue into the top spot. He was followed by Oliver Holmes (Arapa- hoe Basin, Colorado) and North Parker (Jackson Hole, Wyoming).
The Women's Alpine Division was dominated over the three-day event by Taos, New Mexico athlete Traci Lopez. Lopez showed off her signature style of fast, fluid skiing combined with cliff drops to outpace the competition and score the win. Joining Lopez on the podium were Michelle Gmitro and Andrea Krejci. Gmitro (Arapahoe Basin, Colorado) moved up from third to second courtesy of her skiing on the Kachina Peak venue, edging out Krejci (Taos, New Mexico) in a duel for the second spot and third spots on the podium behind Lopez.
The Snowboard Men's field also saw the leader fall as Forrest Burki (Mt. Baker, Washington) was unable to hold on to the top spot after a tumble knocked him down to fifth. The fall allowed Justin Bobb (Taos, New Mexico) to move up from second to first. Bobb's fast riding and solid airs making him a lock for the win. Bobb was fol- lowed by Adam DeVargas who barely made the cut for the final round on Kachina at seventh after round one on the West Basin Venue. With his run in the finals, DeVargas stepped it up to finished second overall followed by Robert Rottman (Taos, New Mexico) in third. For the Women Snowbaord Division, Rosemarie Daiek (Kirkwood, California) continued her domination of the field to take the win. Kaitlin Elliot (Snowbird, Utah) and Sarah Pernick (Crested Butte, Colorado) rounded out the podium.
In the Junior Division Drew Petersen (Arapahoe Basin, Colorado) took the win for the under 18 boys after leading both days. Petersen was followed by Brandon Clabaugh (Crested Butte, Colorado) and Gregory Hope (Telluride, Colorado). Chysanthe Demas (Telluride. Colorado) ended up edging Jesse Bohn (Pajarito, New Mexico) for the win. Annalies Andresen (Taos, New Mexico) round out the leader board for the Junior Women.
"All of the divisions were highly competitive this year," says Taos' Alejandro Blake. "The action on Kachina proved that any mistake would be severely punished but that aggressive riding and skiing without falls could vault ath- letes onto the podium. To win today, you had to earn it."
"Kachina delivered again," adds Chief of Race Tom Winter. "The venue has multiple lines, the snow was fantastic and the weather couldn't have been better. And, as always, the skiing and riding surpassed our expectations. I can't wait until next year."
Featuring a $12,000 purse, the 2010 Solomon Extreme Freeride Championships is a Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) event, allowing athletes to gain entry to the Freeride World Tour's four showcase events: The Nissan Russian Adventure (Sochi, Russia), Nissan Tram Face (Squaw Valley, USA), Nissan Freeride de Chamonix (Chamonix, France) and Nissan Xtreme (Verbier, Switzerland). Taos also joins an elite group of venues, from Italy and Norway to Austria and Slovakia as a FWQ venue.
For more information on 2010 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos, for full event results and to see video and photos from the 2010 event, please visit skitaos.org. To learn more about the Freeride World Tour, check out freerideworldtour.com.