Chelsea Lynch and Willie Schnieder win Qualifying Day of the Subaru U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships
Crested Butte, CO-Despite minimal coverage, difficult conditions, many crashes, today, February 18, 2010-one resulting in a tree branch nearly spearing a skier in the chest-there was still good skiing to be had on the rocky Qualifier venue, Sock-It-To-Me.
For the women Chelsea Lynch, of Breckenridge, was the star. Lynch skied a solid run, which captured her a 34.67, followed by Hazel Birnbaum, of Kirkwood, in second-place with a 33.50 and in third place was Michelle Gmitro, of Arapahoe Basin, who scored a flat 33 points.
For the men, Willie Schnieder, of Squaw Valley, had the best run of the day, with a score of 37-flat.
“Willie had a dope run, super fast, sent it, super clean,” said fellow competitor and on-site reporter for the day, Whit Boucher, of Vail.
Behind Schneider in second was Rob LaPier, of Jackson Hole, who stomped a solid line of 35.63, followed by Scott McBrayer, of Crested Butte, with a 35.40.
Another notable run was that of fourth place, 35.33, Chuck Mumford, of Snowbird, ” Super smooth, super fast, ” reported Boucher, “Chuck threaded the needle through a little tight spot.”
Although many competitors fell on Sock-It-To-Me, the worst-and scariest-crash of the day, was that of Nick Whittemore, of Loveland, who sent if “off a big double-stage cliff,” according to Boucher. Whittemore didn’t make it and fell off the second drop, landing in trees. A tree branch penetrated his coat, body armor and long underwear, badly scrapping his chest and severely knocking the wind out of him. Whittemore was sent to ski patrol, was bandaged up and is doing fine now.
Tomorrow, February 19, 2010, marks Day Two of the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships, and the first day that the pre-qualified athletes will compete at Crested Butte on the 2010 Tour. The event will be held on Staircase and will start at 9 a.m.
Crested Butte received several inches of snow today, and is expected to continue through tomorrow and into the weekend. Conditions may be variable and visibility may be difficult. But, competitors are keeping their fingers crossed that the accumulation will be just enough to cover up rocks and add a little softness to their landings.