Freeskiers descend on Red

Red Mountain Resort welcomed over 200 of North America’s best freeskiers for its annual Canadian Open Freeride Championships on the weekend

Red Mountain Resort welcomed over 200 of North America’s best freeskiers for its annual Canadian Open Freeride Championships on the weekend, with stellar results from Red Mountain skiers.

Links Line and Papoose Bowl on Granite Mountain provided optimal conditions for competitors seeking challenging black-diamond terrain to cliff drop and rock hop their way to the finish.

“It’s a two-star event,” Nicole Briggs, marketing and events manager for Red Mountain, told Rossland News reporter Chelsea Novak. “It’s listed as one of the IFSA’s national ranking events, where athletes can compete to gain points, and then those points get them into ultimately the free-skiing world tour.”

Red Mountain Academy’s (RMA) Simon Hillis and Logan Merringer took first and third place respectively in the Male 12-14 category. Hillis led all the way, after posting the top score, 30.1, in his first run, the Rossland skier improved on his second descent with a 31.0 run, for a combined final score of 61.8 to beat out Adam Kuch of Whitewater with 60.8, and Merringer with 60.5.

The juniors competed on Friday and Saturday in three age categories, 7-11, 12-14, and 15-18, while collegiate skiers, 18 to 24 years old, started Monday with final runs going Tuesday.

RMA’s Samara Kuhn placed second in the Female 12-14 category, moving up from sixth spot with a sparkling second run, to finish just behind Northwest Freeride’s Anna Thompson of the U.S.

In the Male 7-11 category, RMA’s Simon Impey moved up from seventh on his first run to capture second place after laying down the highest score, a 30.1, on his second run, while Ryan Kelly of Whitewater claimed top spot. Toby Hillis from Red Mountain Snow Sports claimed fourth just one-tenth of a point behind Whitewater’s Brodie Jensen for third.

In freeride competition, skiers are scored on a combined total of two runs that are judged on a competitor’s creativity in selecting natural terrain features and aggressive lines.

The point system is based on five categories where judges give credit for line choice, control, fluidity, technique, and style/energy.

Athletes collect points throughout the winter season at the International Free skiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) events. Highly ranked athletes will have an opportunity to compete in the Junior World Championships in February.

The Canadian Open Freeride Championship is an annual event at Red, sanctioned by IFSA and is the longest running junior freeride event in Canada.

“Red has supported junior free-riding from the beginning, taking the event seriously, treating the athletes well and it shows,” said Briggs. “Everybody knows this event is special.”

This is the first year that the championship was also open to Collegiate snowboarders.

Collegiate results from their final runs Tuesday were unavailable at press time.

With files from Chelsea Novak, Rossland News.