Red Bull Cold Rush Kicks Off With Big-Mountain Day
By Greg Fitzsimmons | March 6th, 2012
Red Bull Cold Rush is stateside in Silverton for the second year in a row, and the small mining town has once again morphed into the epicenter of the freeskiing world. The hype surrounding the comp has been off the charts leading up to the 6th annual event as a star-studded lineup of 23 of the world’s best all-around skiers (18 men and 5 women) shuttled into Silverton to tee-off on the Alaskan-esque terrain found at Silverton Mountain.
Competitors scope their lines Monday at Red Bull Cold Rush at Silverton Mountain, Colorado. Photo by Ian Fohrman.
The goal for Red Bull Cold Rush is simple: crown the best all-around skier in the world. With days devoted to big-mountain, slopestyle and cliffs, the invite-only roster of athletes has free rein to throw down on Silverton’s steep, rock-littered terrain. Boasting a lineup that includes athletes like two-time Red Bull Cold Rush Champion Sean Pettit, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Dane Tudor, Dash Long, Pep Fujas, Kye Peterson, Wiley Miller, Michelle Parker and Rachael Burks, the three-day comp promises to go off.
And, the first day of the event didn’t disappoint. It was spring break in northern San Juan Mountains, Silverton-style, with bluebird skies and warm weather serving as the backdrop for the Big-Mountain day. The towering peaks looker’s left of last year’s big-mountain day, above the valley where Shaun White created his own personal superpipe, played host to the day’s venue.
The Red Bull Cold Rush big mountain venue at Silverton Mountain. Photo by Mike Arzt.
An 8-foot crown and large deposit of avalanche debris in the looker’s left portion of the venue greeted the athletes as they slid up to inspect the venue early on Monday morning. Despite the Silverton staff peppering the venue with explosives in the days leading up to the comp, a remote slide was created when a cornice dropped from the top of a couloir while Silverton’s staff was blasting a different aspect of Silverton’s terrain. The debris cut the venue in half and illustrated the possible dangers of the zone.
There was some trepidation among the athletes about the unstable conditions early in the morning, but after a lot of talk Pep Fujas, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Dave Treadway headed up in the helicopter for a first-hand inspection of the venue and conditions — visually and physically.
“When we first saw the crown I was like, ‘get me out of here,’ because I thought it was a natural,” winner of last year’s big-mountain day Dave Treadway said. “But we heard it was remotely triggered and we did a run to feel the snow and felt solid about the venue after checking it out.”
“There was an initial scare rolling up and seeing all the slide paths and avy debris everywhere,” echoed Dash Longe. “But once we got to kind of relax and look at all of the options we decided it looks pretty good.”
Collin Collins throws a Rodeo 540. Photo by Mike Arzt.
As helicopters with Cineflex cameras circled the venue, the 23 athletes got heli-bumps from the base to the top of the mountain. With two prominent couloirs—Grande to the looker’s right and Pequeño 1 to the looker’s left—flanking the venue, steep and rocky terrain made for a lot of options for the athletes. One-by-one, the skiers dropped into the venue and threw down lines that had their friends and fellow competitors hooting and hollering at the bottom of the run-out.
In the end, highlights from day one included a super technical line by Andy Mahre. After nuking through the Pequeño 1 chute, Mahre navigated a super exposed section of rock and mandatory airs, snaking through the peppery terrain and drawing a creative line in a portion of the venue that no other athletes ventured into.
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa attacks the Red Bull Cold Rush course. Photo by Mike Arzt.
“I skied that zone a few years ago with Warren Miller, but I took it a little differently exploded at the bottom,” Mahre said. “I definitely wanted to try to rebate it, but the snowpack is different than it was four years ago so I changed it up a bit. It was cool to have a little redemption, though.”
Dane Tudor, 16-year-old Logan Pehota, and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa also turned heads with full-tilt skiing and boosting airs. Tudor was the first to lace a line through the a zone called Hour Glass which culminated in a mandatory 25-footer into a chute coined “The Broom Closet.” Pemberton’s young-gun Pehota showed a style and confidence that belies his age as he found a spine that no one else skied before boosting a couple of airs en route to “The Broom Closet” exit air. And, in his typical style, Sage arched a playful and stylish line through Pequeño 1 that included double drops and straight lines.
“I was hoping to ski fast, hit some airs and make it fluid,“ Sage said.
Dave Treadway airs over the Broom Closet rock chute. Photo by Christian Pondella.
On the women’s side Rachael Burks, Lexi Dupont and Jackie Paason shredded aesthetic and aggressive big-mountain lines. Burks raced through Grande and found a cool exit air. On her first go Burks crashed in the transition but she stomped her second line cleanly. Lexi Dupont slashed high-speed turns through Pequeño 1. And, true to form, Paaso went big as she setup an air out of the Grande chute and without any hesitation straight lined into the 25-plus-foot cliff drop. Unfortunately, Paaso crashed both times, but her charging skiing had the crowd at bottom going nuts.
“I really wish I landed that air,” Paaso said. “I knew right away that I wanted to ski that cliff.”
With the slopestyle day on tap athletes are frothing at the man-made jumps carved into the zone called “Mandatory Air.” There’s talk of doubles and some athletes have joked about triples possibly being thrown. So, stay tuned for a recap of today’s slopetyle action.
In this post: Sage Cattabriga-Alosa Kye Petersen Wiley Miller Dash Longe Tim Durtschi Location: Colorado Silverton CO Keywords: Featured Ski Athlete News Resort News Big Mountain Competitions Travel