Slopestyle Day Goes Off At Red Bull Cold Rush
By Greg Fitzsimmons | March 7th, 2012
Renowned for burly big-mountain skiing, Silverton Mountain’s park scene is 99 percent nonexistent. Aside from one day a year, “park” isn’t even in Silverton’s lexicon, but that lone day during the year when the core crew in Silverton talks “park” was Tuesday. On the coattails of the big-mountain day, the Red Bull Cold Rush slopestyle event went down in a big way.
With helicopters flying overhead and a small, but raucous, crowd perched atop a rock outcropping overlooking the slopestyle venue, Day 2 of Cold Rush saw a shrunken field of competitors—a few guys got banged up during the first day and were sidelined due to tweaked knees, necks and psyches—blast the man-made features strewn throughout the slopestyle course.
Competitors get ready Tuesday for Day 2 of Red Bull Cold Rush at Silverton Mountain, Colorado. Photo by Ian Fohrman.
The venue looked like something conjured up by a madman, but, in fact, the person behind this year’s course design is the same guy that laid out last year’s insane slopestyle day of Cold Rush: Pep Fujas.
“I wanted to expand the venue a little bit,” Cold Rush competitor and slopestyle course designer Pep Fujas said. “We tried to make it more athlete friendly, made the jumps bigger and added a rail up top to make the course longer as well.”
Pep Fujas is the first competitor to tackle the Mine Cart rail feature. Photo by Erik Seo.
After the crazy session that went down during last year’s Cold Rush slopestyle day athletes were buzzing about what was on tap for this year’s event during the early morning breakfast at Silverton’s iconic Grand Imperial Hotel.
“Did you see the start list yet?” Sage Cattabriga-Alosa asked Dash Longe as he handed over a piece of paper that showed Longe as the first competitor of the day. “You get to be the guinea pig today, Dash.”
“I was pretty shit-scared seeing the venue this morning,” Breckenridge’s Anna Segal said. “I guess the fact that I couldn’t hit any of the features before I actually had to hit them in a comp run was pretty intimidating. This morning is probably the highest level of adrenaline I’ve ever had in my life.”
Andy Mahre spins a 270 off the Mine Cart rail at Red Bull Cold Rush. Photo by Christian Pondella.
Athletes had two line choices in the zone aptly dubbed “Mandatory Air” after dropping in from the top of the course. To the skier’s left: a ridgeline railroad-tie rail feature lead into a cornice gap jump, which funneled into a rampy hip step-down coined “Hipstamatic.”
To the skier’s right: a few fall-line turns on chalky snow dropped athletes into a step-up gap jump and then lower into an absolutely massive (80+ feet) step-down called “The Castle.” Obviously, minor variations existed in each line choice, and, with it all said and done, the competitors that approached the course creatively—fluidly linking multiple features between the main lines or bypassing the cornice gap to throw a stylish butter trick off the cornice—are the runs that proved to be memorable.
Wiley Miller butters off the cornice into a 720. Photo by Ian Fohrman.
Wiley Miller rolled into the skier’s left line, cleanly hit the rail on the top but opted to ski right past the subsequent cornice gap jump. Instead, Miller unleashed a smooth nose butter 720 off the cornice, showing a creative and stylish approach to the course. Dane Tudor built on his momentum created during the big-mountain day by spinning a 720 over the cornice gap and then banging a right off the tranny to link up with The Castle, where he absolutely crushed a switch 540 off the 80-plus foot kicker.
For the women, Jackie Paaso was the first competitor to boost the cornice gap jump and bypass the Hipstamatic kicker beneath it, to link the cornice gap with The Castle, where she had a-go at a huge front flip. And, just like on the big-mountain day, Rachael Burks showed up to shred. Burks straight-aired the skier’s right step-up and then came into The Castle hot where she lofted a large back flip (crashing on the first attempt but rebating it one her second run when she stomped it).
Rachael Burks lays out a massive backflip. Photo by Christian Pondella.
For every one athlete that put their line to the bolts there seemed to be two that crashed, with the stomp to blowup ratio hovering around 1:2. But, that’s what you get when some of the most committed men and women in skiing are looking to push themselves and give’r.
A few crashes from the day stand out because the skiers were fully committed and looking to throw down. Collin Collins (who uncorked spins off everything in front of him), Leo Ahrens (who was the only competitor to go for a double, but ended up crashing on both attempts) and Anna Segal had solid attempts but couldn’t keep their feet through an entire run. All three, among other competitors, felt the “thwap” of punch-front tomahawks as a direct result of charging skiing.
Sean Pettit sends the biggest switch 540 of the day. Photo by Mike Arzt.
“On my second run I hit the rail a little smoother [than the first run], and I hopped around switch to come in for a big switch 9 off the first jump," Collins said. "Again, I four-pointed and bounced off the hard landing. Then, I went down to The Castle and did a cork 7-tail grab off the feature. I thought I had that, too, but crashed in the deep pow landing. I haven’t hit too many jumps this year, so I guess I’m a little rusty. It was super fun, though.”
“I’ve never crashed so many times in one run,” Segal said with a smile. “If it was any other comp I would probably be really pissed off, but I was laughing so hard the whole time today. It was a really cool experience.”
Collin Collins goes big off the Castle jump at Red Bull Cold Rush. Photo by Erik Seo.
As the slopestyle event wrapped up so did this year’s official Red Bull Cold Rush competition. Unfortunately, the cliff day venue ripped to the ground — an aspect of backcountry skiing that we all have had to get used to this year because of variable snowpacks — and the third day of the comp has been canceled. It is a bummer because the cliff day of last year’s comp sent ripples throughout the entire skiing world and was an apropos wrap up to the event. What’s cool, however, is that instead of competing against each other on Silverton’s insanely sick terrain on Wednesday, the Cold Rush athletes will be ripping around the mountain together. Picture this: a hand-picked crew of the best skiers in the world, heli access to top-notch terrain, Cineflex cameras filming the shredding on a freeride day devoted solely to skiing with you friends, sans agenda. It sounds pretty legit, right?
Check back for a final recap from Silverton, Colorado in which we’ll divulge the overall peer-selected winners of Cold Rush, recount the freeride day and highlight some of the standout edits created over the last few days.
Pep Fujas busts a laid out backflip off the hip. Photo by Christian Pondella.
In this post: Wiley Miller Dash Longe Rachael Burks Tim Durtschi Location: Colorado Silverton CO Keywords: Featured Ski Athlete News Resort News Travel