Squaw Valley is poised to aid some of the world's best freeriders in making the first legal descents down the Tram Face, a permanently closed run. The face will be the venue for the Squaw portion of the Freeride World Tour.
The Nissan Tram Face, scheduled Feb. 27-March 5 at Squaw, is the third stop on the Freeride World Tour and the tour's only North American venue. The tour's first stop at Sochi, Russia, location of the 2014 Winter Olympics, postponed its event this winter due to heavy snowfall and winds. The other two venues include Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France, and Verbier, Switzerland. Freeride World Tour athletes-internationally renowned skiers and snowboarders-vie for the championship title in some of the most extreme vertical found inbounds at the four resorts.
The Tram Face has never seen a legal descent, much less been dropped in a competition, as weather deterred the event from taking place in 2009. A snowstorm forced last year's freeride tour competition, slated to launch the first descents of Tram Face, to move to Silverado Bowl. The Tram Face's steep rock plummeting below Tower 1 of the Cable Car remains strictly off-limits to skiers and riders.
Five of the nine U.S. athletes invited to compete on this year's tour hale from Squaw Valley. Two include previous Freeride World Tour Champions Elyse Sagstad, who won the women's ski championship in 2008, and Jeremy Jones, the 2009 men's snowboard champion.
Squaw anticipates crowds of visitors to watch the event. Festivities, such as street parties and live music, are scheduled throughout the week in conjunction with the Tram Face event.