Men and women skiers had the opportunity for more athletes to compete against the world's top riders. An incredible amount of fresh snow (the resort had reported more than five metres falling) and a playful course meant two full days of aggressive skiing. Scores from both days were accumulated to determine the final ranking.
With a two-day competitition format that cut the field in half after the first day, many of the athletes chose to step things up by launching big airs, which resulted in exciting skiing including a highly unusual number of crashes. Kirkwood young gun Josh Daiek (USA) recorded his first-ever win on his home mountain. US athlete Angel Collinson earned the top women's spot. Several of the world's top riders did not advance to the second day of the contest, producing some unexpected results and changes in the overall Freeride World Tour ranking, with young French talent Jérémy Prévost taking the lead. Janette Hargin (SWE) still remains at the top of the women's ranking but her overall lead is shrinking.
With an incredibly talented group of skiers converging on Kirkwood for this event it was the North Americans who dominated on home ground. The big winner was Kirkwood's hometown hero Josh Daiek (USA), followed by Kevin O'Meara (USA) from neighboring Squaw Valley and Guerlain Chicherit (FRA), who showed convincingly that he has still got what it takes to claim a spot on the podium despite taking a break from competition.
The top Freeride World Tour skiers threw down some of the best runs of the weekend however their big lines unfortunately resulted in big crashes and the top six Freeride World Tour skiers all missed the cut going into the second day of competition.
One of the tour's young rookies, Jérémy Prévost from France (22 years old), qualified from the Freeride World Qualifier ranking last season, just missed out on the podium by placing fourth. But with his impressive performance and constant placings he now claims the top spot of the Freeride World Tour 2011 ranking.
"I was really happy with my run. Going into today's event I knew I was leading the FWT riders so I didn't want to take too many risks. I spotted a big cliff but when I saw the landing was full of sharks I decided to hit a lot of little jumps with speed instead. It's the North American Freeskiing Championships so I still wanted to ski a good line." said Jérémy Prévost.
Samuel Anthamatten (SUI), also on his rookie year on the FWT, absolutely "crushed" the event face on Day 2 with a line that was not only one of the fastest but also the highest-scoring single-run of the day, finishing 10th overall.
On both days, the ladies started first and took full advantage of the untracked snow to produce clean, fluid runs including impressive cliff jumps.
With a top women's field the battle promised to be exciting. Janina Kuzma (NZL) won the event in 2010 but this year, despite an impressive run, she was unable to repeat and placed second. Angel Collinson (USA) managed to take first place with a smooth run that included several clean airs. The podium was completed by Rebecca Selig (USA).
"I had a little bit of a lead coming in from yesterday so I didn't want to take too many chances. I wanted to take a run with a few small airs and just skied fast and fluid." Said Angel Collinson.
The results from today were not enough to unseat overall leader Janette Hargin (SWE - 8th in Kirkwood) from her position at the top of the leader board. However, the results mean a big jump in the rankings for Collinson with two wins this season. Janina Kuzma as well as Janette's sister Christine Hargin (SWE) will also narrow the gap on Janette Hargin's overall lead as a result of today's outcome.
The next event on the six-stop 2011 Freeride World Tour will be the Nissan Russian Adventure Sochi 2011 in Sochi, Russia next weekend on 5th March 2011 (men ski and snowboard).