Crash of the Day: Same rock, same runout, different spectacles
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
CRESTED BUTTE ” Carston Oliver said he never saw the 6-foot green tree. Ryan Hoynacki saw the lip, but after a 12-foot drop onto hardpack he was going WAY too fast to do much more than he did.
What resulted were a pair of spectacular wipeouts at the base of Little Hourglass, each too good to pass up for Crash of the Day. So, in the name of fairness, they will share Thursday’s honor.
Hoynacki went first. After landing a solid air in his early afternoon run, the 24-year-old Crested Butte loading dock worker looked to be in control on the greased-pan-fast runout, which so many others before him had also safely screamed out of. Then he hit a 2-foot lip and, with his weight on his heels, you could hear the “Uh-oh” in the crowd at the bottom.
His tips shot toward the sky and Hoynacki rocketed through the air at about 40 mph, parallel to the ground, before exploding on his return to earth. Double ejection.
Once his buddies realized their friend was OK, they roared with approval. Hoynacki wasn’t quite so enthusiastic after his crash ended any hope of advancing, but he carefully explained the incident anyway. The problem, he said, was that so many skiers had hit that drop before he took his run, it wasn’t nearly the same line he’d scoped Thursday morning during inspection.
“The top cliff I was on was way more jagged, and I was gonna ski right off it but I had to kinda ollie over everything and that’s where I gained too much speed,” he said, quickly adding: “But I was going for it the whole time.”
Oliver, meanwhile, hit the same drop as Hoynacki except 10 minutes later. He, too, carried an incredible amount of speed into the runout, but this time it looked like the 19-year-old from Salt Lake City would escape the carnage that is perpetually stalking the skiers at this event.
Right before the treed escape route opens up, Oliver’s ski tip ended up on the wrong side of an evergreen’s trunk. The result was a take-your-breath-away wipeout that left him with no skis on his feet as he rag-dolled three or four times downslope. Some of the branches from the unlucky tree came to rest 60 feet away from their owner.
Asked to describe what happened, Oliver said, “I don’t know. I just didn’t see the tree. Just kinda hooked on the little tree and blew up. But whatever.
“I’m kind of embarrassed by that. Like, I really shouldn’t have done that.”
It wouldn’t qualify as a Crash of the Day, but what Crested Butte local Steve Florentine did was impressive nonetheless. After one of his skis ejected prematurely, Florentine was left halfway up Little Hourglass, watching his board roll and slide down the perilous slope, over the mandatory air that forms the middle of the hourglass, before finally stopping at the bottom. With the crowd cheering below, Florentine dropped the cliff on one ski, hopped down to where his other ski lay, and returned his boot to its binding.
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