Fondl nabs second at Freeride Series |

Fondl nabs second at Freeride Series

SNOWMASS – Frisco extreme skier Gary Fondl got the best finish of his career Saturday at the second event of the Colorado Freeride Series.

Fondl took second with a creative line, which he skied cleanly, at the Hanging Valley Headwall. His previous best was a fourth at this contest last season. He’s happy being the runner-up, but he’s ready to be first.

“I’m pushing myself pretty hard this year,” Fondl said. “I’m happy with second. I’ll just have to try a little harder next time.”

Fellow Summit Countian George Casaletta broke into the top 10 with a 10th, and Breckenridge ski instructor Teague Holmes was 37th out of about 60 skiers.

The weather, which forced a postponement of the men’s skiing division at the circuit’s first stop last month, cooperated Saturday with blue skies and a foot of fresh snow. The ideal conditions increased the level of the skiing. A few athletes threw front flips off the most prominent rock in the venue.

“It was completely soft,” said Fondl, who chose a line that went untouched until his start in the 50th spot.

Aspen skier Kiffor Berg won the men’s division, while Lisen Gustafson was first for women.

Vail snowboarder Chris Albers continued his dominance of the series, placing first for the second time this season and clinching the overall title. Jill Stoffels won the women’s snowboard division.

“The competition is getting tough,” said Aspen/Snowmass spokesperson Jessie Berg. “This is turning out to be one of Snowmass’ most popular events, and we are seeing some of the best athletes in the state starting to show up.”

The men’s skiing competition that was cancelled because of weather last month has been rescheduled for March 21. The final event in the three-stop series is slated for March 22, and the championship is set for March 23.

The snow depth will likely allow for an expanding of the venue for the upcoming events.

Montezuma skier Rex Wehrman, who won the series championship last year, will not compete this season because of an injury, Fondl said.

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