Freeride series bucks windy weather in first event |

Freeride series bucks windy weather in first event

Jason Starr

Saturday was a success for the Evian Colorado Freeride Series and for the Summit County riders who went to Snowmass to compete in the series’ first event.

Copper snowboarder Angela Hester took third place among women snowboarders, and Frisco skier Gary Fondl was a respectable 10th in the men’s skier division.

The next contest is March 9 at the same Snowmass Mountain venue – the Hanging Valley Headwall.

“I feel I can come out and improve my result,” Hester said. “I know I can ride better. I’m going to gun for a first-place finish at the next event.”

The contest survived a blustery High Country day, with blowing snow stealing the competitors’ visibility. A planned two-run format was cut to one.

“The weather was definitely a factor,” said Chief of Race Tom Winter of Vail. “The wind started at about 7:30 (a.m.) and increased in intensity all day … It makes it tougher. You can’t see your landings at times. We were lucky to get everyone one run.

There were four categories: Men’s and women’s snowboarding, and men’s and women’s skiing. Sarah Long won the women’s snowboarding event followed by Susan Mol then Hester. Vail’s Christopher Albers won the men’s snowboarding division with Jeffrey Todd in second and Josh Jackson in third.

For the skiers, Sweden’s Nina Oqvist won the women’s title followed by Susan Medville and Julie Brown. Jess Alexander was the top male, Curt Clemetson was second and Frank Shine was third.

It was the first of four events with the championship coming March 29-30.

“We’ve got one round under our belt, and this venue is turning out to be a perfect choice for the event,” said Winter, who organized this series to replace the defunct Berthoud Badass Series. “Snowmass is an amazing mountain. I don’t think a lot of the athletes realized just how rowdy the terrain is here. Now they know.”

To register for the March 9 or March 28 contests, call Aspen/Snowmass at (970) 925-1220.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at

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