Ross rocketing toward third tele title |

Ross rocketing toward third tele title

Jason Starr

Breckenridge1s Leslie Ross has proven over the years that no other female telemark skier can beat her.

The only way she1ll lose at this weekend1s Telemark Freeskiing Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is if she beats herself, or if the hardpacked conditions get the best of her.

3The conditions are pretty nasty,² Ross said Thursday after inspecting the venue just outside the Jackson Hole ski area boundary. 3Jackson1s a great place for an event, but we1ll have to see how the conditions are. It1s pretty firm.²

The fifth-year event, founded and organized by Breck skier Nat Ross, was moved from Arapahoe Basin because of a lack of snow. It is part of a four-stop telemark freeskiing series.

3It1s gonna make people really cautious,² Leslie Ross said of the Jackson snow. 3There1s not really those soft landings.²

Ross sits second in the standings only because she did not attend all three previous events. She won contests in Crested Butte and Brighton (Utah) but skipped the Alpine Meadows (California) event. The top three of four scores will count toward the overall title. Ross has the chance to sweep the three events she has entered.

3I1m gonna have to ski more conservatively,² Ross said. 3But I feel like if I ski solid, I have a good shot at it. But you never know. There are a lot of good skiers here.²

Utah skier Sara Clemensen, who has beaten Ross in previous years, probably has the best chance to overtake Ross. British Columbia1s Diana Mauriks is also in the running.

B.J. Brewer of Utah leads the men1s standings, and fellow Utahan Andy Rosenburg sits in second place.

Event-founder Nat Ross said the venue change from A-Basin has changed the demographics of the field, with fewer Summit Countians and more Jackson locals. Also, the women1s field has taken a hit in terms of overall participation. Ross expects 12 to 20 women down from 30 last year.

3It1s not good because I know there are more women telemarking,² Nat Ross said.

The championships are a three-day event. One-third of the field will be cut after preliminaries today. Each day the venue moves to another out-of-bounds bowl in the Jackson area.

3That1s one of the reasons we brought it here,² Nat Ross said. 3Their patrol is really cool about it.²

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