‘Sick Bird’ Haggard cracks freeride podium | SummitDaily.com

‘Sick Bird’ Haggard cracks freeride podium

Special to the Daily

SNOWMASS – Darrell Haggard has figured out how best to combine his winter hobby with his summer hobby: ski like a sick bird.Not literally, of course, but when Haggard flew off a series of three cliffs – aptly named Triple Drop – at the Colorado Freeride Series finals last Sunday at Snowmass, he not only cracked the highly sought-after podium, but also went home with a new chainsaw courtesy of the event’s sponsor, Stihl, which gave away the machine for its “Sick Bird” award.

And while every Colorado male probably could use a chainsaw, Haggard could use one more. He recently launched a fire mitigation business after working as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service over the past three summers. “So, yep, I’ll put the chainsaw to good use,” he said.

Haggard is one of a number of fearless extreme skiers who make up the Arapahoe Basin Freeride Team. The A-Basin crew has represented the county well this season, and last weekend it was Haggard’s turn to lead the charge. He hit a 50-foot air that put him in 13th place on Saturday, then leaped up to third with the highest scoring run on Sunday. His “Triple Drop” line featured consecutive airs that measured roughly 35 feet, 25 feet and 30 feet.He described it this way: “I singled the first two airs, dropping 60 feet to a small pad of snow above a traverse, then went right off a 30-footer at the bottom and skied out clean.”

Ryan Banker, another A-Basin Freeride Team member, was the only other Summit skier to crack the top 20. He also hit Triple Drop, and jumped from 28th to 17th on the final day.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.

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