Word and Photos: Diane Harrington
The North Face Masters of Snowboarding Freeride World Qualifier at Squaw Valley was the second North American qualifying event for the Freeride World Tours third year. The event went down last weekend at Squaw Valley, famous for being the home of the 1960 Olympics and the home of Unofficial Networks. The action took place on February 15th, 2013 in the C-2 Bowl (Cornice 2). Ride up the funitel provided spectacular views for spectators headed to watch the competitors. The stakes were high for this 4 star FWQ and athletes traveled from far and wide to compete. The winner of Squaw received $3000, a shot at the Freeride World Tour and a katana sword. All the athletes were charged up and willing to push their limits in a battle for these coveted honors and a chance to compete internationally.
California hasn’t seen significant snow in over a month. The freeze-thaw cycles have turned many of the un-groomed slopes into icy bumps or perfectly smooth ice. Either way, it was difficult to edge on these slippery slopes. The extreme mountain conditions added a real challenge for athletes.
The variable conditions didn’t stop Ryan Hudson from sending it off the biggest cliff of the day. At first, the announcer thought Ryan was lost, but he made his way to the edge of the 45+ footer and raised his arms to get the crowd pumped up. Jordan Nelson had the top finish for the Snowbird men ranking 22nd (51 competitors all together at Squaw) . Snowbird and Utah were well represented with eight male athletes and fivefemale athletes competing.
Squaw Valley local Iris Lazzareschi took 1st for the gals. She is no stranger here in Utah and visits regularly. Iris is already qualified for the World Tour, but this win at home meant a lot to her. She had a great run hucking a few cliffs and staying on her feet to make her the undisputed the winner.
Ruari MacFarlane from New Zealand was the men’s top winner, stomping a sick double cliff mid-line. His comp run was unique, very exposed, and exciting to watch. Ruari travelled 35 hours to get to California and slept in his car the night before the competition. He said he is going to use his prize money to travel to Tailgate, AK. Ruari has also shredded in Utah, so we had to hook him up with an Alta Snowboard Team sticker. Way to go Kiwi!