Words and Photos: Diane Harrington
Snowboarding at Taos Ski Valley is a fairly new concept which started with the inclusion of riders to the resort in March of 2008. The family operated resort was not only welcoming to snowboarders, but have included riders in one of their biggest events of the year The Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships. The 9th annual event featured 65 big-mountain riders from Canada, New Zealand, and all over the Rocky Mountain West. These competitors battled it out on the steep terrain for 3 days of big mountain riding earning a cummulative score which determined the winner.
Snowbird was well represented in both the skiers and snowboarders division. Riders Matt Carter and Jesse Maddox both finished in the top 15. Jesse got 11th for his wild ride. Jesse hucked the biggest cliff of the day earning himself a new nickname “the big mad dog”. He didn’t quite stick it, but pleased the crowd with a huge backside rodeo 7 off the Red Bull money booter. Carter was awarded a 13th place finish for his technical rocky line with some cool airs.
The big winner of the Snowbird athletes taking home the overall womens snowboarding title was Kaitlin Elliott. Kaitlin was in 2nd after the first day. She moved up to 1st place after the second day and secured her top finish the final day with the highest score of the female riders. Kaitlin has earned 2nd place finishes in the past, but this was her first big victory. Previously Kait has taken 2nd at the Masters at Snowbird, and a 2nd at Taos. Kaitlin is pumped about her first number one competition finish.
Camila Brown another Bird shredder had an 8th place finish. She jumped off one of the larger features attempted by any of the ladies in the West Basin venue. This years field of 24 women was the largest yet of the 9 years the contest has been held. Way to go ladies.
Local Taos patroller Justin Bobb won the competition for the mens snowboarding division. Bobb managed to find the sneaky lines through crazy exposure to claim the title. Californian Brian Bozack of Sugar Bowl was extremely impressive on all three days and finished just a hair behind J. Bobb in 2nd.
The New Mexican sun warmed the spectators and the crowd went wild as the athletes got gnarly. Snowboarding at Taos was truly an enchanting experience. The staff and the ski patrol were genuinely nice and provided above standard service. If you are an avid ski/board traveller, Taos Ski Valley is a destination that should be at the top of your list.