Photos and words by Dominic Rinaldi
Mountain Sports Freeride team is back in action! After weeks of no snow in Colorado a small group of seasoned Mountain Sports Freeride athletes and two coaches packed up the van and headed north searching for soft snow and skiable terrain. We left Gunnison around 12:30 PM on Saturday driving past Blue Mesa enjoying the colder weather. As we got closer to Salt Lake City the snow came in thick and news from back home that it has started to snow. The driving was slow but we knew the storm we were driving through had just covered the mountains at Whitewater and Revelstoke, BC. The sun set as we got to salt lake where we picked up the Ice Cream Team (Elle and Tucker). After grabbing In-N-Out Burger we started the remaining 13 hour drive to Whitewater, BC Canada.
Waking up in the van at 8:00 AM, finally entering the Canada border to a bunch of fresh snow we can quickly found out the border was not going to be a quick ordeal. Leaving the border by 11:30 we scrambled up to Whitewater resort to catch a half day of all the fresh snow and oh was there fresh snow! Monday morning brough 10cm of fresh snow and we were finally able to hit some of the features we had scouted the day prior. In Whitewater there are amazing pillow lines and interesting fall line drops that made the new snow so enjoyable.
After this awesome day we headed four hours north to Revelstoke Mountain Resort to compete in the IFSA Four* event. Tuesday consisted of inspecting the day one venue and getting familiar with the snowpack and different terrain. Coming from Crested Butte with only 30” of snowfall up to this point seeing cliffs with landings and a good amount of snow to land on was refreshing. Wednesday morning was a 8:00 AM gondola load for the first day of competition. All the competitors got to the top of the Stoke Chair to find ski patrol telling everyone to cram into the warming hut at the top and wait for further instructions from the judges. Two hours later, the judges called for a weather day due to fog. The team took off and had a great day of free skiing.
The next day was another 8:00 AM gondola load. The day was clear and everything was a go. They started men skiers first and Tucker Volbrecht was 4th on the start list. His first two airs were great and he hit them exactly how he wanted to but on the final air of his run he got a little friendly with a tree and ended up losing a ski. Riley Moser came next and out of his top air he had a little hip check and high side but hit the second air big and landed perfectly. A little rattled up he didn’t quite ski the rest of his run how he wanted but still hit some cool features at the bottom. Dominic Rinaldi was 10 people after Riley and executed his top two airs to plan but missed the windlip after the second cliff. He finished his run with a 360 through the trees and a mute 360 at the bottom.
Rhianna Borderick was the first of the Western girls to go, she took off out the gate and hit her two first airs with speed, skied to the wind lip and ripped to the bottom of the venue. Elle Truax was next up and came out of the gate with big turns. She hit the wind lip and carved to the bottom of the venue. After all the girls went it started to snow quite a bit so we went and checked out the finals venue and skied around before calling it a night.
We started making dinner but headed up to the riders meeting where they handed out the results for the qualifying day. They only ended up taking 16 male and 10 female to the finals so unfortunately no one made the cut. The next morning we had a relaxing day of skiing around Revelstoke, adventuring and finding new terrain. At the end of the day we packed up the van for the last time and started our 24 hour drive back home to Gunnison. Even though none of the Western athletes made finals we were all so excited to experience skiing this mountain and getting familiar with the competition scene this year.