Over the past six years of its existence, the winner Cold Rush title has grown to be synonymous with the title of “best skier in the world”. Competitors perform on one of the wildest freestyle backcountry courses known to the sport and are then judged by their fellow athletes. It is a competition that brings together the most elite skiers in the world, hailing from multiple backgrounds and skiing disciplines.
The Red Bull Cold Rush kicked off in spectacular fashion yesterday with a day consisting of big mountain riding and some unstable snow pack conditions that forced competitors to tread lightly and focus on safety when dropping in. Avalanches in the backcountry have been par-for-the-course during this season, but its hard to believe anyone could have foreseen a third of the venue being taken out!
Event officials took every precaution after the initial avalanche and performed several safety runs to check snow stability. Once the remaining snowpack was considered stable, the athletes were heli lifted to the top of the course to kick off the competition.
On the Men’s side, some of the standouts included runs by Dane Tudor, Andy Mahre, Dave Treadway, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Logan Pehota. Tudor dropped into Pequeño launching a quick air off a rock, blasting through the Hourglass section of the course before launching a huge 20+ foot rock chute dubbed the Broom Closet. Mahre also dropped into Pequeño lining up a super technical line threading multiple ledges and rock drops, then returned on his second run to do the entire line in the Grande switch.
Dave Treadway held nothing back while ripping full speed through the Scarface spine and cliff section, taking a hard skier’s right before launching into the Broom Closet rock chute.
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa linked a line filled with double rock drops, chutes and multiple airs to impress the other competitors. And young gun Pehota stuck rock hits, fast spine lines and a clean air through the Broom Closet to make his mark on the mountain.
On the Women’s side, Jackie Paaso went for redemption this year pulling out all the stops as she dropped into the Grande and headed straight to a 25+ foot cliff drop, while Michelle Parker also dropped into the Grande hitting multiple rock drops under Storm Peak along the way.
On Tuesday all of the competitors will head out to the aptly named Mandatory Air run to take part in the Slopestyle competition.