The final day of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, presented by PrimaLoft, went off without a hitch yesterday at Kirkwood Mountain as Casey Lucas and Charlie Hoch worked their way to the top of the podium. It was a beautiful day with clear blue California skies, surprising conditions after 100 mile-per-hour winds and heavy snowfall caused officials to push back the competition by a day. After the storm, athletes enjoyed fresh powder and fantastic spring conditions at “The Cirque,” an area of Kirkwood known for its steepness.
“It was an amazing day here at Kirkwood,” said Competition Director Patrick Brennan. “Sun, powder and an incredible field of athletes made for a perfect day of competition.”
Competing at “The Cirque” was a feat in and of itself, as it is permanently closed to the public. In fact, just a month ago, the area was deemed unsafe, a realization that lead officials to postpone the competition. Now, it is full of fresh powder and was perfect for the event. Kirkwood workers were out on the slopes early yesterday morning to do avalanche and safety control after a whopping two feet of snow dumped on the area the night before. The variable snow conditions caused by the wind added a challenge to the already difficult course.
At 1300 feet long, the venue covers all kinds of snow conditions and terrain features. Only 42 big-mountain snowboarders made it to the one-run finals after Day 1. And the pressure was on. Judges looked at line choice, control, style and fluidity. It was tough love from the four big-mountain greats Tom Burt, Andy Hetzel, Temple Cummins, and Julie Zell.
Casey Lucas made it to the finish with the fewest criticisms from the bench and won the women’s 2012 title. The judges and fans alike were amazed with her double cliff drop at the top. The Kirkwood local was confident and controlled in her movements, and her skills paid off as she competed on her home mountain.
“This is a dream to win at Kirkwood,” said Lucas after her high score of 80.33 was announced.
Silver went to Snowbird’s Laura Dewey with 78.67. And Camila Brown, another Snowbird local, earned third just 0.67 points behind.
Charlie Hoch of Wolf Creek came in fresh off the bench after an injury and got straight down to business, nailing a big double cliff drop off the top and a fast and fluid ride down the fall line. The control the judges were looking for was obvious to anyone watching. As an added bonus to winning the men’s competition with an 81.33, he was chosen for the “Clif Bar Best Moment.”
With a score of 80.33, Steven’s Pass local Tim Carlson ended a step behind Hoch with Squaw Valley’s Christopher Galvin taking third with 78.67.
The $20,000 purse was divvied up between those that made the podium as well as the coveted Katana Sword to Hoch and Lucas. Jann Eberharter of Bogus Basin went home with The North Face Young Gun Award, a prize given to the most remarkable rider under the age of 25.