Late last week, Squaw Valley hosted the 4-star competition of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding where Ruari MacFarlane of Mount Olympus, New Zealand and Iris Lazzareschi of Squaw Valley were crowned Masters Champions. The two athletes won out of a competitive field of 16 women and 53 men.
“Today was impressive because there was so much hard charging on really tough conditions,” said Masters Head judge Jim Zellers. “The riders really exceeded our expectations. They played it smart and rode some lines I honestly did not think could be done today.”
MacFarlane started his run with a clean 360 at the top, and maintained a fluid high speed run down the looker’s right side of the venue hitting numerous airs. He proceeded to charge off a huge cliff in a highly technical area and sailed into the finish. He made first place with a high score of 89.33.
Sammy Luebke came in second with a score of 85.00. He started his run with a huge frontside 360 and finished with a solid backside 360.
In third place with a score of 83.67, was Hans Mindich, who may have executed one of the most unconventional runs in Master’s history. He dropped into his run with a backside 180 near the top, and then continued to ride the majority of his very fast line switch accelerating a backside 180 off a large cliff on the looker’s right side of the venue.
Along with his third place win, Mindich was recognized as the Young Gun of the event- a tradition that celebrates a rider under 21 who demonstrates raw talent, an innovative riding style and exemplifies true sportsmanship and passion for the mountains.
Lazzareschi came in first place in the women’s field with a high score of 85.00. She hit a solid cliff at the top that continued to be her namesake throughout the competition. She rode a fluid run integrating many air and style elements including a half-cab and grabs.
“Iris really stomped her run top to bottom with solid airs on the top and consistency the whole way through,” said judge Andy Finch. “She really showed control in in challenging conditions.”
Kirkwood local, Casey Lucas, came in second place for the women’s’. She ripped through her run linking very clean and fast turns. Marisa Krawczak of Nub Nol, Michigan came in at third.
Ryan Hudson earned the A-Rob award for tackling two massive cliffs despite falling during the landing of the first. The award honors the late Master’s champion Aaron Robinson, and recognizes the spirit of the community and desire to explore the mountains.
The North Face Masters is part of the Freeride World Qualifier system. FWQs are rated on a 1 to 4-star scale with competitors earning more or less points at events according to venue difficulty and scale, competitive pool and other factors. The Masters is the top-level qualifier event and pivotal step for athletes hoping to advance to the SWATCH Freeride World Tour by The North Face.
For more info on athletes or registration visit www.thenorthfacemasters.com