Over 20-inches blanket The Cirque for the finals of The North Face Masters at Kirkwood
With 21-iches of fresh snow blanketing the famed Cirque venue the night before, we were in for one hell of a final for the second stop of The North Face Masters at Kirkwood.
The day started a bit later than usual as the patrol team was out early dropping bombs to make the venue safe for the competitors. As you might agree, no one was disappointed to start late as it gave everyone a good 1-2 hour window to get some pow slashes in over Kirkwood’s vast, creative terrain.
Once ski patrol was finished the women would put on one hell of a show as a gallery of over a 100 watched from the bottom. Nine women would drop from lookers right of The Cirque as blue bird skies and 60-degree temperatures made it one of the most memorable TNF Masters finals in recent history.
Galen Bridgewater would drop first for the ladies as she stormed through knee high pow with a fast paced, yet graceful style. Camilla Brown charged The Cirque with perfect turns, speed and style that would land her in third place. Laura Dewey would impress the judges with her fluid style and gutsy run to put her in second place. But it was Kirkwood local, Casey Lucas that would take home the coveted Katana for the ladies.
“I’m super stoked right now. After taking third last year at Crystal it’s great to be back on the podium. To win at my home mountain is a dream come true.” Notes Casey. “I’m stoked on the snow but was a little nervous that they would cancel the event. But I’m pumped to be able to ride The Cirque.”
John Rodosky dropping the fall line cliff | Photo: Abe Blair
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Soon after the ladies finished up their final runs the Men would drop in to strut their stuff on a face normally closed to the public. Moss Halladay would kick it off for the men and put down a huge fall line cliff drop with no hesitation. His smooth riding would put him in the hot seat for most of the day before Jackson Hole’s John Rodosky would take it over. Rodosky would put down a killer run with a huge fall line cliff drop followed by some of the smoothest riding of the day.
No one could buck Rodosky out of first place for most of the day, but the last ten riders packed some heavy hitters. Tim Carlson would traverse out to lookers left and with no hesitation drop two nice cliffs followed by a fast, powerful heal side slash in some deep pow. He would take over first for a hot second. Two riders later Charlie “Hollywood” Hock would take a similar line but skip the bottom section for a blazing fast pow run that would take over the hot seat.
With only a few riders lift including first place qualifier Jammie Rizzuto and Sammy Luebke it was anyone’s game. Jamie put down one hell of a run as he kicked it off with a method that was larger than he expected. With a little bobble on the landing he would finish off his run with a huge laid-out backflip off a lower rock landing him in seventh place. It was up to Sammy Luebke to take it all home but after a small fall would end up in tenth place as Charlie Hoch would take home the Katana.
“I didn’t come here to win. It’s the way I look at how I’m going to ride my line.” Comments Hoch. “I come out because everyone here is so cool. It’s so fun these riders look at the mountain the way I do. It’s gives me a chance to learn from them. That’s why I come out here.”
Coming off a recent injury Charlie was hesitant on how he would hold up with such a strong pack of riders in the field. But none-the-less he showed why he deserved a spot atop the podium. “The snow was variable even though we got 21-inches last night.” Notes Hoch. “It’s The Cirque and Kirkwood is pretty windy. It wasn’t the epic blue bird pow day we were all expecting but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some deep turns on the venue.”
With above par conditions and blue bird skies, the second stop of The North Face Masters at Kirkwood was one for the history books. Next up will be the last stop of the season as we head to Snowboard, Utah April 12-15 to crown an overall tour winner.