Fans came out in droves for the final day of the 2009 Subaru US Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR). The first stop on the 2009 Freeskiing World Tour (FWT), fifty athletes qualified for the final day in the Hourglass/Bermuda Triangle, an area off-limits to the everyday skier, but opened up for the final day thanks to the work of the Crested Butte Mountain Professional Ski Patrol. In the end, Michelle Manning and Clif Bennett both of Alta/Snowbird, Utah, would post the best-combined score to take the titles.
The Hourglass/Bermuda Triangle is a 1,000-vertical-foot drop with a sustained pitch of 40-degrees and reaching 60-degrees in several spots leaving skiers no room for mistakes. With no traffic in the area the entire season, competitors were treated to a mixed bag of conditions from soft powder, to bottomless, punchy holes and areas of completely bare rocks and trees.
For the New England skier or snowboarder who has wondered what Tuckerman Ravine might be like with lift service, the answer is Crested Butte. Set in the beauty of Gunnison National Forest and the jagged peaks of the Rockies’ Elk Mountain Range, the resort about 230 miles southwest of Denver has a base elevation of 9,375 feet.
Its 121 trails provide well-manicured groomers for cruising and enough mountain panoramas to fill a memory card. The East River express serves up incredible vistas with fast-moving runs like Black Eagle and the half-bumped Resurrection. Bushwacker under the Teocalli lift is a wicked rolling run. Paradise Bowl is wide and easy, leading to some black diamond fun on Jokerville and signature International. Stop for a beer at the on-mountain Ice Bar restaurant and finish with a frosty apres-ski beverage at the chalet-style Avalanche at the base.