Today was the inspection day for the Subaru US Freeskiing Nationals and first World Tour stop at Snowbird this week. Athletes were looking at different lines, scouting take offs and probing landings. The idea is to find the most difficult line you can possibly ski without falling. Whoever ski’s the sickest line the best, wins. I started my day by inspecting West Baldy. This venue will be used over the next two days as a qualifier for the World Tour event that starts Friday. When looking at West Baldy, most skiers noticed that the snow had gotten firmer from warming up yesterday and then freezing overnight. Most athletes running early will probably go a little smaller to avoid wrecking. Athletes running later will enjoy better snow as it starts to thaw. On the next run I made my way over to North Baldy, which will be used for the final day. The snow there was not affected by the sun and was nice and soft. With good snow and a wide variety of big features, people will be going fast and huge on North Baldy this Saturday. Friday’s venue will be held on Silverfox, which is holding up nicely in the shade. A rope closer over the main chute is also keeping it from getting chewed up by people skiing and inspecting. In general, most athletes are stoked. The venues are looking different than years past, which will open up some creative lines. The plan for most of us is to ski aggressively but smartly for a couple of days until the final. Then it’s time to get stupid. Maybe not stupid, but that is when it’s time to take some extra risk and try to win. After all as Ricky Bobby says, “If you're not first, you're last.”
Head up to Snowbird this weekend to check out the competition which is free to spectators with a valid lift ticket or season pass. The semi-finals will take place Friday and finals on Saturday. Utah is home to several top freeskiers, many of whom will be competing.