Local South Lake Lib Tech Ripper Mikey Wier gets gnarly in Big Mountain Snowboard Championship at Kirkwood and gets cover of RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL!
Kirkwood is gnarly. This week was the World Freeride Competition. I always like to go out for the comp and shred with all the hommies. Las year i was hurt this time of the year so i missed the comp. This time around i wanted some redemption. We snowboarders are just kind of a side show for the Skiing. The Skiers are really gnarly. It is the last US stop for the world tour, so all the heavy shreds show up. We snowboarders take it seriously, but just can’t ride with the same speed as the two plankers. I think you can ride with more style though.
Mother Nature kicked down just in time. When we scouted out the venue and signed up on Monday, it was a coral reef of ice on the hill. As luck would have it, we got one of those nice little spring storms that come in late in the day and dumped all night. Come morning the clouds started to break and kirkwood had close to 20 inches of fluffy, white, fun maker. It takes patrol a while to clear the venue for snow safety, so we all got to freeride for a couple hours in the morning. I got to get into some of my favorite lines that i had been thinking about for a whole snowless month.
Kirkwood is still like early season. The conditions were kind of dangerous because there is low snow to begin with. It hadn’t snowed in like over a month, and had been super warm, so allot of rock was exposed. The old snow had been really wet and froze before the storm, so the new light snow was sitting on ice. There are shark teeth under the snow everywhere in these conditions. To top it off, all the locals were in like a frenzy to finally get to ride some fresh snow, so the first few runs are like a Chinese down hill.
The morning started out perfect and blue, but by the time we all lined up at the top of the vista for our qualifying runs, the weather started rolling in again. I had a nice safe line picked out the day before, but with the new snow, some new possibilities had presented themselves. In years past i have come away from this event bummed on the judging. It’s hard because some people just ride down a mellow line, but smooth, and get good scores and people who go huge, but buttcheck, get lower scores. They tell you it is and extreme comp, so i would figure you should be getting as gnarly as the terrain would allow. i though about just taking a nice clear and fast line off the top. Then i found a nice pocket of snow under a huge drop. I thought about it for a minute and looked at it really good. my usual call is “will i die if i do this?” I figured out there was a slight chance for death, due to some rocks in the fall line of the drop, but i figured if it went wrong i would most likely just hit rocks and get hurt. It wasn’t the size of the drop that made me nervous, it was that you had to come off at a weird angle and then turn in the air, to land with the fall line of the hill there. If you didn’t pull it, you were heading for some rocks. I spent the time we had to inspect the venue building a ramp off the lava rock. I kept going back and forth in my head. Should i do it. No it’s too big for the condition, just keep in clean. No, i got it. No just go for the safe line and get a clean run score. Finally i figured that i was being a pussy and i should just go for it. I figured if i stick it, it could put me on top. If i crash, at least i went for it. A few of the other competitors came and looked over the edge and said, no way. as they scurried off. I said F it and went for it. I landed, but then washed out. The rest of my line was ok, but i crashed again when i came into an icy spot too fast.
I made the finals but was pretty far down the list. The Cirque it some of the Gnarliest terrain at any ski resort in North America. It is permanently closed to skiing at all times except for this event. The condition were too low to drop in from the usually spot at the very top of the venue, so we dropped from a place called drop in. Because of the low conditions, we only got to ride the chair ten side of the cirque. The lines under Carnnels drop, on the chair 4 side, were unskiiable this year. Day two was fun. the snow was still pretty rippable, but you had to watch for ice in the wind scoured spots. I had a super clean run in the cirque. Went super fast and had some clean drops, but it wasn’t enough to crawl up to a podium spot after my low score form the first day. I hate judged events. It’s really just me I’m competing against anyway, so i feel good about manning up to a drop that no one else went for.
Friday, a shot of me was on the front cover of the Reno Gazette Newspaper. I thought it was kind of cool, so i would share it with all of you.