September 3, 2009
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The people of La Parva, Chile, love two things: Condors and freeskiing. While I can’t really explain their obsession with the former, their obsession with the latter is pretty understandable—amazing terrain and meters upon meters of annual snow. For this reason, it’s no surprise that the Freeskiing World Tour is kicking off there next week from September 2-5. Their obsession with the sport is further reflected in the fact that they recently renamed a large chunk of their mountain “McConkey’s,” a run which will serve as the first day’s venue.
McConkey’s is most similar to Snowbird’s North Baldy—a lot of features that are well spaced. The venue will favor faster, more fluid skiers that prefer bigger airs, rather than more technical skiers. Made up of “La Chiminaya,” and everything to the looker’s right, skiers should have no problem teeing off up to 70 feet should conditions permit. Also, to make things more challenging, McConkey’s has a nasty rollover at the top. In other words, skiers can’t see their lines from the start, so they better know where the hell they’re going.
In the spirit of keeping things simple, Day Two consists of “La Chiminaya” and everything to lookers left. Similar to Crested Butte’s Freeskiing World Tour venue, this terrain clearly favors the more technical, billy-goat style skiing of the early ‘90s. While the far left portion of the venue will once again allow skiers to open it up, the real meat of the venue lies just to the looker’s left of La Chiminaya. Expect the highest line scores of the event to come from this area. Not only does the Day Two venue also have a rollover, but it has numerous closeout lines, so athletes really better know where they’re going.
I only met Shane a couple of times, and I can’t say that I made a lasting impression on him. However, I, like thousands of other skiers throughout the world, am intertwined in the community that he helped create—the IFSA. It will be an honor to compete on a venue named after the man and speaks to his influence and continued legacy in so many dimensions of our sport. I’d like to think that Shane would be quite pleased with what his organization has become: A family of skiers that essentially throws down for the sake of throwing down, and the event in Chile will be exactly that.