Squaw’s Jaclyn Paaso lights up home crowd, wins Nissan Tram Face
March 1, 2010
SQUAW VALLEY USA and#8212; While it wasn’t the Tram Face, Silverado provided plenty of big-mountain amenities Monday for the third stop of the Freeride World Tour at Squaw Valley.
and#8220;Silverado is our backup venue, and it’s still one of the best venues in the world,and#8221; said Squaw Valley skier Cody Townsend, who conceded he was a bit disappointed the Nissan Tram Face competition was moved from its originally slated location. and#8220;I was really ready for it. It wasn’t ideal conditions, but I was still looking forward to finally getting to do it.and#8221;
After much anticipation, the event was ready to go off Sunday on the infamous Tram Face itself and#8212; the imposing, rocky pitch directly above the village. But a large avalanche broke loose on the Tram Face minutes before the start, sending spectators, organizers and media scattering at the bottom of the mountain as the slide stopped about 200 feet short of the finish area. The avalanche postponed the competition a day as organizers moved the site to Silverado.
and#8220;It’s a little unfortunate we didn’t get to go on Tram Face at all, but we’re making the most of it,and#8221; said skier Cliff Bennett of the USA. and#8220;Silverado is a pretty good venue. A lot of fun little features, and the cool roof drop (at the top), which is a little different.and#8221;
As spectators trickled in to the viewing area at the base of Silverado while the women wrapped up their first of two runs, Squaw Valley local Jaclyn Paaso lit up the crowd with a huge cliff-drop off an exposed band of rocks near the bottom and#8212; perhaps the biggest air of the day, men or women. Paaso rode away from the hard-impact landing, which bucked her into the air again before she secured her footing, as the sizeable crowd buzzed with excitement.
and#8220;I just wanted to go bigger than the boys,and#8221; said Paaso, who leads the Freeride World Tour season standings with one stop remaining.
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Judges awarded Paaso first place in the women’s field for her gutsy line, which was so good she didn’t need to take her second run.
and#8220;Jackie went bigger than any of the girls,and#8221; said head ski judge Eric Seymour. and#8220;Skiing a fluid line landing a first jump before taking the 45-footer at full speed, and managing to land on her feet.and#8221;
Ane Enderud of Norway finished runner-up, and was followed by Squaw Valley skier Ingrid Backstrom, who stomped an impressive cliff-drop herself on her second run.
In the men’s ski competition, Henrik WIndstedt of Sweden captured the top spot in front of Aurelien Ducroz of France and Reine Barkered of Sweden. Squaw local Tim Dutton finished sixth while Townsend, who was third after his first run, took seventh. Dutton ranks fifth in the season standings; WIndstedt leads after overtaking Candide Thovex, who finished 17th Monday.
and#8220;It was an awesome event and#8212; great weather and amazing talent,and#8221; Dutton said. and#8220;Doesn’t get much better than rad dudes sending for $8,000 at Squaw.and#8221;
In the snowboarding field, men’s season leader Xavier de Le Rue of France threw down a fast and aggressive second run, in which he aired off a large cliff near the bottom and rode out of the landing, to take the win ahead of Americans Matt Annetts and Ryland Bell of Tahoe City. Shannan Yates, Aline Bock and Susal Mol finished 1-2-3 among women snowboarders.
and#8220;It’s a super fun venue. Great times,and#8221; said Kaj Zackrisson of Sweden, who finished fifth among men’s skiers Monday and ranks third in the season standings. and#8220;It’s a little short. We’re used to skiing a little longer, but what’s there is great.and#8221;
Zackrisson and#8212; aka the Flying Squirrel and#8212; said he had a blast getting the full tour of Squaw Valley leading up to the event, courtesy of Townsend and fellow Squaw local JT Holmes. and#8220;It’s been a super good week, and to finish it off here today is great.and#8221;
The Freeride World Tour wraps up with its fourth and final stop at Verbier, Switzerland, March 20-21.
To view a photo gallery from the Freeride World Tour: Nissan Tram Face, go to http://www.sierrasun.com/photos.