Telemark skiers, freeride mountain bikers catch big air at Vail's Teva Games

By Real Vail
Real AspenFebruary 12, 2012
The Winter Teva Mountain Games made some winter sports history Saturday night as telemark skiers and freeride mountain bikers jumped side-by-side, on the snow and under the lights in a one-of-a-kind big air contest at Golden Peak. The unique event capped off a day of intense competition for bikers and skiers in Vail.

The big air event was actually a combination of two competitions, the Teva Best Trick for bikers and the Thule Telemark Big Air for skiers. The Teva Best Trick featured 10 of the world's best freeride mountain bikers, hitting the country's biggest bike snow jump, throwing flips and tricks for a massive crowd at the Golden Peak base area.

Chad Kagy threw a huge front flip off the jump to claim overall victory. Mike Montgomery and Sam Pilgrim finished second and third respectively.

The Thule Telemark Big Air included an impressive array of tricks from the country's best free-heelers. Christopher Ewart won the event with his double-cork 1080. Jeremy Clark and Kjell Ellefson were second and third.

More than 130 skiers started the Eddie Bauer Ski Mountaineering race early in the morning, making it one of the largest races of its kind in the country. The elite race, which included over 10,000 feet of climbing over 18 miles, was a hard fought battle for first place among a trio of Gunnison County men.

Marshall Thomson (Crested Butte, Colo.) claimed victory with a time of 4:04:07, besting Bryan Wickenhauser (Gunnison, Colo.) by just two seconds at the line. Brian Smith (Gunnison, Colo.) was a close third at 4:04:17.

In the women's elite ski mountaineering race, the US National Champion, Sari Anderson (Carbondale, Colo.), duked it out all day with the North American National Champion, Janelle Smiley (Crested Butte, Colo.).

In the end, Anderson claimed victory with a time of 4:17:57, ahead of Smiley with a time of 4:22:20. Stevie Kremer (Crested Butte, Colo.) finished in third place among the elite women with a time of 4:45:43.

After the first two events in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge, both the men's and women's competition remains fierce. Brian Smith leads the men's race, with a cumulative time of 4:29:37 after the 10K Nordic race on Friday and today's ski mountaineering race. Marshall Thomson is just 4:19 back from Smith and Mike Kloser is only 40 seconds back from him.

Sari Anderson leads the women's Ultimate Mountain Challenge with a cumulative time of 4:48:00. Janelle Smiley is in second at 4:52:47 and Stevie Kremer is in third at 5:19:45.

The final race of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge is today's Bud Light Vail Uphill, a two-mile, 2,200-foot climb from the base of Lionshead to the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

The Teva On-Snow Bike Crit saw some of the state's fastest cross-country mountain bikers spinning laps through the snow around Golden Peak on fat bikes. Mitch Hoke (Boulder, Colo.) won for the men, with Jake Wells (Avon, Colo.) and Jay Henry (Avon, Colo.) in second and third respectively.

In the women's race, Olympic team hopeful Judy Freeman (Boulder, Colo.) claimed victory in front of local rider Gretchen Reeves (Avon, Colo.) and Eszter Horanyi (Gunnison, Colo.).

In the Teva Dual Slalom Bike race, Kyle Ebbett (Essex Junction, Vt.) beat Aaron Chase (Glenwood, N.J.) in the head-to-head competition.

For complete results and a full schedule of today's action, go to the Winter Teva Mountain Games website.

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