Monarch hosts competition

Line choice, control, fluidity, technique, style and energy are the judging criteria for the IFSA Big Mountain Competition, which begins at 9 a.m. March 3 and 4 at Monarch Mountain.

This is the second year Monarch has hosted an International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association competition. This event is a junior regional competition for skiers and snowboarders in three age groups; younger than 12, 12-14 and 15-18.

Kathryn Wadsworth, Monarch event coordinator, said last year’s event was quite popular, so they decided to make it a two-day event this year. As usual with IFSA competitions, registration filled up “almost immediately.”

“It’s a judged event,” Wadsworth said. “The competitors will be judged on their top-to-bottom run. They will be judged on their line choice, control and if they are able to catch air off any natural feature. Not man made but rocks.”

High Anxiety will be the competition run Saturay, and those who qualify will compete in Mirkwood Basin Sunday.

“We suggested the trails. (High Anxiety) is one of more advanced runs, and it has interesting environmental challenges, it starts out steep and rocky and then flattens out,” said Wadsworth.

It’s also ideal for families who want to watch. The Mirkwood run will be harder to watch on Sunday, but people are invited to hike up.

There will be a tent set up at the bottom of High Anxiety with music and announcers where the public is invited to watch the event. The viewing area can be accessed by skiing (or riding) down the adjacent trail, J.R.’s.

“It’s a ‘ski as it is’ event. Which is why Monarch is so perfect for this competition,” Wadsworth said. “Monarch is shaping up to be a big mountain ski competition area, because of our snow quality and natural terrain.”

Team Monarch will have about a dozen students competing.

Head Coach Tiania Adams said, “We don’t have a lot of top contenders yet. We’re an entry level team, we’re just getting exposed to (competing.)”

Unlike other competition teams, like Summit and Crested Butte, Adams said Team Monarch’s season is fairly short. They start in early January and typically finish before March. This competition will mark the end of their season. In that short time the team has participated in four competitive events; one at Arapahoe Basin, one at Copper Mountain and two at Ski Cooper.

The big mountain competition combines many disciplines of skiing, Adams said. Racing requires good technique and control. Pipe and park events require style and energy.

“Competing in big mountain is about expression and a love to ski,” Adams said. “What judges look for is, who’s having the most fun out there? Because when you’re having fun, it shows.”