This year, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the Aspen Open or not. But upon Mammoth getting cancelled, I felt like I needed to do another contest before beginning my last stretch of contests for the season.

Photo by: Robby Franco

Photo by: Robby Franco

Going into my 3rd year of competing in this contest, I had a lot of high hopes for this contest. Driving early over to Buttermilk the first day for practice, I had a blast lapping the park, and getting used to the features. Taking a bunch of fun laps with Willie Borm and John Brown, including a fun race at the end of the day where the loser (Willie) had to buy us lunch. Thanks Willie! :)

Sour Patch chilling in the Aspen lodge. Photo by: Robby Franco

Sour Patch chilling in the Aspen lodge. Photo by: Robby Franco

On our qualifier day, they took the Top 40 to advance to the semi-finals (10 from each heat). I was in the first heat in the morning, and had some fun lapping in the sun. Thankfully landed both my runs, and ended up qualifying 4th in my heat.

Photo by: Robby Franco

Photo by: Robby Franco

For semi-finals we had some bad weather roll in. Trying to not let it get to me, I was able to put down a full run in practice. When it was my turn to drop, I landed everything in my run, until I went too big on the final jump and had my ski pop off. Trying to shake it off, I went into my second run, but didn’t cut as much speed as I needed to on the final rail, and made me go too big, then upon landing on the snow my ski popped off once more.  Easily one of the worst feelings in competing is falling both runs. The rest of the day I was pretty bummed, but that’s just how it goes for some contests. Thankfully Kyle Smaine came up with a great idea of going to get BBQ at Hickory House. This happened to be just what I needed. While we went to go eat, the weather got worse, resulting in the contest to be postponed till the next day.

Just to give you an idea of how bad the weather got. Photo by: Robby Franco

Just to give you an idea of how bad the weather got. Photo by: Robby Franco

I had to get back to Keystone to coach the following day, so I ended up getting a ride with the Swadburg’s. The next day they ended up having finals, and a major props to Willie Borm for coming away with another win! Another props to Teal Harle and Tim Ryan for getting on the podium as well.

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While they were competing, I was having an awesome day riding around with the Summit County Freeride crew as a guest coach. So much fun riding around with these groms, and seeing how much they had all progressed in only a year. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these little shredders. The next morning, I headed out to Park City with Robby Franco and Alex Hackel for the Grand Prix.

Wanted to give a big thanks to Alex Ferreira for letting Robby and I crash at his house, and to his awesome mom for cooking us some of her famous lasagna! And to the Swadburg family for helping me get back to Keystone so I could coach the boys! 

Till then,

-Noa

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