Janina Kuzma Wins the Subaru NorAm Freeski Champs




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Comment Share Posted on Friday March 12th at 12:25 p.m.

Janina Kuzma’s airplane-turn into a tight choke in one of the steepest sections of Kirkwood Mountain Resort’s infamous Cirque called the ''Hidden Chute'' earned her first place at the fifth stop of the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour and she is now ranked fourth overall on the tour.

Janina Kuzma   Photo: Julie Weinberger Janina Kuzma Photo: Julie Weinberger

Weather moved in during the final heats and Kuzma considered altering her game plan.

“I was going to change my line but I stuck with my guns, stayed on my feet and I’m really happy,” said Janina.

Her aggressiveness was further rewarded with the contest’s Backcountry.com Sickbird Award which honours the skier who most represents the sport’s heart and soul while ''going big'’. This is one of the few times a female has won the coveted trophy.

Behind Kuzma, going home with the second place, was Angel Collinson, of Snowbird, Utah, a rookie on the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour and in third place was Crystal-Rose Lee, of Whistler, British Columbia.

As the wind whistled over the razor-sharp rock spires of Kirkwood's Cirque, skiers readied their gear and nerves for the fifth stop of the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour. This is one of the most-respected steep skiing contests in the world and the venue at Kirkwood Mountain Resort has become notorious due to its steep, technical slopes and because it is permanently closed to the public. This weekend marked the 13th consecutive year of the competition coming to Kirkwood and it was a true spectacle.

The Cirque is a 1,500-vertical-foot wall of rock which resembles some of Alaska's most aesthetic peaks. It has ski lines that get upwards of 60-degrees in slope angle which means that if you could somehow stand still on it, your extended elbow would touch the mountain.

<&rt;1/4 Photos

  • Athletes scoping their line.   Photo: Ben Meester-MSI Athletes scoping their line. Photo: Ben Meester-MSI
  • Women's Podium  Photo: Ben Meester - MSI Women's Podium Photo: Ben Meester - MSI
  • Sick Bird Winner Janina Kuzma  Photo: Ben Meester - MSI Sick Bird Winner Janina Kuzma Photo: Ben Meester - MSI
  • Sick Bird Winner Janina Kuzma  Photo: Ben Meester - MSI Sick Bird Winner Janina Kuzma Photo: Ben Meester - MSI

As the competition got going last Thursday, Kirkwood received two feet of powder. Event organizers saved the most challenging section of the Cirque for Sunday's final which guaranteed perfect conditions.

Hundreds of spectators gathered at the bottom of the natural amphitheatre which afforded awesome views of the incredible skiing taking place up above. People arrived on skis or by snow cat and there was an air of festival. Until the weather moved in at the end, it was a massive California sun picnic. Between heats, long time tour competitor Ted Davenport thrilled the crowd by ski-parasailing from the peak and sliding to a stop in the finish area.

Thousands tuned in Sunday to watch the final round of The Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships LIVE on www.freeskiingworldtour.com.

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