If 19 of your closest friends jumped off a cliff, would you? If you were competing in day two of Red Bull Cold Rush, the biggest backcountry freeski contest of it’s kind, then you probably would.
Although Slopestyle was originally on the menu for the day, poor light in the contest area influenced a decision to move to the Cliffs zone. Add to that a healthy 20cm of fresh snow overnight, and big drops and pillow lines become hard to resist. The second day of action at the three-day-long freeski event had athletes taking on some of the toughest terrain they will likely face all week, deep in the backcountry behind Revelstoke Mountain Resort on a near vertical mountain face.
Only accessible by helicopter, athletes touched down to face cliff drops of almost 25m and had a chance on arrival to survey the face to scope their lines. There was little room for error on the near-vertical face as competitors were given only one officially recorded attempt that was to be evaluated on line selection (the bigger, the better), technicality and tricks.
Kye Petersen came out strong early on as the second athlete to drop in, launching a massive 360 from one of the larger cliff faces. Disappearing in a cloud of snow on his landing, he emerged on one leg after sticking the landing and sparking cheers from his fellow athletes.
So far this week, one thing has been determined; Stan Rey is an animal on skis. Only the third athlete to drop in, and with no warm-up run, he launched a lofty double backflip before leaving a crater in the snow below. “I wanted to do a backflip off the top but it wasn’t feasible. Then I saw Sean get really good pop on the second cliff so I thought… double backie”, said Rey. Even though he didn’t quite ride out of the trick, he once again took the contest up a notch, pushing fellow athletes just a little further.
One of those athletes to answer the call was Johnny Collinson. Floating a backflip early on in his run, he connected through a technical line into a huge 360 that seemed to last forever, and a little longer than he was expecting as he tried to slow his rotation midair, spreading his arms and legs before stomping the landing.
The ladies were charging with Suz Graham laying out the only front flip of the week so far, riding to the bottom with goggles full of snow and a smile from ear to ear.
With the majority of athletes skiing the middle section of the mountain, Tatum Monod went into uncharted territory, picking a steep line through a chute that sent her just a little off course. “It wasn’t quite how I anticipated the run, but it was tons of fun!”, said Tatum.
Lexi Dupont went less for speed, and more for technicality with a surgical run through a line of quick drops and tight trees.
In one of the more tense moments of the week, Leah Evans took a hair-raising tumble on her initial run that left onlookers at the base in disbelief. After collecting herself on the slope, she made her way to the bottom on her own in true warrior fashion to be greeted by hugs and support from fellow athletes and friends. Despite being a bit shaken up, Leah came through largely unscathed.
As a peer judged competition, final results of Red Bull Cold Rush will be announced in their entirety on the evening of Saturday, February 6.