Taos Welcomes Global Field of Athletes to Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships
4* Freeride World Qualifer event slated for February 28-March 2, 2013
An international field of more than 120 athletes is poised to descend upon Taos Ski Valley as the resort prepares to host the 9th annual Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos. New Mexico’s most important ski and snowboard event, the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships features some of the best skiers and snowboarders around the world on Taos’ famed steeps.
“We have a top notch group of competitors this year,” says Taos’ Alejandro Blake. “With the venues in great shape and new snow on the way, I’m certain that they will put on an amazing show. I can’t wait to watch it.”
Competitors to watch this year include the Chilean one-two punch of Sole Díaz Muñoz and Alvaro Zunino Montabone, both members of The North Face Freeride Team, who are poised to make a run at Taos for precious qualifying points and secure their spots on the Freeride World Tour. These two skiers are the cream of the next generation of South American freeriders and are poised to shake up North American and European dominance of the sport.
Also returning to Taos is past champion Brandon Clabaugh. The Colorado native is a dynamic, exciting skier, who has proven his ability to handle the pressure at the highest levels of competition. With his stellar record at Taos on the line, Clabaugh will be looking to defend his title and prove that his victory wasn’t a fluke.
Also returning to defend her crown is Ashley Bembenek. The skier from Crested Butte, Colorado edged out Taos local Katie Gillen for the win in 2012 and looks to end up on top again in 2013.
For the snowboarders, keep an eye on Justin Bobb. The Sante Fe, New Mexico rider finished 2nd here in 2012, and will be looking to add to his trophy case with a win at Taos in 2013.
The 2013 edition of the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos is a 4* Freeride World Qualifying (FWQ) event, one of a handful of such competitions around the globe and a key venue for athletes who are looking to gain valuable points to qualify for the Freeride World Tour (FWT).
Changes to the event this year mean that all the athletes competing at the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos will be 18 years or older, with no JR divisions at this event like in years past. In addition, a visual inspection only will debut for the event’s final venue, on Kachina Peak.
Also new for 2013 are a dedicated VIP athlete-only lounge sponsored by Red Bull, new judges and judging standards and, conditions permitting, an expanded West Basin Venue.
“We continue to refine this event, always with a focus on the athlete experience,” says Chief of Race Tom Winter. “The success of the event is based upon the athletes. We want them to have the best time in Taos as possible, and we’ll continue to improve the athlete experience as much as possible.”
For more information on the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships at Taos, please visit skitaos.org/freeride.
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