Who is Tim Dutton?
For starters, he is your 2009 FWT North American Freeskiing Champion, by way of Kirkwood Friday/Saturday, but it's intriguing because he basically strolled in as an unknownthis was his first-ever compbut he didn't let that or much else get in his way.
Dutton, who hails from Squaw Valley (see press release below), showed up at Kirkwood and, since this was his first-ever comp, had to qualify first. So he went out Thursday all conservative-like, qualifiing in 17th position with a modest score of 32. This is a familiar story actually, except that on Friday Dutton came out and won the day. Score: 37.06. And Saturday, Day 2, Dutton came out again and won the day. Score: An unheard of 43.13. The combined total gave Dutton the win by more than seven points over the likes of Julien Lopez, the runnerup and Sickbird award winner.
So who is the guy? Good question. This much is clear: Right about now he's hitching his skis to his horse and riding off into the sunset or whichever way the wind blows. Or something like. To be updated...
TIM DUTTON AND SONJA LERCHER WIN THEIR FIRST FREESKIING WORLD TOUR EVENT AT THE SUBARU NORTH AMERICAN FREESKIING CHAMPIONSHIPS AT KIRKWOOD MOUNTAIN RESORT, CALIF.
• French Skier Julien Lopez wins the Backcountry.com Sickbird Award, while up and comer Becca Lefanowicz earns The North Face Young Gun award
• Thousands watch live webcast, broadcast from the remote steeps of Kirkwood, over the two days of Freeskiing World Tour competition
Kirkwood, Calif., March 21, 2009- Snowy conditions didn't stop hardy fans from attending the final day of the 2009 Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships (NAFC) at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Calif. The third stop of the 2009 Freeskiing World Tour (FWT) saw 39 athletes battle it out on the mountain's permanently closed Cirque. While blustery conditions limited the competition to a one run final instead of two, competitors still put on a spectacular show.
In the end, first-time big mountain competitor and Squaw Valley local Tim Dutton sealed the deal for the men, while Whistler's Sonja Lercher earned her first ever FWT win. French favorite Julien Lopez dropped a big technical air for the coveted Backcountry.com Sickbird award, while up and coming ripper Becca Lefanowicz from Magic Mountain, California earned The North Face Young Gun award.
The Cirque is a burly venue with a variety of untouched tight lines and huge airs. Today the venue was extra tough because snow conditions were variable and visibility was often poor. "The conditions weren't ideal," said longtime competitor Nick Greener, "but all of the competitors made the hard conditions look easy."
A total of 12 women started the competition and all of them attacked the expansive terrain. Sonja Lercher's winning run stood out immediately. A former junior racer for the German National Team, Sonja skied fall line for most of her run and then aired into Frankie's chute, one of the steepest and narrowest areas of the whole venue. "I came here two years ago for the first time, and I inspected and looked at that line, and I was pretty impressed by it," said Lercher, "but I was like, 'no it doesn't go'. Then Rachael Burks skied it, and she got third place. For two years now, that line has been lingering in my head, and I have really wanted to ski it, so today was the day."
Finishing second for the ladies with her typical fast and fluid style was Crystal Wright, who ran last for the women. Wright also skied fall line and dropped into Frankie's chute, but she skipped the air that Lercher hit, which might have been the difference between first and second. As the current Tour leader coming into Kirkwood, the Jackson Hole skier will continue to wear the yellow jersey heading into the final FWT stop in Alaska.
Rounding out the podium in third for her first ever FWT podium was Jacqui Edgerly from Aspen, who skied one of the most creative lines of the day on far looker's left. Edgerly hit two sizeable airs on the way down and definitely got points for charging in tough conditions.
Eighteen-year-old Becca Lefanowicz from Magic Mountain, California became the first woman skier this season to earn The North Face Young Gun Award--an award given to the most promising up and coming big mountain ripper. "Becca was really fast and fluid, and she picked off a lot of little hits on the way down," said head judge Jim Jack about Becca's impressive run that put her in 10th place overall.
A total of 27 men reached the final day starting in reverse order of the finish from day one. Big mountain rookie Tim Dutton, who finished first on Friday therefore ran last, sat through weather hold after weather hold as he waited for his turn. The rookie rider proved he was tough under pressure though, and he skied such a fast line with fun airs that he maintained his position at the top of the leader board. When asked how he overcame the adverse conditions, Dutton bestowed the crowd with this wisdom, "I have a good friend that says that every day is a powder day, sometimes you just have to sharpen your skis and turn up your Ipod."
Following Dutton in second was France's Julien Lopez who won the last FWT stop in Snowbird. Not only did Lopez earn his second FWT podium of the season, but he also earned the coveted Backcountry.com Sickbird award when he boosted a huge air out of Frankie's Chute. The Sickbird award is a belt buckle given to the rider who best demonstrates super-human talent and agility. "We are all here for the same reason," said the competitive Frenchman, "and that is to grab the (Freeride World Tour) title." Lopez is now well on his way. Sneaking in right behind Lopez on the podium was Squaw Valley's John Lange. Lange was one of the only riders to flash the Hanging Snow Garden section, which required two tricky airs.
The FWT tour continues on to the final stop of the tour, the Subaru Freeskiing World Championships, April 8-12, at Alyeska Resort, Alaska.