Revolution Tour in Park City gives athletes a taste of the next level (w/video)
March 2, 2018
Dozens of freeskiers and snowboarders competed in the Toyota U.S. Revolution Tour at Park City Mountain Resort from Monday to Friday.
During Wednesday's snowboarding slopestyle competition, athletes went through three rail sections and over three large jumps. Participants competed for a cash prize, points toward winning the series and a chance to compete at the next level.
According to Westminster College student and competitor Lukas Caye, the competition was tight.
"It kind of took a lot to make it to finals today," he said. "A lot of people were landing a lot of good runs."
But many athletes were also decking — landing their jumps without clearing the plateau (called the knuckle) and failing to reach the safety of the downslope.
Caye said the rail sections were excellent — closely grouped, allowing a variety of technical lines — but the jumps were problematic in ways that made the course feel designed more for a skier than a snowboarder.
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"The jumps were a little bit big for the speed required to clear them," he said. "It's not that steep of a run, so if you don't make the first one, you're not going to make (jump) two because you didn't land (jump) one with enough speed to go into two and clear it. But I think it was a fun course."
The Revolution Tour's Park City stop also served as a test event for the 2019 FIS Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboard World Championships, which are set to be held at PCMR and Deer Valley Resort. Caye said, if he were to ride it again (ideally at the World Championships), he would hope for a smoother transition to the lip of the jump.
Calum Clark, chief of systems and operations for U.S. Ski and Snowboard and chairperson for the organizing committee for the 2019 World Championships, said the course was built to the length, vertical drop and approximate size jumps that will be used in 2019 World Championships.
"However," Clark wrote in an email, "we have identified some design enhancements for the World Championship course based on this year's experience."
Those enhancements included addressing the speed and lip issues that Caye mentioned.
"The designers had the chance to see how the course worked and need to make some adjustments to the design to manage the athletes speed, as well as the shape of the kickers," Clark wrote. "There are also plans on how to present the rail section of the course to help complete the design package."
Caye, seeded first, broke into the finals, but struggled on the third jump in his final run. First place went to Lyon Farrel, followed by Sean Fitszimmons in second and Dave Tetzlaff in third.
On the women's side, Jade Thurgood, of Park City Ski and Snowboard, took second overall. A big backflip off the second jump clinched her podium spot.
"I landed like at the third line," she said, describing the downslope. "It scared me so much. … I thought (the jump) was slow, but then when I opened up I was still falling so I was like, 'Oh my God, here we go.'"
Fortunately for Thurgood, she landed well, and continued to her second-place finish.
Caye said though the Revolution Tour is fun, it's also serious.
"They can get really, really competitive, especially if you are younger, because a lot of kids feel like this is their only chance to progress up into upper-tier competitions, but that's just going to make you do worse," he said. "You just have to learn to take it easy, go with the flow and have fun."
Park City was the third destination in the tour's four-stop circuit after Copper Mountain, Colorado, and Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. The tour will conclude with a weeklong stop at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California.
"After Rev. Tour, you go up to Grand Prix and Dew Tour with the big boys — the pros," Caye said.
That will entail "big competitions, big jumps, big scores and big tricks — a lot of hucking," Caye said.
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