The Finals of the 2017 Freeheel Life Cup went off in spectacular fashion at Grand Targhee Resort with some of the best big mountain telemark skiing to date. Both the junior finals and adult finals were held in the Bobcat area, a short distance from the previous qualifying venue. With much larger rock features and technical lines, competitors had to utilize their entire bag of skills to keep their speed, fluidity and technical skiing balanced in order to win.
Bevan Waite, from California, had one of the most impressive and aggressive lines for the adult men. With one of the biggest airs on the bottom, he doubled two smaller cliffs right in front of the judges. It was enough for him to land in 5th place and also receive the Logan Jauernigg Sick Bird Award. The top three men were new faces who brought a new game from past years, all of them showcasing crisp decision making in high consequence zones. Danny Pylman, who qualified first in the division, managed to hold onto his lead through the end to take home the win. He shared the podium with former Sick Bird Award winner Carl Heath and newcomer Elliot Minks, indicating a changing of the guard in the arena of big mountain telemark skiing.
The women’s field was stacked with talent, filled with high flying and smooth action, as they decimated the venue with big turns and bigger smiles. Longtime competitor Mackenzie Mailly returned this year and reminded everyone why she’s one of the best at choosing high scoring lines and making it look easy. And there was no shortage of competition in the category either with the Madi McKinstry, Kami Abi-Nader and Bridget Gilroy all pushing the limits of what can be done on freeheel gear.
The juniors: simply amazing. Teams from Colorado and California made up most of the deep field and it’s apparent the talent is endless and deep. These youth competitors proved they can tackle complex lines and situations in high level venues. This ground swell of growth in the youth category is sure to affect the level of telemark skiing in the coming years.