Spring Fest, a marathon of activities up at Red from blues cruises to slopestyle tricks has kept everyone on their toes, even as participation in some events suffered because of such good snow.
“The season’s been fantastic,” said Red’s Mika Hakkola. “The snow’s shown up. The question now is, are we actually going to get spring skiing?”
“I think there’s too much powder up on the mountain,” Hakkola laughed, referring to the low turnout at Fat Tire slalom and the Cliff Dive race. “If it’s powder and cold, people are skiing.”
Some events had no trouble, however. Eighty people joined in the Poker Run. “It went off this year,” Hakkola said. “That’s a great and growing even Chantal [Lajoie] has done a great job with that.”
The terrain park has been swarming with acrobatic stars who took two days on the giant air bag to cushion their huge airs, and a slopestyle event to close Spring Fest on March 20 to stomp their new tricks on snow.
“The weather really played ball, sunny in the morning and soft in the afternoon,” said terrain park manager Jordan Barca about Sunday’s slopestyle. With over 50 competitors, Barca said this was the terrain park’s most successful event of the season, “with a good mix of local talent and visitors from all corners of the West Koots.”
“The calibre of riding far superceeded anything we have seen in a park comp until now,” Barca said. “Thanks to everyone for coming out and throwing down.”
The freeskiing competition on March 18 saw about 30 participants.
“It’s a way for people to jump into freesking in a fun and mildly competitive environment,” Hakkola said. “This is a friendly venue for those who have an interest in it and want to give it a try.”
Although the Fat Tire Slalom was cancelled due to too few registrants, hard-cores Pete Kimtoff, Rory Belter, and Matt Titheridge took it upon themselves to carry their bikes up and race them down all the same.
“We’d like to try it again next year,” Hakkola said.
With regards to the Cliff Dive, a long-running event that saw fewer registrations this year, Hakkola said we may be seeing “a new contingent of skiers coming out,” or suggested, “perhaps too many events are going on. It’s like a buffet — everything looks good when it’s on your plate, but then you can’t fit it all down!”
Hakkola also noted that business has been good for the hill this year, with increased skier visits, and on-slope accommodations have “seen some increased use.”
Looking back on the season, Hakkola thought the “crowning jewel was the Canadian Open [Freeski comps]” but was also really pleased by new events such as the NorAm Ski Cross, or even the recreational Ski Cross Open that attracted 80 contenders, “people from young’ns to the master’s category.”
Looking forward, he was shocked. “Just over a week left, it’s hard to believe.”