Tailgate Alaska + Flow World Freeride Championship Qualifiers 4/9/12

10 Apr, 2012

The best freeriders took to the mountain yesterday for a chance to qualify for the Flow World Freeride Championship Qualifiers in a midst of steeps, rocks, drops and powder. Instead of riding the mountains around them, everyone gathered at Bro Bowl to watch the qualifiers go down with over 20 athletes taking two runs to try to garner a place in the finals. The crowd watched along a safe zone at the base of the mountain with front row seating, beers and the best views.

Thanks to Nate from 907 snowcat, I ended up getting a ride up to the event just after it began. It allowed me to have a quiet nap in the sunshine while everyone else was shuttled up in the morning.

The terrain offered up a huge variety for riders, anything from straight powder runs to cornice drops to bands of rocks. The snow safety team was on hand and ready for avalanches during each run. Competitors were pretty good with the sluff that came down and the only major incident was Sarka’s avalanche runout.

To get an idea of how big the riders went. Here’s Flow rider Sarka Pancochova who is tiny in size but rides huge on the mountain. She dropped the cornice, triggered a slide and managed to get out of it towards the bottom. It was gnarly to watch. She made it out fine.

Gabe Smith making smooth turns down the final runout

I missed Scotty Lago’s huge method off the cornice but even the tracks he left were impressive. On his second run, he straightlined down the entire mountain. Yeah that’s nuts.

I met Micah here at Tailgate and his awesome attitude is unbeatable. We spoke of the line he was thinking but when he finally pulled it off, it was even better. He seriously dropped a 60 foot rock band that earned him a #8 finish and heli time tomorrow.

Nice huge spray on snow from a competitor

Nathalie getting in a drop towards the end of her run

Celia Miller dropping in and staying clear of the rock bands.

Yoko proved that women can ride some gnarly lines and took a new route through the sketchy rock band and rode it out like a champ. She ended up in #2 for the women qualifiers.

Midway through the runs, Marshall from GoPro took to the slopes on his skis and pulled the chute to fly over the rocks and land by the crowd. It was quite the event to see it in person.

Andy Bergin-sperry coming in from his run

Mark Carter getting air over the rocks

Probably the best non-snowboarding action was the snowmobile making it’s own run down a mountain. A guy lost control of his sled on the upper portion of a slope across from the contest and everyone watched the sled flip over and over and over down the mountain.

Mark and Micah stoked on Micah’s run

Bomb Snow Magazine getting the shot

Flow team riders Celia and Sarka have been a blast to hang out this week and both threw down on their runs.

After the contest ended, it was time to head down to basecamp and get in my run for the day through the halfpipe section from Bro Bowl. We ended up with a couple of us lapping through and riding down together. Fun to get in that final run of the day.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. April 10, 2012

    damn, that contest looks incredible!

  2. April 11, 2012

    Did you manage to take any video? These pics are crazy!

  3. April 12, 2012

    Amazing terrains! Amazing game!

  4. April 13, 2012

    Martin, yeah pretty rad to watch.

    Suzanne, nada on video but there will be footage coming out soon 🙂

    Otis, for sure

  5. gags
    April 16, 2012

    loved the shots Shay…good stuff!