Athletes to watch during Subaru Freeride Series
By Scottie Williams Explore Big Sky Contributor
BIG SKY – The 2014 Freeride World Qualifiers – known as the Subaru Freeride Series – is coming to a close with the North American finals here on Big Sky’s own Headwaters cirque April 2-7. An invite to the 2015 Swatch Freeride World tour is on the line as well as a $6,000 cash purse. And a handful of athletes are looking to secure their leads in the rankings while others are fighting to earn enough points to remain on the qualifier tour next season.
George Rodney is one of those athletes with a large lead. Sitting in first place as of EBS press time and with two third-place finishes and a fifth-place finish, he is almost 300 points ahead of the next competitor Kyle Taylor from Bozeman. Rodney, a 6-foot-4-inch 19 year old from Tahoe has proven himself worthy of competing at the next level after a number of successful years on the junior tour.
Taylor is in second place, and even with his lead over fifth-place skier Trace Cook of Canada, he has not yet secured a spot on the 2015 World Tour season. Taylor will raise his season points total with a 10th-place finish or better on Saturday, securing that spot. Many athletes are still in the fight and if they earn a top five finish here at Big Sky, they could find themselves skiing in Europe next year.
Other top skiers to watch over the weekend:
Randy Evans: Evans is a Bozeman local and Montana State University graduate. He brings a unique big-mountain style from Crested Butte, Colo., and his near perfect ski technique combined with high-speed lines are his forte. And oh yeah, Evans prefers back flips to straight airs. Watch for this guy to go big, as he sits in fourth place and a better than 27th place finish at Big Sky will raise his point total.
Matt Evans: Matt Evans is Randy’s younger brother. The Evans brothers and Taylor took a recent trip to Europe, where Matt took fourth place at the Nendaz Freeride event in Switzerland. Matt can better his overall score with a top 20 finish at Big Sky. Look for him to go bigger than the rest of the field on some of the Headwaters’ largest airs.
Sean Richard: Sean Richard carries a Seth Morrison punk style to the tour. And he goes big like Morrison as well. Richard, of Breckenridge, Colo., won his first big mountain competition at the Crystal Mountain Freeride earlier this season.
Chance Lenay: Local snowboarder Chance Lenay is looking to prove himself on his home terrain. Coming off a second place finish at this year’s Headwaters Spring Runoff, Lenay is hungry to show the rest of the world what he can do. Look for him to ride technical lines and go big.
Galen Bridgewater: Bridgewater is another local snowboarder looking to take the top spot for the ladies. With a third-place finish at Telluride, she’s looking to leave a mark at this weekend’s competition.
Come out to Stillwater Bowl underneath Big Sky’s Headwaters this weekend to cheer on these amazing athletes. Bring out the grill and dig yourself a chair – there’s going to be a show.
Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Two Star Event
Friday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Four Star, Day 1
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Four Star Finals
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Junior Freeride Tour World Championships
Monday, weather day