The venue at Kirkwood is an area called the Cirque, which is permanently closed to skiers but opened for this competition. Can you describe the terrain?
It's a steep rock face that never holds snow off the top and has a few chutes off both sides of the ridge. There are lots of cliffs and powder fields.The snow was great—it had snowed just over 30 inches before it was opened for the comp. The Cirque is east facing so it gets some sun, making a bit of crust in the most exposed places.
What was your winning line?
I went down the skier’s right side of the upper ridge to the first chute. I skied down and aired a rock nose to a rocky landing. I headed for an area called Hidden Chute, a steep skiable chute. I ripped turns wall to wall, then there is a notch on the right side half way down with an even steeper chute and a fast mandatory air exit. I landed in some good snow and made turns down to a big wind lip for a big 360 over a little rock. Then, I went through a gully near the bottom to some trees to line up a final rock gap to finish my run.
You made a name for yourself as a telemarker. Are you still dropping a knee?
I tele alot. I broke my ankle just before Christmas this season and the first turns I was able to make were in my tele gear. The boot was less jarring and fit a little looser around my ankle. Now it’s a bit better and it feels better in my tightly buckled alpine boot. It’s like the best cast for it. But I will be dropping the knee forever.
You're from Vermont, but you live in Utah now. What do you miss most about the East Coast?
What I really miss the most about the East Coast is my family and friends. I do miss the small towns and my rustic home mountain, Mad River Glen, and all people who help keep it that way.
Last winter, you had a couloir in Austria named after yourself. What was that like?
It’s an honor, I was very surprised. Before I skied it I didn’t know it was a first descent. When I made it back to my Austrian friends they asked me what I wanted call it, so I said the Crossman Couloir. The couloir, which was on Loser Mountain, in Ausseerland, Austria, was very visible from another ridge we were on and it was just calling out to be skied. I could see that it went all the way and had a massive snowfield at the bottom to shut it down in. So I talked my buddy JT Robinson into hiking up the far ridge to go ski it. The top was wide and rolled over so you couldn't see over the edge. I had butterflies but I knew the chute went through. I started to ski the wide upper part—it was soft, corn skiing. The chute was like a funnel, and the snow was thick and heavy but moving slow. Half way down there was a choke that was too narrow to turn through. I pointed it and made a hard hockey stop afterward, and then sent the bottom half in a few turns.
Any more big plans for this spring after the Snowbird comp this weekend?
After the last stop on the Freeskiing World Tour, I’ll be skiing in the Wasatch mountains till late April when I will be going to Norway for a month to do mountain-bike-assisted ski touring.