Crested Butte, Colo., Feb. 22
-- Scott Kennett, 51, of Telluride, has edged out Aaron Lypps, 42, of Crested Butte, for the U.S. Extreme Freesking Masters Division Championship.
It was Kennett’s fourth victory in this contest since the division was formed in 2001. He won in 2001 and 2002, 2007 and this year. He crashed out in 2003 and 2004 and was sidelined while recuperating from injuries in 2005 and 2006.
Kennett finished second to Lypps on the first day of competition, but had a huge run on day two when he skied the Dead End Chutes – a near vertical wall with shallow pillow drops. Kennett fluidly attacked the Dead End Chutes and stuck a landing in steep soft snow after leaping Cheeseburger Rock near the bottom. In the finals, held on the Big Hourglass and Bermuda Triangle section of CB’s steep backside, Kennett secured victory by skiing with speed and control as he launched a series of big drops.
“The terrain was in great shape thanks to the fact that Crested Butte closed it for a week before the contest,” Kennett said. “They got 10 inches of new snow on Monday and Tuesday and then we had four straight days of clear cold weather.”
For his 2007 comeback, Kennett designed a pair of 181cm skis with a 108mm waist, built by Wagner Custom in Telluride. He used that pair again in his 2008 repeat. “The skis have held up awesome and are completely reliable. I was able to go into this contest with complete confidence – it never occurred to me I wouldn’t win.”
Kennett has this advice for age-bracket athletes facing competition 10 years younger: “Stay in shape, eat right, stay hydrated, ski a ton of backcountry, and visualize victory.”