Photo by John F. Russell
Freeskier Tony Gallina rides the rail during the Jeep Terrain Park Challenge on Headwall Friday evening. Top freeskiers and snowboarders tested their skills during the event hosted by the Steamboat Ski Area.
Updated December 30, 2006 at 9:57 a.m.
Steamboat Springs David Lamb always had success on skis.
But competing in his first freeskiing event at Friday's Jeep Terrain Park Challenge at the base of Headwall, Lamb even surprised himself.
"I was just back for the holidays and I knew (organizer) Sara (Ferris) and her family and she told me about it," said Lamb, a 2000 graduate of the Lowell Whiteman School. "I thought, 'why not try it out.' (Friday) it all came together."
Lamb, who used to ski on the national team and helped the University of Denver to two Division I national championships, put together a near flawless final run to outlast Tony Galine in the finals.
"I had the right mindset," Lamb said. "I am coming into a full evolution into this type of skiing."
The Jeep Terrain Park Challenge featured more than 25 skiers and snowboarders competing for a birth in one of six Regional Qualifiers, the closest of which will be held Feb. 24 at Monarch Mountain.
The top two male and female skiers and snowboarders at Friday's event win spots at the regional qualifiers.
The challenge series invites participants from over 75 similar qualifying events at ski areas nationwide. The field is whittled down to 24 qualifiers for the series' national championship, March 10 in Snow Bowl, Calif.
On the women's side, the snowboarding part of the competition featured some of the best action of the night.
Once the finals hit, it came down to 2006 Olympic snowboardcross silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis and Steamboat Mavericks Freerider Izzie Lalive.
Lalive put together a crisp run and Jacobellis couldn't quite match her.
Lalive admitted that before the event she was nervous - especially about one gap jump to a down-rail landing.
"I'm not going to lie, this second feature with the gap I was a little skeptical about," Lalive said. "I haven't hit a gap in a few years but the first time I hit it, it was magical."
In other action, Gina Gmeiner (first) and Jenny Lee (second) both qualified for the regional event in women's freeskiing.
In the men's snowboarding Steamboat Mavericks competitor Davis Johnson finished first and Danny Barkley finished second.
"It was a great turnout and I'm excited about that," Ferris said. "There's so much interest in this event that if I could, I'd put 150 people in it."
Ferris said Steamboat will host a second Jeep Terrain Park Challenge event Feb. 16. Participant entry fees benefit the Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Visit www.jeeptpc.com for more details.