Collegiate Freeride, We’re In It Together

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Prying my eyes open in complete 5 a.m. darkness, stumbling across ski bags and gear tossed in duffle bags the night before, out into an empty hallway, and down the stairs to frigid winter Gunnison air.  It’s the same routine every big mountain competitor repeats for each trip, but when I round the corner the energy changes.  Half the Western State Freeride Team is already at the van, jamming skis and bags into every nook and cranny trying preserve precious legroom.  Cold and tired, collectively we’re in it together and the mood improves every time a new face comes around the corner.

Tucker Vollbrecht - Season Edit 15-16

A few hours into a twenty-something hour drive to Canada we roll into a sketchy gas station in the middle of nowhere.  The team swarms the convenience store for snacks.  Although traveling together in a small, cramped space can be grueling, it builds friendships and connections like I’ve never experienced.


Up on the mountain the camaraderie is even stronger.  The team pre-inspects the venue together,, sharing thoughts and ideas on various line choices and encouraging each other with positive vibes.  Every athlete is nervous and scared standing in the start of a comp run, but having coaches and teammates by your side is calming and reassuring.  Whether you stomp your run or crash, there’s always someone at the bottom giving out high-fives and hugs.


The freeride community is small, the stoke runs deep and everyone is friendly and supportive.  Having a team surrounding you makes it that much better.  Shared meals, victories, defeats and injuries, we’re in it together, cheering each other on with plenty of laughs, high-fives and hugs.

Overall I had a super successful and more importantly fun season!  Thanks to everyone who was a part of it!


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