By Krissy Mallette
Check out the photo gallery here
Everyone in Mount Snow must have felt the same warm, fuzzy feeling inside, after peering out the window Friday morning to a crisp, clear, bluebird sky paired with eight inches of fresh sparkling snow on the ground.
Fans and athletes alike were able to enjoy early runs on the mountain while the competitions ran. We met Jan Teurlinckx and Mike Redmond from Westchester, New York, on the Junkyard lift. Between catching bits and pieces of the prelims between their runs, the two said they're looking forward to seeing Danny Davis defend his title this Sunday at the Men's Superpipe Final. They weren't alone: crowds of spectators gathered at the base to check out the comp and the day's festivities after a solid morning of powder runs.
Festival Village was crowded. Our Toyota Shuttle driver, Jason, who works full-time as a Toyota test driver noted, "It's amazing how many people have come up today compared to Thursday. It's like a different town". We caught Chanelle Sladics signing an impromptu autograph in the Toyota Tent after she stopped in for a quick drink of Mountain Dew. Really. Tyler Flanagan was being interviewed by Keir Dillon for Fuel TV as fans crowd around the barricades to catch the excitement of the lights and cameras. Jamie Anderson signed autographs in the Verizon tent as fans lined out the door. Her smile was contagious and she seemed as interested in the crowd as they were in her.
Outside the tent, hundreds of fans gathered around the base of the Slopestyle course to check out Freeski Final as TV cameras on mechanical arms moved over the crowd to capture the event for the millions of viewers who will tune in at home. The jumbotron made it easy to see every trick up close, inspiring ooo's and ahhh's from the crowd.
Andreas Wiig, Elena Hight, and Simon Dumont signed autographs at a formal autograph signing in the Toyota Out of Bounds tent at the end of the day. The schedule announced the signing would last only one hour, but when the line from the Toyota Out of Bounds tent stretched across Festival Village to the Slopestyle course, it was clear these guys were going to be signing autographs 'til the sun went down. At least 200 kids were in line with everything from hats and goggles to skis and snowboards, excited to walk away with the gear signed by their heroes. As it was happening, it became clear that it wasn’t just the fans who were into it: all three athletes were smiling and laughing with each fan, posing for photo after photo until the very last fan standing.
When the competition was over with and everyone had all the autographs they were looking for (not hard to come by when all your favorite athletes are hanging out in the same lodge you're sipping hot cocoa in), the crowd gravitated to the outdoor stage to get a good spot for the Alli After Dark concert featuring The Flobots, with opening Act, Dirty Heads. Folks from Grenade gloves were passing out free gloves to those in the crowd with the "ugliest gloves". Pairs were gifted to a lady with two mismatched cotton gloves and to another guy who forgot his gloves at home.
We caught the lead vocalist of Flobots after the show at the Alli After Dark party at The Snow Barn and the first thing he mentioned was the cold. Great set, btw.
A few hours later, there was a line out the door to get into the Alli After Dark Party at the Snow Barn. Once inside, we were greeted by a lively dance floor and Alli videos screening on a massive screen over the DJ table. The crowd was made up of a mix of pros like Freeski Slopestyle winner JF Houle, celebrating his first place win earlier that day. We caught snowboarders who didn't quite make it past prelims today, out to shake it off and gear up for a weekend of chilling out and snowboarding with their friends. The place was flooded with industry insiders like Reily Proctor who constructs all Dew Tour courses (Summer and Winter), "Tommy" a Canadian Oakley Rep, and even part-owner of High Cascade Snowboard Camp, Preston Strout. We got the chance to catch the Grenade guys celebrating The Dingo's birthday, Tom Wallisch making trouble rapping freestyle to the Alli Camera crew, and the Flobots dancing with the crowd. Just like the night before, it was cool to see fans that had traveled from out of town partying with their favorite pros and the people that made the event happen. One of those fans, Aiden Walsh from Long Island was peering over the balcony to the dance floor below with a huge smile on his face, "this is the coolest thing to ever come through Mount Snow. This is awesome".
We'll swap that compliment with a big fat "thank you."