Mountain Pulse: Perfect 8s in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK ” There is something intricately beautiful about a perfect “8” cut into fresh powder.
It takes a lot hard work and dedicated practice with a partner to accomplish the feat. That’s unless your name is Stacey Gerrish or Ginny Creak.
Skiing in the New England Powder-Eight Championships on Feb. 5-6, the duo clinched the title with a dominating performance. It was the first powder eight competition for both skiers.
“It’s amazing,” Gerrish said. “It was so fun.”
Powder-eight isn’t your run-of-the-mill ski competition. It’s a head-to-head battle for mountain supremacy, or something like that. Two teams go down the mountain simultaneously, zigging and zagging to create a trail of eights behind them.
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The goal for the teams is to stay in perfect rhythm with one skier leading the other. Judges determine the winner by synchronization, symmetry, roundness of turn, dynamic of turn and speed.
“It can be pretty challenging when the snow conditions change and the pitch of the hill,” Gerrish said. “When you have a team going next to you, there’s tactics involved. There’s more points awarded for roundness of turns, instead of speed, for example.”
Gerrish and Creak executed their plan in impressive fashion in Vermont. Racing in her hometown of Woodstock, Gerrish led Creak ” their usual setup ” to wins in all nine of their runs in the competition.
Although Creak and Gerrish work as a team, their roles couldn’t be more different. Gerrish is responsible for choosing the speed and line, while Creak must react to her every move.
“You can anticipate to a point, but you have to be ready for what she does as well,” Creek said.
To help hone their skills, Gerrish and Creak practice in the mornings before the lifts open to the public at Beaver Creek.
“The most important thing is start off fast, and maintain that speed through the whole run,” Gerrish said. “It definitely takes practice. We practice 2-3 mornings a week before work.”
Although, they might be considered rookies when skiing in powder-eight, Creak and Gerrish all well versed in competitive skiing. Before their first powder-eight event, they skied together for three years on the synchronized skiing team, Babes of Prey. The two also have been ski instructors at Beaver Creek for a combined 30 years.
Skiing is all fun and games, but what Gerrish and Creek are doing off the slopes is serious work. The two ski on the women’s Babes of Prey team to help raise money for local charities. The men’s team ” cleverly named Beaver Creek Men’s Ski Team ” is also in on the act.
After the two teams’ expenses are paid for, all the excess money they raise goes straight to charity. On Thursday, each team handed a $4,000 check to the Shaw Cancer Center. Last year, it was the Jimmy Huega Center which benefited.
“When we first started the Babes of Prey, a big part of it was a vehicle for women to come together and ski together,” Creak said, who originally hails from Australia. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to ski. It’s nice to give back.”
Anyone looking to make a donation to the Babes of Prey, can contact Gerrish directly at 970-754-5344.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.