Alaskan wins 'Young Guns' Award

21-year old Girdwood native is state's first to make it to the podium

Posted: Tuesday, March 08, 2011

KIRKWOOD, California — Girdwood’s 21-year-old Callan Chythlook-Sifsof will have some explaining to do when she catches today’s flight home to Alaska.

She’ll have to get a 40-inch steel Katana sword trophy through security. Callan won second place in The NorthFace Masters extreme competition on Saturday, the companion event to The North American Freeskiing Championships.

But the Young Gun Award will fit in the bag. The big mountain freeride competition series rewards athletes under 25 years of age who demonstrate raw talent and innovation.

Callan’s runs earned her a combined score of 85.67, just 2.66 points away from first place, but it would have been good enough to best previous series winners Laura Dewey, Shannan Yates, Rachel Sheidow and overall tour champion Maria DeBari in the international field of 31 women and 69 men. Callan is the first Alaskan to land on the podium in international freeride competition.

Competition was held on the 9,876-foot Thimble Peak, Lake Tahoe’s tallest, notable for having received the most snowfall in the world in the two weeks leading into the event. Fifteen feet of snow dumped on the area over that period of time.

Freeriding is described as skiing steep slopes in wild terrain and characterized by line choices in untracked powder, acrobatic moves and cliff drops. Competitive events started with the World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez, Alaska, in 1991, leading to the legendary King of the Hill.

The Freeride World Tour started in 2007, evolving to six events and finals at the 16th-annual Verbier Xtreme, considered to be the most prestigious. There are 30 international Freeride World Qualifiers.

The information used in this story was gathered from a Sunday press release.

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