The inaugural Huck Cup held at Sierra-at-Tahoe, an IFSA Free World Qualifier event

Huck Cup 2016, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Huck Cup 2016, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

On a bluebird Saturday morning just south of Lake Tahoe, more than 50 top freeride skiers and snowboarders from around the world gathered in Huckleberry Canyon at Sierra-at-Tahoe to compete in the first Sierra-at-Tahoe Huck Cup.

Men's skiing at The Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Men’s skiing at The Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The 2 star International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association (IFSA)/Free World Qualifier (FWQ) had the top-tier athletes pulling out their best tricks at the two-day event held February 26-27. The top finishers earned qualifying points for the Freeride World Tour and shared $5000 in prize money.

Men's skiing finals at Huckleberry Canyon, Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Men’s skiing finals at Huckleberry Canyon, Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Freeride World Tour consists of a series of skiing and snowboarding events where freeride athletes compete on natural, rugged terrain at legendary freeride venues in Europe, North America, South America and Oceania.

Men's snowboarding, Huck Cup atSierra at Tahoe
Men’s snowboarding, Huck Cup at Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Held in what was formerly an out-of-bounds area, Huckelberry Canyon is now 320 acres of steep and deep inbounds terrain with chutes, glades, boulders and precipitous drops accessed via five gates at the summit of Sierra-at-Tahoe.

Men's snowboarding, Huck Cup at Sierra at Tahoe
Men’s snowboarding, Huck Cup at Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

How tough is it? Standing on the ridge looking down at the massive rocks jutting out from the snow will get your heart pounding. Heading over its steep edge in a plummeting descent, navigating spines, flying over cliffs and tackling the canyon’s rugged curves – calling it intense is an understatement; insane is probably more accurate. It’s definitely something straight out of an extreme skiing flick and it puts the expert in expert terrain.

Jordan Nield, Snowboard competition at Huckleberry Canyon, Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Jordan Nield, Snowboard competition at Huckleberry Canyon, Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

During the inspection period before the competition began, riders tossed snowballs over the edge looking for a line and could be overheard discussing their strategies for attack with a combination a subdued nervousness and excitement.

Tossing snowballs, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Tossing snowballs, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The women snowboarders and skiers kicked off the day, followed by the men in both categories.

Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe's Huckleberry Canyon, Lake Tahoe
Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe’s Huckleberry Canyon, Lake Tahoe
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The riders brought their best big mountain riding skills, with thrills, spills and some highly-creative approaches to tackling the snow-covered rock face.

Jordan Nield, Finals, Men's snowboarding, Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Jordan Nield, Finals, Men’s snowboarding, Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Throughout the day, spectators took in the action from points around the canyon ridge and on the rooftop deck at the 360° Smokehouse, cheering on the riders under the warm, early-spring skies.

Spectators at Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Spectators at Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Huck Cup, Men's Skiing at Huckleberry Canyon, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Huck Cup, Men’s Skiing at Huckleberry Canyon, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Huck Cup at Sierra-At-Tahoe final results

Women – Snowboard

  1. Brithany Thompson, Resort: Kirkwood
  2. Abigail Penfold, Resort: Whiteface
  3. Holly Enderle

Women – Ski

  1. Kelsey Hyche, Resort: Alpine Meadows
  2. Lindsay Nagle
  3. Savannah Amos, Resort: Sierra-at-Tahoe

Men – Snowboard

  1. Morgan Hebert
  2. Dave Brumm, Resort: Squaw Valley
  3. Aspen Weaver, Resort: Sierra-at-Tahoe
  4. Mika Kuntz-Hight
  5. David Brown
  6. Sam Wallace, Resort: Alpine Meadows

Men – Ski

  1. Eric Bryant, Resort: Squaw Valley
  2. Taylor Pratt, Resort: Alta
  3. Seth Klein, Resort: Alta
  4. Colby Albino, Resort: Sierra-at-Tahoe
  5. Skyler Smith, Resort: Kirkwood
  6. Dylan Hagan

Huck Cup at Sierra-At-Tahoe photos

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Greg Hull at Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Greg Hull at Huck Cup, Sierra at Tahoe
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Kim Hull, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Kim Hull, Sierra at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

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