Montana flies high in Coldsmoke Freestyle Competition

Fresh flakes fall from the sky with the smell of freshly brewed coffee steaming from the Lost Trail lodge as fellow skiers and snowboarders make their way to the chairlift. A few stick out in distinct neon green and yellow vests, they have just 10 minutes to spare before the first run. 

Lost Trail, one hour and 49 minutes south of Missoula, sitting on the Idaho-Montana border, hosts the annual Coldsmoke Freestyle competition with competitors coming from all around Montana. The only requirement for riders on Saturday, Feb. 29 is they must be at least 15 years of age. What they should expect? Cliffs, powder, kickers, and tree lines according to the website. 

All they have to do is successfully land two jumps, in any style they please, with hopes of catching the eyes of the judges situated at the base of the final jump. 

Riders were not disappointed. One competitor, Max Jacobs with the Missoula freestyle team, says freestyle first caught his eye when he was young and saw a couple older kids throwing front and backflips. He eventually joined a school race team, but almost missed a race because he was busy at the terrain park. Jacobs soon switched over to freestyle competitions.

“If there were more competitions like Coldsmoke each year that’s what I’d be doing,” says Jacobs, “It’s always my favorite competition each year. It’s just a big huck fest where everybody is having fun.”

The first time Jacobs competed at Coldsmoke he described it as “crazy adrenaline.” This was also the time when he suffered a concussion doing a dub misty which is an off axis backside 540 rotation.

He’s since recovered and continues to come back every year.

Another competitor, Sarah Lucero, represents Girls on Shred, a non-profit where girls of all skill levels can come to skate or snowboard in Missoula, MT. 

“My favorite part about snowboarding is definitely the free ride part of it, the imagination to just create your own lines and paths has just always been my happy place,” says Lucero, “The feeling of it? Of flying? That’s basically how it feels, like you’re flying for a minute but dropping off rocks in the powder has been one of my all time favorite things to do the last seven years.”

Lucero said she’s not worried about being one of the few females competing, she’s worried about her music malfunctioning during her run. Listening to ‘Eats the light’ by Lotus she says music is a key component to her being successful,

“Got some headphone issues happening, could make or break this run,” says Lucero, “I’ll seriously take my glove off midrun to mess with my headphones if they go out. That’s how much I need my music.”

Despite Lucero not landing the first jump off the cliff, she got up and finished strong. Jacobs finished the second jump with a backflip resulting in a cheer from the crowd at the base of the mountain. Lucero placed third in the competition.

Lucero and Jacobs finished out the day hitting the slopes where an open, big, blue sky took over Lost Trail Mountain to conclude the 2020 Coldsmoke Freestyle Competition. 

Watch the video, "Flying for a Minute": 

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  • 7 min to read

Balancing two cardboard boxes against his knee, Yueyang Hu carefully closed the door of his truck. The boxes proved to be a cumbersome load for the 23-year-old University of Montana grad student as he joined the end of the long line at the Post Office and set the boxes on the counter. 

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