By Steve Medcroft
Over Labor Day weekend, Portland-based Mountain Cycle sponsored the first-ever women’s freeride competition; the Slope Sistair Invitational in Hemlock Valley Resort, B.C., 100 kilometers east of Vancouver. Founded by freerider Stephanie Nychka, the all-female field was awarded points during competition runs for flow, style, air and tricks on a short downhill course near Whistler.
After two qualifying runs on Saturday, five finalists competed in two sets of two runs -- one set Sunday morning, the other Sunday afternoon – on a rain-soaked course that featured pink flamingoes, car jumps, gap jumps, and a curved wall. At the end of the day, Marcie Shatula of North Vancouver came out on top and walked away with a brand new Mountain Cycle Sin frame and a $1000 check.
“This event could not have gone better,” Shatula said after the awards ceremony. “Especially considering it was the first one ever!”
“We all had such a great time… it was just amazing,” said founder and 3rd place finisher Nychka.
Minneapolis-based Nychka created Slope Sistair as a venue for women freeriders to showcase their talent after she spent the summer riding in Whistler. Friends with Mountain Cycle-sponsored rider Kevin Landry, Nychka took the idea the Portland-based frame manufacturer. “We met Stephanie at Crankworks,” says Mountain Cycle’s Rob Linberg. “We were impressed with her riding and her passion for freeride.” Linberg says his company jumped at the chance to become the event’s inaugural sponsor.
Linberg says that he expects there will be a 2006 Slope Sistair with hopefully an expanded field. “It was a great event and a good way to advance the sport. Everyone wants to do it again next year.”