Rob Cone captures another World Pro Ski Tour title as winner of the Reven Cup at Echo Mountain. Here's how it went down...
With 22 pro athletes signed up, Tour rules stipulate that qualifying rounds reduce the competition field to begin with the Round of 16. This proved to be a fierce competition - athletes like Garret Driller, a regular podium-contender - did not make the cut. Another notable result out of qualifiers was the performance by the 2020 Tito’s Rookie of the Year, Simon Breitfuss-Kammerlander, who won the Tito’s Speed Run (fastest combination of qualifiying runs) and the White Claw Speed Challenge (the single fastest run of the night).
Also making appearances in tonight’s race were AJ Ginnis, a former U.S. Ski Team athlete now racing on the World Cup circuit for Greece, River Radamus, a two-time World Junior Champion who just came off a break-through World Cup season and Luke Winters, the 2019 Slalom and Combined National Champion and member of the U.S. Ski Team. With the small but deeply talented field, it was anyone’s game on a course that required finding speed in every turn.
Round of 16
Into the Round of 16, University of Colorado racer, Max Bervy, proved again that he is a giant-slayer by eliminating Vail’s River Radamus. Bervy’s first World Pro Ski Tour race was during the 2020 season at Eldora, where he out-skiied double-Olympic gold medalist, Ted Ligety, in early rounds of the Colorado Pro Open. The other big matchup came between 2020 Tour Champion, Rob Cone, who was seeded against Luke Winters. Cone trailed Winters after the first run, but Cone was able to find speed where he needed it and advanced to the Round of 8 ahead of his younger opponent.
Round of 8
Kammerlander met Cone in the Round of 8, where the two were neck-and-neck down the course, and after two exciting runs, Cone pulled away with the victory by .16. While Bervy took down one big opponent, he was no match for Michael Ankeny, a power-skier veteran of the U.S. Ski Team, and the only skier on the Tour to have beaten Rob Cone (WPST Colorado Pro Open 2020). AJ Ginnis, who won the last WPST race he competed in (Snowmass 2018), came up against and eliminated Tour regular, Tucker Marshall after a mistake on course by Marshall caused him to start the second run with the maximum differential of .6 seconds. 3-time Olympian, Nolan Kasper, eliminated Thomas Woolson.
Cone saw Ankeny in the semi-finals, where Ankeny went down in the second run and Cone advanced after two clean trips down the course. Ginnis met Kasper and booted out in the first run, but was able to come from behind and beat Kasper at the line to advance to the finals against Cone.
Teammates Ankeny and Kasper (Team Tokyo Slalom Drift) battled it out for third and fourth places in the small final. Kasper went wild over the last jump and Ankeny proceeded into the second run with the max differential advantage. “Catch me if you can,” Ankeny called out to Kasper before the second run. Kasper was not able to make up that time on this course, earning the fourth place podium spot with Ankeny in third.
Cone and Ginnis brought all their energy to the final two runs. Ginnis skied over a gate in the first run and while the jury judged that he had not straddled, he had to proceed with the max differential which would be nearly impossible to make up against a skier like Cone. However, in the second run, Ginnis appeared to be making up time until he came off the last jump too straight and hipped-out as Cone skied away with the win. This is the sixth win out of the last seven races for Cone.
“Everyone was going down in at least one run,” said Cone. “I just tried to focus on my run – that’s what I try to do in each race.”
“I got lucky in that first run by not straddling that gate,” said Ginnis. “But with ski racing like this, you need consistency and Rob skied amazing. I’m looking to shake it off and bring it back tomorrow.”