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THE FREESKIER FEST STORY

THE FREESKIER FEST STORY
March 30, 2017 Nicole Birkhold
In Athletes, Blog

Unicorns and Strafe at Freeskier Fest 2017

Freeskier Fest is the annual ski test put on by Freeskier Magazine. For the past four years, it has been held here in our hometown of Aspen, CO. This year, however, it moved to Snowbird, UT. We decided that didn’t mean we couldn’t be a part of it and sent Whit Boucher and Sam Coffey to represent Strafe, get testers to try out next year’s gear and generally have a good time. Katrina Devore, one of our Strafe ambassadors and long-time ski tester also went along to test skis and give us a report on what went down at Freeskier Fest 2017. Here’s her story.


At the end of last year’s Freeskier Fest, I was bummed at first to find out that this year’s Freeskier Fest would be held at Snowbird, UT. For the past so many years it had been held in my hometown of Aspen, CO. It was nice that the event came to me. But then I started thinking about it… A free week-long ski trip to Utah to go test all of next year’s skis with some of my favorite people!? Sign me up! Too bad there is an entire year in between Freeskier Fests! But finally, this past March 5-11th, it was time to head to Snowbird to get weird with my other one-piece wearing mythical creature friends. And the snow gods were about to bless us!

We drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon and dropped our things at the cabin we would be staying at for the next week on the bypass road in-between Alta and Snowbird. Low and behold our quaint rustic cabin was equipped with a jacuzzi, sauna, and fireplace. My friend Kristen and I immediately hung all of our costumes for the week on the hooks on the wall of our room. Retro spandex, unicorn and dragon onesies, padded sweaters, and of course our functional Strafe Outerwear for tomorrow’s powder day.


Leaving the basement bar, we were greeted with about a foot of freshly fallen snow. Thank you, Ullr! 


We then headed down to Snowbird’s Tram Club for our welcome party. The skies were dark and the wind was blowing but there was no precipitation coming down yet. Drink tickets and pizza abounded along with hugs from friends we hadn’t seen in a while and new friends we were soon to make. Highly coveted badges, that would allow us to cut all of the lift lines, were handed out to all the testers. It was time to retire back to our cozy chalet. Leaving the basement bar, we were greeted with about a foot of freshly fallen snow. Thank you, Ullr!

The next morning we rose bright and early to the sound of bombs going off. We looked at the Snowbird website to find out that we were inter-lodged, meaning the road going up the canyon was closed and everyone already up the canyon was to stay inside. This is cool if you are among the lucky ones to already be up the canyon. Not so lucky for the people stopped in traffic at the base of the canyon. That morning it was nice to be one of the lucky ones! We drank coffee and leisurely got our things together so that we would be ready to go when the inter-lodge was lifted. Around 9 am we got the green light and headed down to a yurt at the base of Gadzoom which would be the Freeskier Fest headquarters for the next week. There would be no time wasted! We all logged into our tester accounts, grabbed a pair of powder skis, and got to work! And by “got to work”, I mean hit the slopes to get some snow in our faces. And that we did!! Freeskier Fest was off to a good start.

The rest of the week would offer mixed conditions which was perfect for testing skis. We had some powder, some chopped up powder, some firmer conditions, and some sunny spring skiing! We tested skis from bell to bell to the bumping beats of DJ Hot Dogg, and when the lifts stopped spinning, beers were cracked and evening shenanigans commenced. A few catered dinners at the Cliff Lodge, tester house parties, pool parties, piñatas. I was somehow chosen to be the first one to have a go at the piñata filled with shooters and candy. I pulled my Phunkshun buff up over my eyes while Damian Quigley of Freeskier spun me around. They don’t call me hurricane Katrina for nothing! I took the ski pole sword that was in my hand and decapitated that piñata with one fell swoop. Sorry I’m not sorry to anyone else who might have wanted to play!


Scotty VerMerris of Icelantic Skis was in the hot tub in his Strafe Outerwear Sickbird Suit. He was really putting it to the test. I thought that that might have been a mistake but the next morning Scotty told me that his Sickbed Suit was good as new. I should have never doubted the waterproofness and durability of Strafe Outerwear. It was hot tub proof!


I don’t think that Snowbird or Utah was ready for us! We weren’t in Aspen anymore. One afternoon after skiing we had a pool party at the 3rd floor of the Cliff Lodge. I arrived on the scene in my blow up floaty stingray toy and captains hat. Things had already escalated. Scotty VerMerris of Icelantic Skis was in the hot tub in his Strafe Outerwear Sickbird Suit. He was really putting it to the test. I thought that that might have been a mistake but the next morning Scotty told me that his Sickbed Suit was good as new. I should have never doubted the waterproofness and durability of Strafe Outerwear. It was hot tub proof! Moments later, beers were being shotgunned, someone was upside down twerking against the wall (not mentioning names), and people were cannonballing into the hot tub. For some reason, the Cliff Lodge didn’t love this. Doubt it could have been because of all the families around or the fact that we were in Utah. Oops. A Snowbird employee came rushing over saying “this is not acceptable. This is a family resort. Anyone not staying at the hotel has to go.” Damian smoothed it over by saying that most of us were staying at the hotel and that we would tone it down. The employee was not impressed but allowed us to keep hot tubbing as long as we brought it down like 10 notches. We brought it down about 5 and continued on!

The week was magical! Especially the day we wore our unicorn and dragon one pieces and did #spreadysfordaboys all day long and rocked out to sweet jams from my Jammy Pack. Oh yeah, and then there was the day before that when it was International Women’s day! Dressed in retro one pieces that made our butts look great, we dance partied all over party mountain! We even got down with the Strafe mannequins that were hanging tough at the yurt. I was surprised at what good dancers they were! Must have been the Strafe Outerwear or maybe it was DJ Hot Dogg on the turn tables. Probably a little bit of both.


Strafe Outerwear, home grown in Aspen, CO, makes lightweight, durable, functional, and fashionable outerwear. It was awesome to hear all the positive feedback and reviews from testers!


We tested a lot of quality skis made by many different companies throughout the week. It was nice by the end of the week to still be so stoked to ski on Faction! Strafe Outerwear was in the house, I mean yurt, all week as well getting testers in next year’s outerwear. Strafe Outerwear, home grown in Aspen, CO, makes lightweight, durable, functional, and fashionable outerwear. It was awesome to hear all the positive feedback and reviews from testers! I mean its hot tub proof after all! What more could you ask for!? I have been skiing in Strafe since the beginning and couldn’t be happier to represent such a progressive, innovative, quality company! Strafe rules! Nuff said!

Freeskier Fest rules!! I hung out with a bunch of awesome rippers, made some new friends, laughed a lot, skied a lot, tested a lot of great skis, and had myself a really really really good time! I already can’t wait for next year!

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