“We snatched away the first victory for Telluride in the Powder 8 competition,” Cieciuch said on Wednesday. Cieciuch and Glanznig were able to take the championship during the two-day competition held March 1 and 2 from the 2011 national champions Jim Schanzenbaker and Andy Docken.
“We went against the defending champs in the finals and that run was intense,” Cieciuch said. “The light was flat, there was a foot of new snow, and we were going head-to-head in the race. Speed was very important and these guys pushed it, so we had to step it up a notch.”
Scoring in a powder 8 competition is based on three things. Partners must be synchronized as they ski from start to finish line, their movements made in equal time as they turn. They are judged on their dynamic skiing ability, which relates to powerful and efficient turns. The greater the dynamics, the faster and more rounded the turns are. Finally, teams are judged on the roundness of their turns in coordination with the line of decent. Good powder 8 turns look like a stack of oranges. When all of the elements are put together and put together well, teams will achieve an impressive synchronized ski run that leaves behind consistent, braided, powder 8 tracks.
With the wind howling and snow blowing on the backside of Aspen Mountain during the finals run, Cieciuch said visibility became an issue.
“When we started skiing in that much snow, I couldn’t see a thing for five or six turns,” he said. “I knew Willi’s turn length and I trusted where I thought he would be. When we popped out, we were still pretty close together. I think it turned out to be one of the closest races of any finals.”
Back in the 1990s, Cieciuch had some successes in competing in various powder 8 competitions, but his then partner moved away, and with an injury, he stopped competing for a while. Last summer he met Glanznig, the two ended up talking about the competition and Cieciuch soon realized Glanznig was a past powder 8 champion.
“He said he was looking for a partner and, sure enough, he held up his end of the bargain, and we competed together,” Cieciuch said. “This was really fun for me. After being involved in it heavily in the 90s, it finally hit me. Our names are up there on that trophy with some great skiers. It was pretty exciting.”
Other Telluride-based teams competed and finished impressively as well. Sarah Walls and Barbara Glanznig placed fifth while Vincent and Annabelle Boelema placed sixth.
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