Last Saturday marked a significant victory in Ward’s career, as he skied a technical and clean line in the slopestyle event to claim the gold and a $2,000 cash purse. He then went on to garner judges’ attention in the Big Air event, ultimately taking third.
“Winning the last stop of the North Face Open I’m hoping will spring me forward into more major events,” Ward said this week. The North Face Open is a three-event series, with the last event designated as a Gold event, meaning it carries more weight for rankings.
Winning at Waterville Valley provided Ward a considerable boost, after this Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club-trained skier struggled to lay down clean runs in past Dew Tour events.
“After crashing in his first finals run on a switch 1260, Kolby laid down a super technical run consisting of switch spins in both directions, and near flawless rail features, putting himself on the top of the podium,” Association of Freeskiing Professionals head judge for the event Dan Allen told Newschoolers, the online freeskiing forum.
Ward’s winning slopestyle run consisted of a switch left side 720 Japan, a switch right side 720 mute, and a switch left side 900 mute to Japan on the course’s three consecutive jumps. On the rails, Ward threw down a left side 270 onto the "Jersey Barrier" rail, a front swap on the down bar, and finally a switch lip front side 270 onto the staircase rail – all technical tricks that scored him an 89.25, putting Ward more than two points ahead of his closest competitor.
Ward kept his momentum rolling into the evening, where he was one of 50 skiers vying for judges’ attention during the 45-minute Rail Jam, which served as the qualifier for the evening’s Big Air contest. Ward ultimately garnered one of the five coveted spots for the Big Air final, and after landing his switch 1080 under the lights Saturday night, Ward then landed on the winner’s podium for the second time that day, in third place overall.
Schooled with the likes of Telluride X Games athlete Gus Kenworthy, Ward has been competing in the freeskiing circuit since graduating from Telluride High School four years ago. He currently lives in Breckenridge where he shares a residence with Bobby Brown, two-time X Games Big Air gold medalist. He is sponsored by Scott USA.
“We just love the sport and want to push it as far as it can be pushed,” Ward said of his and fellow Telluride skier Kenworthy’s dedication to the sport, and their subsequent entry into its major events.
Ward will compete in the touted Dumont Cup in Maine in two weeks, then goes on to Whistler, Canada for the World Skiing Invitational AFP World Championship in April. He hopes to be doing some filming with Poor Boys Productions this spring.