Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Big Air: 13 compete in classic


Sixth-grader Marirose Evenden soared to victory Sunday as the only female competitor and winner of the beginner category at the 19th Annual Olen Nash Memorial Big Air Contest.

This year’s event took place on “Old Faithful,” a peak near 26 Mile Haines Highway, after poor snow conditions forced the competition to relocate from its traditional spot of Three Guardsmen Mountain in British Columbia.

Evenden dominated the beginners’ competition this year, placing first ahead of Koa Doddridge, second place, and Carver Culbeck, third.

Event coordinator Luck Dunbar praised Evenden’s performance. “She was just going and landing it. She was going for big air,” Dunbar said.

Evenden, who tied for third place in the beginner category last year, said she “just went for it” this year. “I wasn’t as scared,” she said of taking on the four-foot jump constructed by the skiers and snowboarders in the beginner category.

The annual event for skiers and snowboarders has become a tribute to its founder, Olen Nash of Haines, who died in a 1999 commercial fishing accident.

Dunbar said snowboarder Aaron Nash, who took first in the advanced category, also wowed the crowd with his “huge laid-out backflips.”

“He would climb higher than anybody,” Dunbar said. “He’s got a way of gathering inertia. He’s like some kind of scientific marvel out there.”

In the advanced category, Garrett Kroschel snagged second place and Darren Shields took third. The intermediate level only had two participants, with Kayden Doddridge taking first and Dawson Evenden second.

The competition brought out 13 competitors and about 35 onlookers, Dunbar said. “Everybody was really stoked with it this year,” he said. “The sun broke out right before the (competition).”

Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures donated its snowcat for the day and hauled participants without snow machines up the mountain.

Judges scored competitors on style, landing and air on three out of four jumps. Nick Trimble, Shawn McNamara and Shaun Williams served as judges this year.