Chillfactor | Watkin McLennan
What a weekend at Mt Buller. Friday’s 140km/hr winds and mild temperatures transformed into snow and the biggest falls at Mt Buller for the season. We had over 80 competitors on Saturday afternoon, their spirits already primed by 10cm of snow overnight and the Bull Run Bowl madness of the morning shift.
When midday struck, those 80 competitors and more spectators descended on Wood Run for the skiers’ brief. For me the brief is less about telling people what to do but more about setting the scene, setting the mood so that the skiers can figure it out as they go.
Shai Ashkanazy who won Mrs Energetic for the third time in a row teaching Peter Vanderzee how to shred Wood Run. Image:: Harro Photo
The event is ‘free’ by design. Few rules and a laissez faire judging structure aims to encourage self-expression and an inclusive community spirit. This year we introduced a new prize – The Synchronic Prize for Synchronised skiing. The Fairies, as they have been passionately dubbed, were in synch from the moment they left their ski lodge. Their matching outfits were beautifully planned and their skiing was graceful as they devised a new way to ski at FreeBOM – holding hands as they traversed the moguls side by side.
Joey Corcoran showing true spirit on his way to wining the 2016 Spiritual Leader Image:: Harro
Later on, we witnessed a backflip from Mt Buller Mayor, Christian Sirianni, who later won the Winkipop award for Best Air. It sent the crowd wild and set off a chain of back flips, front flips and variations on the inverted theme by the Rodden brothers who inspired the crowd with their fresh take on skiing bumps.
The party run is a special time for all ages and abilities to share a few turns, not to mention the contagious energy it produces. Image:: Robbie Warden
However, there were two standout performances on Saturday. Both these fantastic skiers battled out for the Spiritual Leader Award and their name on the newly instated perpetual trophy made of Mt Stirling Snow Gum and the fine craftsmanship of Ashley Perrin. Lisa McComb and Joey Corcoran both showed incredible spirit as they powered through the bumps, energised the crowd and guided the younger competitors in this most ‘free’ competition format.
Joey wore a finely coordinated Melbourne football club inspired outfit and blazed the bumps with passion and grace. The judges celebrated Joey’s performance unanimously and he was given the prestigious award. Besides the trophy, Joey also won a week for two in Myoko, Japan courtesy of Liquid Snow tours.
Watkin introducing FreeBOM 2016 at the skiers meeting with Guest of Honour, Kirstie Marshall, Reggae and DJ Eddy.
Lisa, who so closely competed against Joey for the top prize won the Kirstie Marshall award for best female performance and had the privilege of receiving the award from Kirstie in person, who came up to take part in the event.
PowderBOM turned into ColdBOM so the crowd moved to Tirol for the official Après session. Salvador and Len Leise played hypnotic tunes as the sunset and the blizzard darkened. It was a magical day that exaggerated all the best things about a day skiing at Buller.
Reggae and Eddy lapped up the bottom of course vibes all afternoon. Image:: Warden
Chillfactor Editor, Reggae Ellis had this to say: “FreeBom is the perfect event for Chillfactor to be involved in as it represents what the magazine is about – celebrating skiing, its culture and having fun.”
A big thank you to all the people that helped to make the event possible including Robbie Warden, Ella Risby, Rhylla Morgan, Andrew Pattison and the judging panel, Nick Reeves and the Mt Buller friends, family and fellow skiers.
Also, big thanks to our sponsors: The North Face, Oyuki, Mount Buller, Liquid Snow Tours & Chillfactor Magazine
Jock Gunn (Spiritual Leader 2014) presenting James Philips (Spiritual Leader 2015) with the perpetual trophy at the start of the event. Later at Tirol Phillips presented the trophy to Joey Corcoran – Spiritual Leader 2016. Image:: Warden
|FreeBOM award||Spiritual Leader Award||Joey Corcoran|
|Kirstie Marshall award||Best Female||Lisa McComb|
|Nick Cleaver award||Best Male||Alex Eisner|
|Pigmy Possum Male||Best under 12||James Jackson|
|Pigmy Possum Female||Best under 12||Lucy Butler|
|Future Focused Male||Best under 18||Ben Ashkanasy|
|Future Focused Female||Best under 18||Mia Kollveris|
|Mr Energetic||Best over 40||Brad Cooper|
|Mrs Energetic||Best over 40||Shai Ashkanazy|
|Family Run||Best family performance||Fin and Roy Cushun|
|Winkipop||Best Air||Christian Sirriani|
|The Client Liaison award||Best Dressed||Morgan Ryan|
|Synchronic Award||Best Synchronized Skiing||The Fairies|