Editor’s note: Myers resident Casey Lucas, a Union Mine alumnus and former Lady Diamondback rider, is leaving her mark as a professional snowboarder on the various circuits she competes in. She’s won both stops of the Daron Rahlve’s Banzai Tour and was second at last week’s Northface Master’s race at Squaw Valley, part of the Freeride World Qualifier sysytem. Today she’ll compete at her home mountain, Kirkwood, in the Freeride World Tour and this weekend back at Squaw for the third Banzai competition. Lucas recently sat down for a Q & A with the Tahoe Daily Tribune after her first Banzai victory, the story which appears below.
MYERS — From hair-raising World Tour drops to icy Banzai battles, Kirkwood rider Casey Lucas is tearing up the freeride snowboard scene this season.
The Kirkwood rider is fresh off a win at the first Rahlves’ Banzai backcountry race, and already has two fourth-place finishes on the Freeride World Tour.
And she’s just getting warmed up.
“We all worked hard to be on this tour, and each one of us is fully capable of winning an event,” Lucas said.
So far the podium has barely eluded Lucas on the World Tour, but she’s climbed the first-place pillar plenty of times on the Banzai Tour.
Lucas won the Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl Banzai stops last year, as well as the overall Banzai women’s snowboard final. She is already off to a good start this year with her Kirkwood win.
Lucas shared her account of life on the edge, literally, with the Tribune.
TT: “First off, what were the conditions like at last weekend’s Banzai race without any new snow?”
CL: “The Kirkwood Banzai conditions were pretty difficult. Thankfully the snow high on the mountain was pretty edgeable, but when you got down low in the gully it became a sheet of ice.”
TT: “How did you pull out the win in the finals?”
CL: “On the final run I had a better drop in than all the other heats. I still dropped in last, but had much more control. I paced the first girl at the first gate and then paced the second at the third gate. I had a long ways to catch Marissa E. Krawczak, who was in the lead. I was gaining on her, so I knew I had a chance. I hit a few turns pretty well but she was still ahead and we were getting really close to the finish. I made it up right on her tail and I think hearing my board behind her made her throw too aggressive of a turn and she washed out on the ice. I committed to the pass and rode smooth all the way to the finish.”
TT: “What was the scariest moment out there?”
CL: “The scariest moment was when Marissa, who finished in second, fell right in front of me. I had to stay light on my feet in order to not run her head over. You never want to hurt the other athletes in these boarder x-style races, but it’s some times unavoidable.”
TT: “How did it feel to get gold at home?”
CL: “It was so great having so many of my friends from home cheering me on. Whether you win or loose, having your friends by your side is what life is all about.”
TT: “How does the Freeride Wold Tour fit into all of that?”
CL: “The Freeride World Tour embodies our passion, not only for sliding on snow, but really connecting with other people who walk a similar path. Going to some of the most breathtaking places and riding these amazing venues is an honor.”
TT: “Can you tell us about your first stop on the Freeride World Tour in Revelstoke BC?”
CL: “Well, it was by far the biggest and steepest face I have ever been on. I ignored any thoughts other than … keep moving. You love this. Stay light on your feet. We all know that if you fall there is a good chance you’re going for a 1,000-foot-plus ride over hard snow and rock. Falling up top wasn’t an option.
We had a week of powder up until the day of the event, but because the Mac Daddy face was so steep all the fresh snow up top had slid. We were left with a firm, but edge-able bed surface. We found powder at the lower 500 feet, which was sincerely appreciated.”
When I got to the finish I was elated. It was an amazing feeling to have ridden that face. It was an added bonus to have a helicopter take me back to the top, to enjoy watching the remaining athletes.”
TT: “How did it feel to come out in fourth among the best in the world?”
CL: “Placing fourth in a world event is huge to me. The other competitors are all amazing riders. I do know that I can perform much better, and riding the Mac Daddy face gave me some much needed confidence going into the next events.”
Follow Lucas at caseylucas.blogspot.com.