By Easton Olsen
Here in the Mountain West you never know what you’re going to get. This year has been a very wet and chilly spring, even into June. As we made our way to the Montana State Barefoot Tournament, hosted by Brian and Linda Heeney in Helena, Montana. We were greeted by several thunderstorms and downpours of rain. I was certain we were going to have some cold conditions, much like last year when the tournament was postponed for a few hours due to rain. I could not have been more wrong.
We awoke to glass water, calm air and not a cloud in the sky. The glass water is pretty much a given, but the other conditions can be hit or miss this early in the summer, so they were a welcome sight. We all hoped the conditions would stick around throughout the tournament.
It was so good to be back around the barefoot family, catching up with one another as we enjoyed breakfast. There were a few that were not able to make it, and they were surely missed. When it came time for the tournament to start, the conditions had actually improved. The laughter and encouragement at the starting dock put everybody at ease and made for an enjoyable first round. Everybody skied well and there were a few PBs thrown in for good measure.
The typical format is both rounds of slalom and trick, break for lunch, and then jump. The conditions were still so great that many were hesitant to break for lunch, thinking conditions would have to turn at some point during the day, but we stuck to the original plan and had lunch.
The conditions for jump were close to perfect. Mikey Caruso was first to fly and landed a 20.1m jump. He was followed by the legendary Doug Jordan. For a conventional jumper, Doug is known to go big and he rarely disappoints. Doug lands a 14.0m jump, followed by Brian Heeney at 9.4m.
Conditions remained stellar throughout the day. The only thing that could top it was the company. There is nothing better than being a part of this barefoot family and spending time with them on the water. Toes up.