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  Comments (0) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
 
Smokin’ Aces
Statewide freestyle ski tour comes to Big Mountain at the hands of Whitefish native
Smokin’ Aces director Billy Marcial of Whitefish gets inverted during the 2013 New Year’s Eve Rail Jam at Whitefish Mountain Resort. - Craig Moore | GlacierWorld.com
Billy Marcial started competing in freestyle skiing when he was 11-years-old, winning halfpipe and slopestyle events across the country.

A first team All-American freestyle skier at the College of Idaho outside Boise, the Whitefish native has fond memories of competing in the circuit, but noticed that fewer events were taking place at Montana ski resorts, forcing a clutch of local talent to travel.

With the 2014 Smokin’ Aces Tour, Marcial hopes to reintroduce competitive freestyle skiing and snowboarding to the Treasure State.

“Through my experience, Montana has some amazing skiers growing up and living here. Some have even gone on to have very successful competitive freestyle skiing careers, most recently Maggie Voisin,” he said, referring the 15-year-old freeski phenom who was recently tabbed to compete in the winter Olympics and won a silver medal at the X Games. “But for them to compete at a higher level in a tour format they had to travel out of state. This tour is a starting point towards bringing back the competitive following within the state, while bringing together the best riders from different resorts competing against themselves.”

The tour will make four stops across Montana and will debut Feb. 1 on Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort before skipping around the state and, on March 22, culminating in a championship on Big Mountain.

Preregistration is available online at www.smokingacesclubs.eventbrite.com. The cost is $30 for all amateur divisions and $35 for the Open Division. Day-of registration is also available between 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

All amateurs will compete for prizes from the event’s sponsors, while the open division will vie for a $300 cash purse. The divisions are: 12 and Under Ski/Snowboard; 13-16 Ski/Snowboard; 17-20 Ski/Snowboard; 21 and Over Ski/ Snowboard; and Open Ski/Snowboard
Competitors will also compete for bragging rights as the 2014 Smokin’ Aces Tour Championship.  

Each competitor will acquire points based off of their finishes and the rider in each division who acquires the most points after the culmination of the tour championship event on March 22 will be crowned Tour Champion.

“These riders will be rewarded handsomely,” Marcial said, which he hopes will provide locals with incentive to travel to competitions away from their home resort.

“As a kid I remember traveling with my family to ski competitions, and these memories are ones that will last for ever,” Marcial said.

“The whole crew behind the 2014 Smokin’ Aces Tour is striving to make this tour a lasting and premier event across Montana. Who knows we could very well have the next Montana Olympians out there waiting to compete in their first tour,” he said.

Marcial came up with the idea for the event last spring while kicking around ideas with friends Zak Anderson and Will MacDonald, of Montana Ski Company, which is presenting and organizing the event.

Billy Marcial at a terrain event. - Green Kat Photography


“After some collaboration we came to the idea that a tour would benefit a greater cause than we initially thought,” he said.

“We wanted to make it a tour that represented all the different major locations across the state, while making the locations cover an appropriate regional area,” he said.

Because Montana Ski Company is based out of Whitefish, the organizers wanted Whitefish Mountain Resort to host the first event as well as the tour championships.  

They also wanted to hold a competition at a resort with one of the best terrain parks in the state, Marysville’s Great Divide, where Whitefish native Billy Biolo manages the terrain park, while also paying a visit to Big Sky Resort.

“These locations bring together the best regional selections for riders to come together to compete,” he said. “With careful work and amazing amounts of flexibility from the different ski resorts we were able to select dates that would minimize competitive overlap.”

To make each event stand as its own singular event, the organizers named each competition after a suit of cards, hence the 2014 Smokin’ Aces Tour.

Follow the Smokin’ Aces tour on Facebook for event and tour updates .

Sponsors are: American Bank, Whitefish Therapy, Glacier Restaurant Group, Eider Clothing, Local Lifestyle Clothing, EZ Air Academy, The Craggy Range Bar and Grill, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Big Sky Resort, Great Divide Ski Area, Glacier World Photography, Great Northern Brewery.
 
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