Ashton: Talent seasoned by ambition

Ashton in action - Brian Nagle
Ashton in action
— image credit: Brian Nagle

Betsy Kline

Castlegar News contributor


A very talented and passionate Castlegar skier is headed to the International Free Skier Association North American Championships next week in Snowbird, Utah.  Jeff Ashton heads into the competition ranked 21st out of 307 in the 15–18 year old category of the Big Mountain Free Ride.

Jeff is a 16 year-old who is in his fourth year of the Red Mountain Freeski Academy in Rossland.

He’s been skiing since he was three years old. When he is not skiing Jeff is a competitive swimmer, swim coach, golfs on his high school team and maintains grades worthy of the honour roll.

The Big Mountain Free Ride event is a judged event  taking skiers over steep terrain, cliffs and rocks. competitors are judged on five different criteria:


1- Line Choice: Each competitor chooses his/her line or route down the course. High scores are given for choosing difficult routes. Difficulty is determined by steepness, exposure, air, snow and course conditions;

2- Control: Competitors must remain in control at all times;

3-Fluidity: continuity, pace, and smooth transitions between sections of the course;

4- Technique: Competitors are judged on style and turn quality relating to big mountain free-riding;

5- Style & energy: the pace, energy and creativity with which a competitor attacks or descends his/her chosen line or route. Style focuses on freestyle execution of maneuvers.


Jeff has already participated in seven competitions this year, travelling to White Water, Whistler, Lake Louise, Fernie, Kimberley and Golden as well as competing in the North Face Canadian Open at Red.

His current sponsors are Outdoor Tech and Stohke Productions.

Three of Jeff’s teammates,  Barclay Desjardins, Marco Santano, and Tobi Lee will also be competing in Snowbird next week.

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