Highland has long served as a training ground for both new and seasoned athletes. This year, we’re building on our history of hosting slope events like the Claymore Challenge and the 2019 US Open of Slopestyle by bringing a new opportunity for competition to a fresh generation of riders: the 2021 Freebird Slopestyle Series. This three-part series offers three FMB Bronze events to riders in both men’s and women’s categories. (Highland is also offering a third category for riders aged 14 and under.)

The first stop in the series took place on Saturday, June 19. Competition opened with the Under 14 age class, with a small but mighty crew of four battling it out. 14-year-old Dareck Graham secured the top spot after a rowdy run marked by an impressive tire grab. He was joined on the podium by Simon Miller (2nd) and Hayes Livernois (3rd). Despite being too young to be considered for FMB standings, this new generation is already proving that by the time it’s their turn they’ll be more than ready for the spotlight.

Dareck Graham


1      Dareck Graham      90
2      Simon Miller          82
3      Hayes Livernois    80
4      Max Abrams          78

Dareck Graham ready to rumble.

Hayes Livernois (3rd), Dareck Graham (1st), Simon Miller (2nd)


Speaking of their turn: this event marked the first time that Highland has offered a women’s category in a slopestyle event, and our first group of competitors showed that we were well overdue. 

Amelia Capuano

Newcomer Amelia Capuano surprised the crowd by throwing down a run peppered with tricks (including a no-hander off of Freebird) less than a week after her first introduction to the slope course. Building off a strong cross country background, a few days spent riding with the other women at Highland provided enough encouragement to take on a new challenge and ultimately earned her the top Slopestyle spot. Not a story you hear often!

Brooke Trine of Ohio took second, laying down two impressive runs with a final score of 85 points. An under-rotated backflip off of Freebird ended Brooke’s second run with a broken wrist, but the other ladies didn’t let her podium spot go unrecognized: an enthusiastic “Yeah Brooke!” t-shirt served as a placeholder while she got patched up. 

Highland locals Tania Lillak and KaJay Rooke took third and fourth, respectively.

Brooke Trine


1       Amelia Capuano     89
2      Brooke Trine           85
3      Tania Lillak             67
4      KaJay Rooke          55

“Yeah Brooke!” – Tania Lillak (3rd), Amelia Capuano (1st), KaJay Rooke (4th)


Kaidan Ingersoll

Then it was on to the Men’s Open class, where Kaidan Ingersoll and Christian Arehart went head to head for the top spot. Both up-and-coming athletes well on their way to wider recognition, these two young riders floated through the course like they owned the place. Kaidan ultimately eked out the top spot at 89 points with a backflip can, while Christian’s front flip tuck no hander earned him a very close second with 88 points.

Christian Arehart

Third place was secured by Chad “Steak” DeLuca, well-known around Highland for his years on the ground as one of the mountain’s OG coaches. (A not insignificant percentage of the other competitors had been coached by Chad in the past.) His final superman over Freebird was something to behold, leaving him with a final score of 81 points.

James Angiulo

Locals Kevin Sweeney and James Angiulo rounded out the top five in a field of fourteen competitors. Dustin Iverson, Travis Morris, Mike Kent, Peter Spang, and Liam Nichols all also claimed a spot in the top ten. 


1       Kaidan Ingersoll       89
2      Christian Arehart     88
3      Chad DeLuca            81
4      Kevin Sweeney        75
5      James Angiulo         71
6     Dustin Iverson         66
7      Travis Morris          65
8     Mike Kent                64
9     Peter Spang            62
10   Liam Nichols          56

Travis Morris

Kevin Sweeney

Kaidan Ingersoll (1st), Christian Arehart (2nd), and Chad DeLuca (3rd)

The second Freebird Slopestyle stop drops in this Saturday, August 21st. Competition will kick off at 11am, with live music provided throughout the afternoon by Chris Fritz-Grice. Awards will once again be given to the top three riders in all three categories, while all athletes will continue to earn points toward the overall Freebird Slopestyle Series standings. 

With most of the athletes from Stop #1 slated to return and some exciting new names on the roster, this event is not one to miss!

For athletes: Space is limited, so if you haven’t already locked in your spot make sure to do that today! Registration will close on Friday.
For spectators: This event is free to spectate. The rest of the mountain will remain open to the public as usual. Find more information here.