Local talent looks to win 'Aces' tour

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The inaugural Smoking Aces Tour, a freestyle skiing and snowboarding tour throughout Montana, concludes today on Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort with the Ace of Spades Tour Championship scheduled to start at noon.

The first ever freestyle tour in Montana has received a warm reception throughout the state with an average of 50 riders competing at each of the previous three tour events leading up to today’s finals.

The tour has five divisions for both skiing and snowboarding: 12 & under, 13-16, 17-20, 21 & over, the Open Division and Women’s Upper and Lower Divisions.

“The Smoking Aces Tour allows local kids to compete, recognize their own potential and use this event as a springboard to grow—whether it’s in the snow sports industry or other pursuits,” Tour Director Billy Marcial told Big Sky Public Relations.

Whitefish-native Hunter Lamoureux is second place in the overall standings heading into the final event. He has totaled 250 points in the Open Division during the tour and sits just 20 behind the tour’s leader, Trevor Harapat.

Riders like Lamoureux have long awaited such a tour to keep them in state and cut down on travel costs to compete in out-of-state events.

“It’s a great tour,” Lamoureux said. “Me and the freestyle team have been saying for years ‘Montana needs a tour’ and it’s been an absolute success.”

Riding for Notice Snowboards, a Whitefish snowboard company known for their completely customized boards, Lamoureux is looking to win the tour on his hometown mountain.

Brittan Ellingson, Founder of Notice Snowboards signed the Whitefish rider about a year and a half ago and the upstart company is also a sponsor for the Smoking Aces Tour. If they can please all of their customers as much as Lamoureux, they’re in for a bright future.

“I love ‘em. I really love ‘em. It’s exactly what I want in a snowboard,” Lamoureux said. “I’m pretty picky in what I ride. Brittian wanted me on the team and let me customize one for myself. It’s absolutely perfect.”

With a short drive from his home to Big Mountain, Lamoureux said he’s looking to execute his backside cork 720 and backside rodeo 540 for the judges who will be looking for style, creativity, difficulty of tricks and overall impression of the ride.

“I’ve been trying to get up to the mountain as much as possible. I’ll head up Chair One and take some warm up runs then head to the park, just trying some tricks and getting ready for the competition,” Lamoureux said.

Riding in his hometown with friends and family spectating, the 15-year-old says it doesn’t bring as many jitters as one may expect. In fact, he sees it as a bit of home field advantage that may help him bring home the tour’s first ever championship.

“I feel more comfortable in hometown events just because I ride on this mountain every day. The competitors are people I know well so I can kick back and hang out in the starting gate with them. It’s always a lot of fun,” Lamoureux said.

Live music and sponsor tents open the festivites at 10:30 a.m.— a half an hour before Lamoureux and other talented Montana riders compete for the $1,000 prize of being crowned the first ever Smoking Aces Tour Champion.

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