H2Osmosis' King and Queen of the Course finals boasted matchups between some of the sport's closest friends and fiercest competitors.
The finals of the Queen of the Course pro slalom event held June 2 and 3 at Trophy Lakes in Charleston, South Carolina, was as much a childhood reunion as it was a grueling test of strength and will. Karen Truelove and April Coble-Eller have been friends literally their entire lives. April, two years the senior, was even on hand the day of Karen's birth. The two have skied with and against one another since they were 4 or 5 years old and have watched each other mature into two of the most dominant competitors in the world.
For April Coble-Eller, reaching the final head-to-head was a source of both relief and excitement. “It had been a while since I was on the podium at a pro event; I was so grateful to win my initial heats,” April admitted. So when the semifinal matchups played out, it was fitting that April's final competitor would be her best friend. “It was very exciting. Karen and I have competed against each other since the very beginning, but we had never met in a one-on-one scenario like that,” April said. “I felt like I was in a no-lose situation. I obviously really wanted the win, but if it was not to be, I was glad it would be Karen's day.”
For Karen Truelove, the Charleston event was equally special. “April and I have been together through every part of our skiing lives, from our childhood summers skiing with April's dad in North Carolina to traveling the world attempting to make it on the pro tour. We even attended college together at NLU [now the University of Louisiana at Monroe] and UNC Chapel Hill,” Karen explained. For Truelove, childhood memories were the furthest thing from her mind as she advanced into the final matchup. “I was just striving to stay focused and not concentrate on who I was facing,” she said. “It really was not until after the tournament was over I realized just how special our first head-to-head meeting in a professional event really was.”
On the men's side, the battle for the King of the Course pitted experience against exuberance, as world champion Will Asher squared off against 21-year-old rookie Thomas Moore in his first pro final. Thomas steadfastly worked his way through each of the head-to-head heats before advancing himself into the final round. “I was just having fun,” he commented in his typical, quipping manner. “I just kept going out, trying to cut really hard, trying to rip, and I kept on advancing.”
Thomas' run for the crown ended with his final matchup. Will Asher, fresh off a disappointing showing at the U.S. Masters the weekend prior, was looking to redeem himself, and a hungry Will Asher is the most daunting opponent there is in men's slalom. After advancing past Jamie Beauchesne in the semifinal round, Will took top billing over Thomas Moore in the final matchup of the weekend. “It felt really good to get the win and get back on top,” Will said, “especially in this kind of format. The one-on-one nature of a head-to-head final is so intense.”