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World Event News
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The immense snow castle with its three take-offs and skate-ramp on Mottolino Fun Mountain in Livigno, Italy is crawling with shapers and snowcats, who are perfecting every angle of the infamous setup for the Suzuki Nine Knights 2015.
With snowboarders at the event for first time the stacked riders list is now complete with Wild Card winners, who will join the event running from the 5th to the 10th of April at Mottolino Fun Mountain in Livigno, Italy. During the week the skiers and snowboarders will partake in various photo and film shoots exploring the many options of the castle. With four new tricks documented at the Suzuki Nine Queens in Austria a few weeks prior, it remains to be seen what the men will get up to. Friday 10th of April the Big Air Contest will see the knights compete one against another and Wednesday 8th of April will see the Public Night Shoot put on a showdown open for public.
UK freestyle skier Paddy Graham is in the mix this year.
Without a doubt, the Suzuki Nine Queens 2015 in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Austria has made its mark on female freeski and snowboard history, with many personal firsts and some never before landed tricks.
The week-long session ran from 15th to the 20th of March 2015 and featured heli, sunset, and sunrise shoots, as well as the final showdown, the Big Air Contest. During the contest, we saw young German freeskier Lisa Zimmermann take her third consecutive title, while Norwegian style queen Kjersti Ostgaard-Buaas came out on top of the snowboarders.
UK freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes took 4th place. The GoPro moments were separated in Ski and Snowboard, Katie Summerhayes also took home the 2000 dollars with her awesome helmet spinner mount shot, where she started the camera spinning on the run in then rotating her trick in the inverse direction and then landing with the spinner rolling again... it will be out soon!
As the final event of the Freeride World Tour, the Xtreme Verbier is not only a prestigious contest in itself. It also decides the fate of the contenders for the World Champion title of the year. While in the women's skiing category, Eva Walkner (AUT) was untouchable already after the latest stage held in Haines, Alaska less than a week ago, a lot was on the line today in the other categories.
Today's battle for the FWT titles took place on the mythical 3222m (10570 ft) Bec des Rosses, all while celebrating 20 years of Xtreme. The much respected north face that has provided the stage for the Xtreme Verbier for twenty years, showed a new challenging side, being dressed in a lighter snow cover this year.
In the men's snowboard category the battle was very tight and a podium result today was crucial to anybody contending to grab the title. The situation translated directly into what will probably be remembered as one of the most diverse and next-level snowboard freeride event of all times. As if paying tribute to the Bec des Rosses and its greatness and surprises, the riders incessantly showed new interpretations of the face, making for the supreme showcase of what is possible on a snowboard.
Jonathan Charlet (FRA) had the chance of taking over Sammy Luebke (USA) in the overall if he won today's event – provided that the super smooth American rider didn't finish second. Jonathan stepped up to the challenge and delivered a mind-blowing run, perfectly mixing playfulness into his trademark big mountain style of riding, ending it up flying down the apron in what could have been the forerun for wingsuit pilot, Geraldine Fasnacht (SUI).
An incredible score of 91.00 set Jonathan straight to the top. “I'm super stoked! Everything was just great. I realized a run without any pressure – extraordinary! Long live the Argentois,” the new World Champion said with a salute to his hometown.
Jonathan can thank the - as of today - former World Champion, Emilien Badoux (SUI) for taking care of the rest needed to secure the title. Emilien has been out with injury all season, but he showed that he is more than just back in the game. He rode an amazing line where he used the big middle feature below start number 2 as a transfer over to a no-fall zone with a huge triple that no-one else had spotted so far. Stomping 1-2-3 he was completely in sync with her Majesty the 'Bec' earning him 85.75. This put him in front of Sammy who had chosen a third approach. He laid out with the cliff right below start number 1 giving him VIP entrance into the more open patch, finally setting himself up for a very technical finish with two big drops in the fall line earning him a score of 82.75. Good for a 3rd place in this great celebration of 20 years of snowboard on the 'Bec' - yet just 30 ranking points away from the title.
In 5th place was the UK's Sascha Hamm.
Not on the podium but definitely deserving to be mentioned was the absolute veteran (19 out of 20 possible starts on the Bec des Rosses), Steve Klassen (USA). And what a classy rider! Staying right on top of his game for 19 years, taking features of all shapes and sizes all the way to the very bottom of the face like a certain pink rabbit with excellent batteries.
Wildcard and former Olympic Champion, Nicola Thost (GER) showed that she has ridden off any wildcard intimidation and re-found her freedom to flow. She set herself apart today, with a score of 71.00 - 16 points more than number two!
“My plan for today worked out really well. It was a perfect day, and I knew from the beginning that I would have a lot of fun. It was super fun to ride this mountain and I’m absolutely stoked I could take the win,” the winner said afterwards. “The snow conditions were fine, and it’s just awesome to win Verbier. There’s really a positive vibe going on at this event, and this helps a lot to have fun and stay focussed at the same time.“
The battle for the title in the women's snowboard category was between Shannan Yates (USA) and Estelle Balet (SUI).
While Shannan caught up with Estelle in Alaska, Estelle knew how to use her home advantage in Verbier. Opening the contest in the line that Nicola also chose, unfortunately some slough lead her to a minor stop in the flow, but the difficulty of her airs were enough to give her the 2nd place today with a score of 55.00.
Shannan tried to make the difference with a technical line on riders' left which allowed her to keep a good flow but without the same difficulty of features. Enough though to squeeze in on the podium just one quarter of a point ahead of Anne-Flore Marxer (SUI/FRA) with a score of 52.25.
The event in Haines, Alaska was a true show of freeride at its best. It was a nine day wait for the weather to play along but everyone seemed to know that it would be all worth it. The setting was like an Alaskan postcard with fresh powder under a clear blue sky and with a big glacier as a backdrop. Having shown great form all season, Eva Walkner (AUT) had a solid lead in women's skiing coming into the event. With four out of five results counting for the final ranking, and Eva counting one win and 2nd places in all the other events, she can now call herself World Champion no matter how she performs in Verbier. The suspense for the titles in the other categories is still intact as the Freeride World Tour moves into the final event.
The UK's Sascha Hamm was 6th and his point total qualifies him for the Xtreme Verbier.
FWT15 - Haines, Alaska Teaser par FreerideWorldTourTV
The athletes delivered mind-blowing performances, whether fighting to grab the title or simply attempting to qualify for the last stage of the season in Verbier (SUI) on March 28. The conditions on the 740 vertical meters (2300 ft) competition face, The Venue, were close to perfect with knee deep, blower powder covering the characteristic long and impressive spines.
The men's snowboard category started the contest shortly after 9.15am (AKDT) (6.15pm CET).
First out of the Swatch gate was Sammy Luebke (USA) and he certainly didn't throw away this incredible opportunity to open the new FWT Alaskan venue in style. With his usual smooth riding, he started out with a lot of speed pulling a double in the steepest part of the face. He managed to keep that level of action all the way down the face including a well executed 360 and another big feature. He put his competitors under pressure right away with a whopping score of 90.00, giving him the win in the end. "Everything lined up the way I thought. I'm excited to go to Verbier!" Sammy summed up his day at work.
Flo Orley (AUT) was last to go in the men's snowboard category and he confirmed that he is on fire this season with an all-out, perfectly ridden line including the biggest fly of the day in his category charging out over the rollover leading into the steep bottom section. He took 2nd place scoring 87.00, thus removing the chances of Jonathan Charlet (FRA) to make an early claim at the FWT title at this event.
The 3rd podium place went to Colin Boyd (USA) who was also on track to challenge Sammy until a small loss of control after a 360 took his score one notch down to 82.00.
Cast your vote! Jamie Anderson's front 1080 mute or Klaudia Medlová’s backside double rodeo 900 mute at the Suzuki Nine Queens 2015 at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Austria?
Post #NineQueens then #Monstershowdown #Jamie or #Monstershowdown #Klaudia to tell us who should take home the Monster Energy Showdown!
The long awaited Swatch Freeride World Tour 2015 Alaska stop in Haines has now been confirmed for Thursday March 19th 2015, with first start at 10am (AKDT) (= 7pm CET). Ski men will drop in first, followed by snowboard men category, ski women and snowboard women. The face didn't change from the original choice and the event will happen on "The Venue", a classic Alaskan Heliskiing (AH) run.
Watch it LIVE on www.freerideworldtour.com
Today the mountain guides in charge of the event safety skied the face for a new inspection since the last snowfall. They report a 20 cm (8 inches) fresh layer of Alaskan powder on top of the already firm base. Bluebird conditions are forecasteded for Thursday, so if all the stars align as expected, it will be a dream scenario for this much awaited premiere FWT event in the mecca of freeride.
Eva Walkner (AUT), Estelle Balet (SUI) and Jonathan “Douds” Charlet (FRA) all have the possibility of closing the deal and taking the World Champion title in their respective categories right here, at the second to last stop of the Freeride World Tour. The men's skiing category is still completely open as all the riders will compete for a spot in the FWT finals at the Xtreme Verbier on March 28 2015. The top 12 ski men in the ranking will qualify for the fifth and final stop, as well as the top 6 ski women and snowboard men and top 4 snowboard women (counting the best three of the four possible results).
The face where the battle will take place is the same as was prepared for Tuesday; the 700 vertical meters face (2300 feet) called "The Venue".
With the natural beauty of this typical Alaskan terrain, gorgeous conditions and possible world titles, all ingredients are there for an outstanding event here in Haines, Alaska.
Having recently arrived to the Suzuki Nine Queens castle in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria, Jamie Anderson (USA) didn’t waste any time dialling in a new trick, landing a massive frontside 1080 mute during the sunrise shooting session. This GoPro Moment captured the pumped rider who stated, “I landed a decent Front 10 at Breckenridge last week, but wasn’t super stoked on my style. Sessionning Nine Queens at sunrise today was magic, and I felt inspired and fuelled by the pink sky insane mountain backdrop, and the sick castle jump! With the sun peaking at 7am I was down to do the 10! I stomped my second try and was definitely on cloud 9.” With some of the best female skiers and snowboarders riding the huge castle, the scene is set for many more moments of progression. Stay tuned for more edits and join the Public Big Air Day taking place Friday March 20th, 2015.
More info on www.ninequeens.com
Watch it LIVE on www.freerideworldtour.com
This week is the first time the Freeride World Tour stops in Haines, Alaska. The riders have been on hold since Saturday waiting for a snow storm to settle so that the face could be secured. The venue has now been secured by the Seaba Heli and FWT guides and everything is ready. In order to not miss the weather window, a decision has been made to go ahead and hold the contest today.
The start order of the competition is Ski Men, then Snowboard Men, Ski Women and Snowboard Women.
There is the possibility of having a World Champion crowned in three of the four categories already at this stop, so it promises to be extremely exciting.
The name of the face is The Venue and it offers everything you can dream of from an Alaskan event.
Kjersti Ostgaard-Buaas (NOR, snowboard) and Emma Dahlström (SWE, ski) are some of the girls checking out the immense snow castle built on top of the Austrian Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis ski resort for the 5th edition of the Suzuki Nine Queens. The GoPro Course Preview gives you a sneak peak to the action to come this week, and with some of the world’s best female freeskiers and snowboarders here, the action is going to heat up, especially as we head into the public Big Air Contest on Friday 20th of March.
Two days of sunshine and soft snow has enabled the girls to ease into riding the castle, going bigger with every run, nailing back-to-back tricks, and getting more imaginative with the castle as the week goes on, especially now that the winds from earlier this week have calmed.
As Kjersti explains, "There’s so many creative angles, directions, and choices here, and you can really play and explore. That’s what is so exciting."
Head over to ninequeens.com for more information regarding the many rider sessions such as our sunrise/sunset filming or heli-shoot, and for all of the insider info on Friday’s Big Air contest.
The FWT has moved across the Atlantic to Haines, Alaska for the fourth tour stop of 2015. The field has been reduced in all categories leaving only the top 60% for this first-ever FWT event, in what is known as the mecca of freeride. 2015 will surely not only be remembered for the 20th anniversary of the Xtreme Verbier but also for the historic stop in Haines that is about to kick off.
FWT in Haines a reality
It has long been a dream, for organizers and athletes alike, to have an FWT stop in the grandiose terrain around Haines, Alaska. It is now a reality and the battle in the Alaskan mountains will be decisive for the athletes who wish to compete at the 20th edition of the prestigious Xtreme Verbier - the paragon, classical final event of the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE®. Only the top 16 ski men, top 8 snowboard men, top 8 ski women and top 5 snowboard women based on the first three stops of the FWT 2015 have qualified for this exclusive stage in Haines, and their results in Alaska will determine the field the Verbier.
FWT15 - Haines, Alaska Teaser by FreerideWorldTourTV
“The community is very excited to welcome the Freeride World Tour to Haines,” says Leslie Ross (USA), Haines Tourism Director. “The Freeride World Tour features the best skiers and snowboarders in the world and this will be a historic occasion for the town and surrounding region. We can’t wait to introduce them to our world class skiing and riding and our Alaskan hospitality.”
The UK's Sascha Hamm is one of the riders who have earned their spot at Haines.
This contest not only provides the athletes with a chance to ride the amazing terrain around Haines, which many athletes have already qualified as one of the highlights of the season. It also gives one more result to base the qualification for the Xtreme Verbier on.
The historic event in Haines will be broadcast live just as the other FWT stops on www.freerideworldtour.com. It has been very important to the FWT organizers to provide fans with the opportunity to follow the action real-time, although it is both costly and demanding to set up for live coverage in this extreme and remote location. As always, weather plays an important role and since it can be particularly tricky on this latitude, a nine-day ‘weather window' has been assigned with the expected competition date being March 14. Staying up to date on any changes in schedule has never been easier though, with a brand new FWT app with push notifications now being available in the different app stores.
As for the snow conditions it looks promising. Freeride World Tour Americas Manager Tom Winter (USA) reports that: “According to the Haines Avalanche Information Center, we are returning to an onshore flow and snow and colder weather is expected into next week. This will help prime the venue for the athletes and I can’t wait to see them turned loose in Alaska.”
Xtreme Verbier 20th anniversary
There is no doubt that the SWATCH XTREME VERBIER 2015 BY THE NORTH FACE® will be the freeride event of the decade. Freeride VIPs, legends and faithful fans will be on the spectator friendly venue at the Gentianes to watch and celebrate as the qualified top FWT riders and special 20th anniversary wildcards will be leaving their tracks on the Bec des Rosses.
For FWT riders to qualify for the Xtreme Verbier the criteria is: top 12 for ski men, top 6 for snowboard men and ski women and top 4 for snowboard women, counting 3 of 4 results on the FWT 2015, allowing for one throw-away.
Among the wildcards is Swedish alpine slalom racer, Mattias Hargin (SWE) who has a special relationship to Xtreme Verbier as both of his sisters, Janette Hargin (SWE) (winner 2011) and Christine Hargin (SWE) (winner 2012) as well as his girlfriend Matilda Rapaport (SWE) (winner 2013) have mastered the descent of the Bec des Rosses. Mattias compares the renowned competition face with the mythical downhill run in Kitzbühel: “Bec De Rosses is freeriding's equivalent to the Hahnenkamm and hence is a contest venue out of the ordinary. I've never raced the Hahnenkamm but will now take on Bec de Rosses, which is one of my biggest challenges so far as I have to push boundaries for myself as a skier. It is far beyond my comfort zone but I very much look forward to the challenge!"
The most decorated downhiller in the history of US skiing, Daron Rahlves (USA) will also be taking the start on the Bec. His talents go way beyond alpine racing and he counts titles in both jet ski and ski cross before and after his ski racing career. He is also no stranger to big mountain skiing as he has received the Powder Video Award for the "Best Line" in 2010.
As for the Bec legends, Steve Klassen (USA), Aurelien Ducroz (FRA) and Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) have all accepted to make a special FWT comeback for this anniversary edition. For FWT General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI) celebrating the history is important - also for the future: “Steve Klassen, Gilles Voirol and Jérôme Ruby were the pioneers on Bec des Rosses. Their legacy is honored by today’s Champions. But most important is the next generation, with hundreds of Juniors making their way to ultimately, one day, stand in the starting gate facing Gentianes. The magic of Xtreme Verbier lies in the excitement, which is equally strong, every year.”
The UK's top two female snowboarders Jenny Jones and Aimee Fuller will be hitting this thing of beauty in a few days time. They'll be joined by notables such as Anna Gasser, Christy Prior and Jamie Anderson.
Kelly Clark (USA) and Taku Hiraoka (JPN) earned the winning halfpipe titles today at the 33rd Annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI. Both riders are taking home $45,000 each and ending their competitive snowboard season on top, with Kelly Clark’s win today making for a record eight first place US Open halfpipe titles. Taku Hiraoka’s win continues the theme of Japanese domination of the men’s divisions at the 2015 US Open following Yuki Kadono’s historic slopestyle win yesterday.
The final day of competition took place under sunny skies in front of a packed crowd surrounding the 22-foot halfpipe at Vail Mountain. The women’s event was a battle of 1080s between Kelly Clark and Chloe Kim. In the end, Kelly Clark took her record eighth Burton US Open halfpipe title landing a huge frontside air, backside 540 mute, frontside 1080 indy, Cab 720 mute, crippler stalefish, finishing with a method air for a score of 91.
Chloe Kim added a brand new super stylish frontside 1080 tailgrab to her run landing it for the first time in competition for a second place finish of 88.74. Arielle Gold took third place with a score of 83.87 and a great effort at putting down a frontside 1080 stalefish on her third run.
Clark said, “Today I saw these girls doing tens, and I was like, yes, that's what I was waiting for! It's about the progression of women's snowboarding. I was proud and I was excited, I was also pretty overwhelmed getting to stand on the podium for the eighth time at the Open—it's a big deal for me. I'm so grateful to still be a part of snowboarding and I know women's snowboarding will be in good hands whenever these girls take over.”
Kim learned her frontside 1080 last week, she said, “The first time I tried it was at Mammoth Mountain, my 9s were feeling really good, and I was like, I could go 10 pretty easily right now, so I sent it and it came around really easily for me.” Kim strategically waited until the finals to unveil her new trick, surprising competitors and wowing the crowd.
The men’s finals featured a super competitive field with the podium ultimately decided on the final runs. For Taku Hiraoka, today’s US Open title marks the biggest win of his career, with past results that include silver at the 2014 US Open and the 2014 X Games, as well as a 2014 Olympic bronze medal. He set the high score of 90.99 on his second run with a frontside 540 indy, to a backside 900 mute, frontside double cork 1080 stalefish, Cab double cork 1080 mute, ending with a lofty frontside 1260 tail grab.
Hiraoka said, “I’ve been idolizing this contest since I was little, so being a winner here is really special for me. The US Open has the biggest crowd of all the contests I enter, and it motivates me a lot.”
Arthur Longo also rode hard throughout the three run finals with huge amplitude and style, putting down his second place score of 84.99 on his last run. Longo said, “This is a run I’ve never done before in practice or in competition, so it felt so good.” Longo progressed his run throughout the finals, which culminated with a stomped Switch Alley Oop Double Rodeo 900 Melon on his last hit. Ayumu Hirano came in a close third with a score of 84.75.
In addition to the halfpipe awards today, Burton is proud to partner with Clif Bar & Company to present the Clif ‘Raise the’ Bar Award rewarding creativity and style by spotlighting the best throwback trick in the halfpipe. The award will be presented to Chloe Kim and Danny Davis, both laying down a classic McTwist in their halfpipe runs. Both riders will take home $2,500 each.
Today’s halfpipe finals also determined the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series champions with Kelly Clark and Ayumu Hirano taking home the halfpipe titles.
Women's Halfpipe Finals Results
1. Kelly Clark, BURTON, 91.00
2. Chloe Kim, BURTON, 88.74
3. Arielle Gold, RED BULL, 83.87
4. Xuetong Cai, NIKE, 71.00
5. Hikaru Oe, BURTON, 62.62
6. Queralt Castellet, YONEX, 52.50
Men's Halfipe Finals Results
1. Taku Hiraoka, BURTON, 90.99
2. Arthur Longo, VOLCOM, 84.99
3. Ayumu Hirano, NIKE, 84.75
4. Jan Scherrer, NIKE, 78.62
5. Iouri Podladtchikov, MONSTER, 73.25
6. Christian Haller, BURTON, 67.87
7. Danny Davis, BURTON, 62.12
8. Taylor Gold, MONSTER, 61.12
9. Ben Ferguson, BURTON, 49.12
10. David Habluetzel, BURTON, 24.87
Ben Ferguson - swallowtail!
Jamie Anderson and Mark McMorris take home the Pro Series Slopestyle Champion titles; while Jamie Anderson was able to defend her Burton US Open win, Yuki Kadono claims his first ever US Open victory.
Check this little head-to-head edit featuring back-to-back triple cork 1440's from Mark McMorris vs back-to-back triple cork 1620s from Yuki Kadono.
Mark’s tricks had only been done once or twice in his career, Yuki’s were both pulled for the first time ever.
The level of competitive freestyle snowboarding just took a quantum leap!
Full report on RedBull.com
Slopestyle finals at the Burton US Open in Vail, Colorado, wrapped up the first ever World Snowboard Tour Pro Series today, with Jamie Anderson and Mark McMorris taking home the Slopestyle Champion titles. After a second place at the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland, Jamie Anderson stepped it up, winning today’s finals and taking home the Women’s Pro Series Slopestyle title. Mark McMorris having already claimed a second place at the Burton European Open, took out second spot in the men’s final round today, securing himself the first ever Men’s Pro Series Slopestyle Champion title. Yuki Kadono took home the top spot of the Burton US Open presented by MINI, after a history making last run including back-to-back Triple Cork 1620s.
With some of the worlds best riders attending, the 33rd Burton US Open presented by MINI kicked off with women’s Slopestyle semi-finals earlier this week, determining the top six girls for finals. The Men’s semi-finals were postponed due to bad weather and went down today, with the top ten moving up to finals. As the third and last event on the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series, the Burton US Open crowned the first ever Pro Series Slopestyle Champion titles, determined by the rider’s best two results out of three events. The Burton European Open presented by MINI in Laax, Switzerland, the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California and the Burton US Open presented by MINI in Vail, Colorado; three of the most prestigious events on the planet.
History was made when Yuki Kadono (JPN) dropped in his last run throwing down a trick fest of Switch Backside 270 on 270 out, Lipslide to Fakie, Half Cab on Backside 360 out, Frontside Double Cork 1080 Mute, Backside Triple Cork 1620 Mute and a Switch Backside Triple Cork 1620 Melon. A run he had never tried before scoring a 90.05. Mark McMorris (CAN) landed a solid run including back-to-back Triple Cork 1440s putting him just behind Yuki. Young gun Tyler Nicholson (CAN) rounds it out in third place, with his first ever Burton US Open podium. Due to today’s second place and his performance at the Burton European Open in January, Mark McMorris worked his way up the WST Pro Series ranking, securing him the first ever men’s Pro Series Slopestyle Champion title.
“In the beginning of the year I don’t aim to win a certain title, I try to win every event I enter. Winning an award like this at the end of the season is definitely the icing on the cake.” – Mark McMorris, Slopestyle Pro Series Champion 2015.
The ladies were battling it out for both the top spots of the event as well as the Pro Series Champion title. In the end Jamie Anderson (USA) was able to put down a clean run with a Cab 270 to Tailslide, Switch Boardslide to Regular, Boardslide 270 out, Backside 540, Cab 720 Nose Grab and a Switch Backside 540, getting a high score of 90.95 and securing herself her fifth US Open victory. That combined with her second place at the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland, landed her the first ever female Pro Series Slopestyle Champion title. Anna Gasser (AUT), attempting a Cab 900 in her last run, threw down a strong performance landing in second, Spencer O’Brien (CAN) locking in a Backside 900 Melon laid claim to third place.
“I’m so incredibly stoked to be the first ever World Snowboard Tour Pro Series Champion.” – Jamie Anderson, Slopestyle Pro Series Champion 2015
Enni Rukajarvi (semi-finals)
Women's Slopestyle Finals Results
1. Jamie Anderson, OAKLEY, 90.95
2. Anna Gasser, RED BULL, 82.55
3. Spencer O’Brien, NIKE, 82.05
Men's Slopesyle Finals Results
1. Yuki Kadono, RIDE, 90.05
2. Mark McMorris, BURTON, 87.80
3. Tyler Nicholson, ROCKSTAR, 77.20
4. Sven Thorgren, OAKLEY, 76.80
5. Niklas Mattsson, ROME, 75.30
6. Eric Beauchemin, US SNOWBOARDING, 71.70
The World Snowboard Tour Pro Series award ceremony will be held tomorrow, Saturday March 7th, 2015, when the Pro Series Halfpipe Champions for both male and female categories will be announced as well.
While the Pro Series 2014/15 is a wrap, the World Snowboard Tour continues on with the International, National and Regional Level events, all of which can be found on www.worldsnowboardtour.com/wst-calendar
[Photos: Blatt / Patterson]
Blue skies greeted competitors and fans on day two of the 33rd annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI. The halfpipe semi-finals featured a stacked field of 16 women and 30 men competing in Vail Mountain’s 22-foot superpipe during a full day of heated competition. Chloe Kim (USA) and Ben Ferguson (USA) put down the highest scores of the day to lead the pack of six women and 10 men advancing for a chance at the Burton US Open halfpipe title.
Fourteen-year-old 2015 X Games Gold medallist Chloe Kim (USA) came prepared with a technical bag of tricks and precision control, putting down the two highest-scoring runs of the day in the women’s field. Kim upped her first score of 87.25 with a final run score of 87.62. Her winning run consisted of a lofty Method, into a frontside 900 tail grab, McTwist indy grab, frontside inverted 720 indy, into a Cab 720 melon grab, ending with a huge frontside lien air.
Kim said, “The pipe was really good, so I knew I could go bigger on my second run. I wanted to do the same run, but just drop in faster.”
Kelly Clark (USA) landed solidly in second place, followed by Arielle Gold (USA) in third.
Men’s halfpstyle semis followed with a loaded field of 30 talented competitors. 2014 Peace Park MVP Ben Ferguson (USA) took the lead early and held it throughout the competition riding with massive amplitude and creative style. His winning run started off with a huge frontside 720 Japan, into a Cab double cork 1080 mute, double crippler indy, backside 900 mute, ending with a frontside double cork 1080 melon grab for a score of 89.24.
Ferguson said, “I just wanted to land my run—I was super nervous, I just wanted to put something down and it worked out.”
The battle for the 2015 Burton US Open halfpipe title and the $45,000 men’s and women’s first place cash purse continues on Saturday, March 7th beginning at 11:00am MST on Burton.com/USO and 2:00pm MST on FOX Sports 2.
Women's Halfpipe Semi-Final Results
1. Chloe Kim, BURTON, 87.62
2. Kelly Clark, BURTON, 84.75
3. Arielle Gold, RED BULL, 73.87
4. Queralt Castellet, YONEX, 72.75
5. Xuetong Cai, NIKE, 72.12
6. Hikaru Oe, BURTON, 71.00
Men's Halfpipe Semi-Final Results
1. Ben Ferguson, BURTON, 89.24
2. Taylor Gold, MONSTER, 87.00
3. Arthur Longo, VOLCOM, 84.25
4. Jan Scherrer, NIKE, 81.75
5. Iouri Podladtchikov, MONSTER, 81.62
6. Taku Hiraoka, BURTON, 80.87
7. Danny Davis, BURTON, 78.49
8. Ayumu Hirano, NIKE, 77.50
9. David Habluetzel, BURTON, 76.87
10. Christian Haller, BURTON, 75.37
Tonight, come watch the US Open Broomball Tournament finals starting at 4:30pm MST at Solaris Ice Rink, an exciting community event featuring top teams battling it out on the ice. Spectators will be treated to fun intermission activities and can step into a free, hockey themed photo booth for a memorable keepsake. Pacifico will be on hand for the 21 and over crowd.
Join us tomorrow, Friday, March 6th for women’s slopestyle finals and men’s semi-finals and finals starting at 8:50am MST at Vail Mountain with live coverage at Burton.com/USO and on Fox Sports 2.
The 33rd Annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI kicked off today at Vail Mountain with women’s slopestyle semi-finals. Men’s slopestyle, originally scheduled to follow women’s, was unfortunately cancelled due to an incoming weather system that brought in strong winds and snow.
Jamie Anderson © Blatt
With fair weather kicking off the morning, 14 women dropped into the freshly groomed slopestyle course, which consisted of three creative rail features and three massive jumps. 2014 US Open slopestyle winner Jamie Anderson (USA) effortlessly landed in first place on her first qualifying run, starting with a half Cab to 50-50 backside 180 out, to a switch boardslide to regular, into a tailslide 270 out on the upper rail section. Anderson pulled a huge backside 180 off the first jump, into a Cab 540 Mute, finishing with a frontside 720 Mute earning a score of 84.90.
Anderson described the course as “super creative and flowy” and said, “I was really stoked on riding today and just having fun.”
Cheryl Maas (NED) took second place on her solid second qualifying run, followed by Spencer O’Brien (CAN) in third. Today’s top six women move on to Friday's women’s slopestyle finals starting at 8:50am MST.
The UK's Aimee Fuller did not start the event. She posted a picture of her kit on Facebook and said "Sometimes things happen for a reason. Hurt my foot 2 weeks ago, so missed out on Park City GP. Arrive in Vail stoked to ride the US Open, come down with a stomach bug, been in bed 36 hours and not eaten 😐 good luck to all the ladies out there today. SEND IT! Gutted to be missing this one."
With the men’s slopestyle semi-finals cancelled today due to weather, all 31 registered men’s slopestyle riders, including Mark McMorris (CAN), Stale Sandbech (NOR) and Maxence Parrot (CAN) will now compete in the rescheduled men’s semi-finals on Friday starting at 11:00am MST, with the live webcast on Burton.com/USO beginning at 10:40am MST. The best of two qualifying runs will determine which 10 riders will progress. Men’s slopestyle finals will start at 2:00pm MST to determine the 2015 US Open slopestyle champion. There are no UK men riding.
Women's Slopestyle Semi-Final Results
1. Jamie Anderson (USA), OAKLEY 84.90
2. Cheryl Maas (NED), ROCKSTAR, 76.80
3. Spencer O’Brien (CAN), NIKE, 74.95
4. Anna Gasser (AUT), BURTON, 71.75
5. Sina Candrian (SUI), LAAX, 67.80
6. Enni Rukajärvi (FIN), BURTON, 61.20
Tonight, watch the first US Open Broomball Tournament at the Solaris Ice Rink from 4:30–7:00pm MST, followed by good times at the US Open Kickoff Party with Andy Thorn & Friends on the Solaris Concert Stage from 7:00–8:30pm MST.
Tomorrow, Thursday, March 5th, don't miss day two of the Burton US Open with halfpipe semi-finals starting at 10:00am MST, with live coverage on Burton.com/USO. Attendees are invited to check out the Sponsor Village in Golden Peak to enjoy free product sampling, demos and giveaways as well as Après All Day events throughout Vail Village and much more!
The 33rd annual Burton US Open presented by MINI announces a packed webcast schedule that will feature four days of webcasts on www.burton.com/USO allowing fans all over the world to watch the action from top pro snowboarders like Mark McMorris, Stale Sandbech, Jamie Anderson, Danny Davis, Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim, Ayumu Hirano and more.
Complete coverage will stream live online at www.burton.com/USO beginning on Wednesday, March 4th and will feature the battle through men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle semi-finals, as well as the world-class slopestyle finals followed by the epic final halfpipe runs. During the US Open webcast, viewers will be entertained by three different commentators, including Snowboarder Magazine Editor Tom Monterroso, veteran snowboarding host for the BBC, Tim Warwood, and pro rider Jack Mitrani.
Complete 2015 Burton US Open Programming Schedule in Global Time Zones*
*Times are subject to change.
Wednesday, March 4th – Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Semi-Finals on www.Burton.com/USO:
9:45am – 3:15pm MST
11:45am – 5:15pm EST
5:45pm – 11:15pm CET (Central Europe)
1:45am – 7:15am JST (March 5th)
Thursday, March 5th – Men’s and Women’s Halfpipe Semi-Finals on www.Burton.com/USO:
9:45am – 3:15pm MST
11:45am – 5:15pm EST
5:45pm – 11:15pm CET
1:45am – 7:15am JST (March 6th)
Friday, March 6th – Women’s Slopestyle Finals on www.Burton.com/USO:
11:00am - 12:35pm MST
1:00pm - 2:35pm EST
7:00pm - 8:35pm CET
3:00am - 4:35am JST (March 7th)
Friday, March 6th – Men’s Slopestyle Finals on www.Burton.com/USO:
1:45pm - 4:05pm MST
3:45pm - 6:05pm EST
9:45pm - 12:05am CET
5:45am - 8:05am JST (March 7th)
Saturday, March 7th – Women’s Halfpipe Finals on www.Burton.com/USO:
11:00am – 12:35pm MST
1:00pm – 2:35pm EST
7:00pm – 8:35pm CET
3:00am – 4:35pm JST (March 8th)
Saturday, March 7th – Men’s Halfpipe Finals on www.Burton.com/USO:
1:45pm – 4:05pm MST
3:45pm – 6:05pm EST
9:45pm – 12:05am CET
5:45am – 8:05am JST (March 8th)
For additional details on all things US Open, including a full list of invited riders, concerts, product demos, and the history of the longest-running snowboard event in the world, head to www.Burton.com/USO. You’ll also find highlights of winning runs, full webcast replays, contest recaps and more. Follow and tweet along using #BurtonUSOpen.
Bringing together snowboarders and freeskiers for the Suzuki Nine Knights 2015 is an exciting development making the riders list double as interesting. The infamous “Il Castello” snowcastle on Mottolino Fun Mountain, in Livigno, Italy, will this year also include the unusual element of a skate ramp, stepping up the innovation at the supersession running from the 5th to the 10th of April 2015. As usual, for aspiring knights there are still a few wild cards on offer through the “Wanna be a Knight?” online video competition, as well as, via the slopestyle qualifier event held in Mottolino Snowpark. The day not to miss is the public Big Air contest held on Friday the 10th of April.
The provisional list of snowboarders includes Kevin Backström, Marius Bakken, Sebbe de Buck, Halldor Helgason, Keita Inamura, Sage Kotsenburg, Tor Lundström, Ethan Morgan, Maxence Parrot, Seppe Smits, Sven Thorgren and Sebastien Toutant.
Whilst there's no British snowboarders on the provisional list, James Woods and Paddy Graham are on the ski list.
Seppe Smits 2014 © Klaus Polzer
With five take-offs leading into three landings the main jump of the life size “Il Castello” is set to provide ample opportunity for creativity and progression. The lower section boasts a multifaceted “snow & skate” obstacle, which combines a skate-ramp, wall rides and a hip, offering up the possibility for skiers, snowboarders and skateboarders to ride it at the same time. A handful of skaters will join the session to make for an action packed Suzuki Nine Knights 2015. The skaters will be announced soon along with the 3D designs.
Two ways to grab an invitation to the Suzuki Nine Knights?
Engraving your name on the coveted riders list is still possible. The “Wanna be a Knight?” online video contest is dishing out a few spots, so send in a short video before the submission deadline on the 23rd of March 2015. The rules can be found on www.nineknightssnow.com where you will also see all the entries. There second way to qualify is through the slopestyle competition held on the 28th of March 2015 in the Mottolino Snowpark in Livigno. This event is open to everyone, to participate sign up on www.mottolino.com/en/blog/take-part-into-suzuki-nine-knights-2015
Cheryl Maas (NED) and Eric Willett (USA) have clinched the slopestyle World Cup event of the Sprint US Grand Prix tour, which was staged yesterday at Park City Mountain Resort, Utah. The Dutch veteran who had entered the finals of the top-6 ladies as second best qualifier celebrated a three-peat keeping the momentum from her two wins at Stoneham last weekend.
Earning 87.75 in her first of three runs on a three rails, two kickers course with a boardslide to fakie, switch gap to boardslide, 50-50 to backside 180 out, switch backside 540 nose and backside 720 tail, Maas relegated Karly Shorr (USA, 81.00) and reigning big air world champion Elena Koenz (SUI, 79.75) to the second and third rank.
In the men's final of the top-10, Willett clinched his career's first with 95.25 in his third run consisting of a frontside 180 to cab 360 out off the down flat, cab 270 to regular, boardslide 270 out, frontside 1260 mute and a switch backside 1080 double cork to finish things off.
The 27-years-old led a US podium sweep with Charles Guldemond (92.50) and Eric Beauchemin (87.50) rounding out this season's second slopestyle World Cup podium as second and third.
The FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup tour continues Sunday, March 1st, with a halfpipe World Cup event at Park City, UT. Finals are scheduled for 1 PM MST (9 PM CET).
For the UK Rowan Coultas was 13th and Jamie Nicholls was 19th.
[Photos: Sarah Brunson]
One week, one gigantic kicker slash snow castle, four invited photographers, as well as, several film crews combined with some the world’s best female freeskiers and snowboarders make up the Suzuki Nine Queens. The Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis ski resort in Austria and its perfectly groomed slopes will be reigned by the queens from the 15th to the 20th of March 2015. Sunset and sunrise shoots will take place throughout the week and one winner will be crowned at the public Big Air Contest, on Friday 20th of March 2015, a day not to miss!
Coline Ballet Baz, FRA
Silvia Bertagna, ITA
Emma Dahlström, SWE
Virginie Faivre, SUI
Keri Herman, USA
Devin Logan, USA
Maude Raymond, CAN
Tiril Sjastaad Christiansen, NOR
Zuzana Stromkova, SLO
Katie Summerhayes, GBR
Kaya Turski, CAN
Lisa Zimmermann, GER
Jamie Anderson, USA
Julia Baumgartner, AUT
Kjersti Ostgaard-Buaas, NOR
Aimee Fueller, GBR
Anna Gasser, AUT
Jenny Jones, GBR
Elena Könz, SUI
Silvia Mittermüller, GER
Kristiina Nisula, FIN
Silje Norendal, NOR
Christy Prior, NZL
Birgit Rofner, AUT
Olya Smeshlivaya, RUS
Silje Norendal © David Malacrida
The format, as well as, the set up of the event is unique. “I found it a refreshing change, with its mellow atmosphere and creative avenues for both riders and photographers,” comments Jenny Jones, who bagged a cover shot from last year’s event, took 3rd place in the Big Air and landed her first frontside 900. This year she will be joined by her fellow Team GB mates Aimee Fuller and skier Katie Summerhayes, who are sure to shake things up. To the freeski ladies this event will always have a special meaning as it was the first of its kind, offering a platform to progress and to be in the spotlight. Some world firsts have been claimed at the event, such as the one by Kaya Turski in 2011 (CAN). She reminisces, “It was a goal of mine to learn the switch 1080 and when I did, and it was one of my most exciting moments in skiing.”
Elena Könz & Isabel Derungs © Klaus Polzer
9 Numbers from the Suzuki Nine Queens. Did you know that…
Silje Norendal © Klaus Polzer
Wanna Be A Queen? – Wild Cards On Offer
The online video contest is running till the 23rd of February 2015. Find out how you can win a wild card to Suzuki Nine Queens on www.ninequeens.com
Follow us on social media @ninequeens
Klaudia Medlova © Klaus Polzer
The competition making it up for the Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler-Alpen stop was staged in Vallnord-Arcalis today on a windblown Baser Negre face powdered up with a 15-20 cm layer of fresh snow. While enough to soften up most of the landings it provided good grip on most of the face, but also some traps that saw some of the favourites getting challenged on balance. This opened up for new faces on the podium keeping the suspense of the overall standing till the end. With this contest all riders have completed their qualification for the next stop of the tour, which will only include the top 7 women skiers, top 5 women snowboarders, top 16 men skiers and top 8 men snowboarders.
1. George Rodney (USA) 88.67
2. Wille Lindberg (SWE) 78.67
3. Felix Wiemers (GER) 77.73
1. Jonathan Charlet (FRA) 86.67
2. Colin Boyd (USA) 85.33
3. Ralph Backstrom (USA) 85.00
1. Estelle Ballet (SUI) 74.33
2. Nicola Thost (GER) 62.33
3. Anouck Mouthon (FRA) 60.00
It took a Jonathan Charlet (FRA) in great shape to get ahead of two hungry Americans on the podium today. With a 2nd win in a row today, this begins to look like a fantastic come back season for Charlet. He rode fast and action packed as usual, cramming in multiple highlights with a 360, an exposed double and a huge bottom feature with nose grab giving him a score of 86.67. He was happily surprised that all his action worked out with no mistakes, just like last week: “I didn't think I could repeat last weeks performance this well again, but it went well. I'm really stoked to be going to Alaska. I hope we will have great conditions and I'm really motivated!”
Colin Boyd (USA) took the 2nd place opening a new, very original and technical line. He connected the features and couloirs very well starting off with a 360 and ending with a very fast double shooting down through a narrow opening where a butt touch probably cost him the first place.
Ralph Backstrom (USA) also showed good use of the terrain, taking the top feature over the longest part and going bigger and bigger as he came further down. He was scored 85.00 putting him into 3rd place in today's competition as well as in the current ranking.
The top 8 men snowboarders qualified for Haines, Alaska
1 Charlet, Jonathan FRA 5840.00
2 Orley, Flo AUT 5635.00
3 Backstrom, Ralph USA 5250.00
4 Luebke, Sammy USA 4965.00
5 Boyd, Colin USA 4720.00
6 Rizzuto, Jamie CAN 4265.00
7 Galvin, Christopher USA 4040.00
8 Hamm, Sascha GBR 3715.00
The harder landings on the face today caused trouble for many of riders and it was no different for the female snowboarders. Estelle Ballet (SUI) understood to take advantage of this. With a solid run, sprayed with smaller airs all along she kept a good flow, taking home another 1st place with a score of 74.33. This puts her in a comfortable lead of the current standing. Estelle is thrilled about her lead and going to Alaska: “It’s a really good day for me! I was starting the day in a bad way this morning and was worrying about the contest, but finally I really enjoyed it and rode exactly the line I wanted to. I am qualified for Alaska now, I can’t wait to be riding there!” she commented after her run. Underscoring the big theme of the day, she went on to celebrate with her good tour buddy, Anne-Flore Marxer (FRA), who crashed in an audacious line today but made the cut being in 4th position of the current standing.
Newcomer to the tour Nicola Thost (GER) took 2nd place in today's competition with a score of 62.33 giving priority to speed over air. Not riding in Chamonix however, this was not enough to make the cut for this former queen of boardercross. Anouck Mouthon (FRA) stepped it up with her first FWT podium today and a score of 60.00 giving her a 3rd place, just front of her sister, Elodie Mouthon (FRA), who chose a more risky line with bigger features, but made a mistake after one of her airs. With her 3rd place today, Anouck just made the cut in the hot seat and moves on to the next stop together with her sister and the four riders currently ahead of her. Last year's overall champion, Shannan Yates (USA) can see herself moving down into 3rd place in the current standing very close behind Elodie after a rare crash from the otherwise very consistent rider today.
The top 5 women snowboarders qualified for Haines, Alaska
1 Balet, Estelle SUI 6800.00
2 Mouthon, Elodie FRA 5980.00
3 Yates, Shannan USA 5935.00
4 Marxer, Anne-Flore SUI 5290.00
5 Mouthon, Anouck FRA 4890.00
To conclude this event the FWT General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI) said after the competition: “With the challenges we have met from Mother Nature this year, it has been quite a fight to make sure that all riders got in three results to base the qualification for the next stops on. The riders have shown fantastic action and I wish to the organizers in Fieberbrunn, Kappl and Vallnord-Arcalis for showing outmost flexibility, hospitality and not least willingness to help make this possible!”
The Burton US Open presented by MINI announces a world-class field of riders slated to compete in Vail, Colorado from March 4–7th. Confirmed riders for this year’s event include 2015 X Games gold medalists Danny Davis (USA), Mark McMorris (CAN), Chloe Kim (USA) and Silje Norendal (NOR); four-time Olympian Kelly Clark (USA), 2015 Burton European Open slopestyle gold medalist Stale Sandbech (NOR) and halfpipe Olympic silver medalist Ayumu Hirano (JPN). As the grand finale of the competitive snowboarding season, the legendary US Open gives riders one final chance to take home a major title, and spectators get to watch all the action for FREE.
“The US Open is one of those events that everyone respects and looks forward to,” says back-to- back defending US Open slopestyle winner Mark McMorris. “There’s such good vibes and it really wraps up the year for me.”
The 33rd annual US Open kicks off on Wednesday, March 4th with men’s and women’s slopestyle semi-finals featuring defending US Open champion Mark McMorris (CAN), 2015 X Games silver medalist Stale Sandbech (NOR), Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson (USA), 2014 Olympic silver medalist Enni Rukajärvi (FIN) and 2015 X Games gold medalist Silje Norendal (NOR), along with Maxence Parrot (CAN), Roope Tonteri (FIN) and Darcy Sharpe (CAN).
Next, the highly anticipated halfpipe semi-finals take place on Thursday, March 5th in Vail’s 22-foot superpipe featuring back-to-back X Games gold medalist Danny Davis (USA) and seven-time US Open champion Kelly Clark (USA). Brothers Ben and Gabe Ferguson (USA) as well as Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) and Olympians Christian Haller (SUI), Ayumu Hirano (JPN) and Greg Bretz (USA) are also set to compete in this legendary event steeped in snowboarding history.
Kelly Clark is really looking forward to the Open and says, “The US Open is one of the best events of the season—everyone has been riding all season and they get to showcase their efforts. If there ever was a peak in riding during the year, it’s at the Open.”
Then on Friday and Saturday, it all comes down to the finals when 10 men and 6 women compete for equal prize money in slopestyle finals on March 6th followed by halfpipe finals on March 7th.
In addition to world-class competition, there’s also plenty of action to enjoy off the hill, with three nights of live music on the Solaris Concert Stage, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros following slopestyle finals on Friday, and Girl Talk following halfpipe finals on Saturday.
And if you can’t experience the US Open in person, catch all the action online via the live webcasts at www.Burton.com/USO. And be sure to tune in to the men’s and women’s slopestyle and halfpipe competition live shows on FOX Sports 2. Check out the complete broadcast schedule to get air dates.
Ale invite is a Big Air contest in Ale, only 20km north of Gothenburg and will take place for the first time on the 28th of February 2015.
Some of the best snowboarders on this planet will fight for the $20,000 prize purse. It's not only a snowboard contest; there's live bands playing on stage, Burton Riglet Park and a smaller Big Air Jump in the kids corner, local food, drinks and a hell of good atmosphere. And the best part of it all, IT'S FREE, so just bring your friends, family and a big smile. Check out riders and artists in the menu above.
We a proud to be one of the International stops of the World Snowboard Tour.
The WST has grown into the strongest international snowboarding tour representing the most important snowboard events in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Oceania.
The whole FWT staff has been working extremely hard for the last few days to find the optimal competition face to resume the Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler-Alpen competition that had to be stopped already twice in the last 2 weeks.
The challenge has been to solve the puzzle of fitting the contest into the existing FWT calendar, on a day and venue with conditions that allow for a fair and safe competition that lives up to the standard of FWT.
After several attempts with Mother Nature not quite playing along, it is now confirmed that the event will happen on Wednesday February 18th. The start for the first rider to drop in has been set to 9.30am (CET). The event will be broadcasted live on www.freerideworldtour.com
The start order will be the same than originaly planned in Fieberbrunn, with the same starting order:
The women's skiing category will not compete as they already completed this stage on Saturday January 31st.
The competition will take place on the face of Baser Negre in Vallnord-Arcalis in Andorra. The venue has been used for the finals of the FWQ 4-star event, Eldorado Freeride, last year and was originally planned to be used for the third stage of the FWT 2015 event last week, but strong winds made it unusable forcing organisers to seek for a plan B.
FWT head guide and former competitor, Jérôme Ruby (FRA) reports from the terrain that the face looks very good: “A 10-15 cm fresh snow cover has provided much better conditions than last week, only we will not use the very top where the snow has been blown away.”
As for the athletic characteristics of the face, Jérôme states that: “It is a playful face with lots of opportunities, both to go off big cliff bands and to do freestyle. One of the challenge will be to read the snow well.”
The competition in Vallnord-Arcalis yesterday was held under blue skies but in tricky snow conditions. The chosen venue in Andorra was characterized by an unprecedented density of features on the face and a great variety of lines. With this contest the women skiers have completed their qualification for the next stop of the tour, which will only include the top 7 women in the overall ranking. The other categories only have two results so far. They still have the possibility of getting in a third result counting for the Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler-Alpen stop, restaged here in Andorra within the competition window ending on Thursday.
1. Estelle Balet (SUI) 83.00
2. Elodie Mouthon (FRA) 79.50
3. Shannan Yates (USA) 76.75
1. Hazel Josie Birnbaum (USA) 78.75
2. Eva Walkner (AUT) 75.00
3. Francesca Ace Pavillard-Cain (USA) 72.25
1. Jonathan Charlet (FRA) 90.00
2. Flo Orley (AUT) 86.50
3. Ralph Backstrom (USA) 83.75
The UK's Sascha Hamm was 13th.
1. Sam Smoothy (NZL) 91.25
2. Jeremie Heitz (SUI) 82.00
3. Reine Barkered (SWE) 81.25
The women's skiing category was particularly exciting today, because it was decisive of who is qualified for the next stop which will take place in Haines, Alaska (USA) on March 14th. Two Americans, Jackie Paaso (USA) and Hazel Birnbaum (USA) were in the “hot seat” ranking 6th and 7th respectively, and both made it in. Hazel showed a very decisive run today with great action earning her the top score of 78.75 and her first FWT victory. “I was pretty nervous coming in to today. I fell in the last event. I really wanted to go to Alaska and represent our home country,” Hazel said at the bottom. “I just wanted to stay on my feet. Last time was a pretty big ego-crash. I can't believe I won. Now I'm going to celebrate with my friends - I'm going to my home state of Alaska!”
Eva Walkner (AUT) continued her streak of podiums with a second place and a score of 75.00, laying out hard, dropping aggressively into the steep part, almost using the features to steer her down the steep top section. The 3rd place was taken by Francesca Pavillard-Cain (USA) who started out with a nice big air off the top lip, continuing playfully with a traversing air towards the skiers left and putting another good size air into the middle section. A solid run scoring her 72.25 out of the 100 points possible.
The top 7 women qualified for Haines, Alaska
1. Eva Walkner (AUT) 6900.00
2. Silvia Moser (ITA) 5230.00
3. Hazel Josie Birnbaum (USA) 5020.00
4. Lotten Rapp (SWE) 4930.00
5. Jaclyn Paaso (USA) 4545.00
6. Francesca Ace Pavillard-Cain (USA) 4500.00
7. Lorraine Huber (AUT) 4055.00
The man of the day was Sam Smoothy (NZL) who scored an impressive 91.25 and took the 1st place in men's skiing. He picked the skiers right of the face as one of the only riders, linking the spread out snow pads with big air in excellent flow, keeping breath-taking action all along the face. A happy Sam, who sees his possibilities of qualifying for Alaska re-opening, found confidence to send it in the conditions that he said were close to what he knows from home in New Zealand: “Going into Andorra, I really needed a good result. I just felt right at home here. I'm super psyched – it was an all-or-nothing run and it worked for me.”
With bib number 2, Jeremie Heitz (SUI) set the standards for the day right off the bat with a score of 82.00. He laid out a fast, fluid run starting with a very technical jump into the steep couloir, impressing the judges right away. Only Sam's spectacular line could beat that and left him with the second place.
Finally the stomp master, Reine Barkered (SWE), confirmed his podium from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc with a line close to Jeremie's, giving him a score of 81.25 squeezing him in just ahead of Rodney George (USA) who had a score of 81.00 in a very tight top field.
Reine is now leading the current standings and said he is feeling more relaxed about the upcoming events: “Today I was actually not nervous at all in the beginning – and then I got up to the start and got really nervous for some reason. Surprised though, I had a pretty straightforward line I think – but of course you don't know if you are going to ride it well. Snow was okay and I got most of my features in and landed clean I think and it went really fast so I'm super happy with a 3rd place here today. This of course, puts me in a really good position now for the Tour with a 2nd and a 3rd place it should be really good – I think – so it definitely takes a lot of pressure off for the upcoming events opening up so I can really go full charge, with a no holding-back-kind of riding.”
The snowboarders put on an impressive show taking advantage of the diversity of options on the face and showing mastery of their technical skills. Jonathan Charlet (FRA) received the highest score of the day with 90.00. He dropped into the steeps with a perfect 180 off the wind lip up top and continued down the in beautiful fast-paced turns, making the steep part look very easy before making an exit jump out of the couloir. He spiced up the middle section with a feature pulling a grab, finally ending his spectacular line stomping a playful bottom air and yelling with happiness, claiming it, as he went through the characteristic black Swatch arch into the Finish.
“I'm absolutely stoked! I felt great coming down. Snow had turned good and I had perfect grip. I took all my airs as I wanted,” he explained, calming down his excitement a bit before talking about the continuation of the season: “I stay calm for now while hoping to obtain that ticket to Alaska.”
Flo Orley (AUT) showed some of his best action ever in a very original line. He started out with a big, highly exposed air crossing over to a very narrow couloir before hitting more big airs. A line that showed a complete repertoire of skills and gave him a score of 86.50. “I'm super stoked to be here in Andorra – the mountains look very much like home. The terrain in the area where I went is just like my home mountain and the snow softened up so I could do what I wanted. When I saw the score I was like the happiest man on the planet,” said the experienced rider showing that he is still able to send it big time.
The third podium place went to Ralph Backstrom (USA) who received a score 83.75 with a line similar to Jonathan's at the top and playing it a little more safe at the bottom,”putting another result in the pocket to get to Alaska” as he said was his game plan.
The female snowboarders seemed to enjoy the many smaller features cramming in good action throughout the face. Most impressive today was Estelle Ballet (SUI) who showed both very technical turns in high speed up top in the steep section, and fun action playing with the features on the lower part. She got a high score of 83.00 putting her in 1st place. “I'm really excited and I had a lot of fun competing today! I rode just like I would have, when I'm out with my friends - no pressure!” she said. With regards to Alaska, Estelle continued: “Of course I feel more and more confident about the continuation of the season and Alaska which is getting closer!”
Elodie Mouthon (FRA) successfully linked her turns and smaller features in good control, earning her a score of 79.50 and a 2nd place. Shannan Yates (USA) took almost the same line putting in few but strategically well-chosen airs. She obtained a score of 76.75 and the 3rd place, thus keeping the lead of the current standing.
A great debut promising for the future
Today's event in Vallnord-Arcalis was the first time that the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face® had a competition stop in Andorra. The local FWQ rider Dani Fornell-Prat (AND) competed on a host's wild card and was thrilled to be a part of this: “We are really proud to host the Tour here. Five years ago this was inconceivable and here we are. The media have been talking about this for months and months. Everybody here wanted for all these 'animals' to come and compete here.”
Dani didn't let down his local fans, putting down an absolutely spectacular run with a huge air going into the face and sending it almost into orbit on the bottom, being drawn down in the score only by a few small control issues in the middle. With a score of 71.75 he placed 12th in today's action packed event.
All together, this was an extremely successful event for Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra. A great debut as an FWT host and a stop that the riders will definitely look forward to coming back to next year!
Photos: David Carlier
The Swatch Freeride World Tour by the North Face® stop in Vallnord-Arcalis (AND) is confirmed for Friday 13th 2015 with first start at 10am (CET). The event has been re-scheduled one day ahead to make sure the competition can happen in the best possible conditions for the riders.
You will be able to watch it LIVE on www.freerideworldtour.com
This week is the first time the Swatch Freeride World Tour by the North Face® stops in Andorra and the riders are waiting impatiently for the competition face to be revealed. The name of the face will be announced at tonight's riders meeting at 8pm where the riders will see the official photo of the face for the first time. It will be announced online immediately after. Tomorrow they will be able to check it out for themselves with their binoculars and take their own photos to study in order to pick the line they wish to ride.
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