The fifth and last event prior to the grande finale in Verbier (SUI), saw intense competition at the highest level. The event was decisive for athletes to score enough points to earn a spot for the finals and qualify for next year. The top ranked riders needed to place well to stay or break into the competition for the overall World Champion title. The fierce battle continues to win the first ever, unified Freeride World Tour Champion titles after a sensational season.
After a week’s waiting period, due to difficult snow and weather conditions, the sun finally came out at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal. With blue bird skies and a 20 cm cover of fresh snow on the 600-metre Wildseeloder north face an action-packed contest went down on the long and demanding face. Riders had to negotiate a mix of deep powder, wind affected snow and hard layers. A fluid and fast choice, executed with creativity and perfection, was key. Austrian freeride fans came out to the venue to cheer on their favourite athletes at front row, proving that in Austria there has always been Kitzbuhel for Alpine lovers but now there is Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal for freeride aficionados!
The battle has been tough all season as more than 80 competing athletes have had one thing in mind: to make it to the finals in Verbier! The spots are few. Only the top 12 men skiers, five men snowboarders, five women skiers and four women snowboarders qualify to the last and final competition. The competition at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal was their last chance.
American Sammy Luebke is having a good season with constantly progressing results at each event, taking 10th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd and finally a win today in Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal! A well-earned victory of 81.67 points for Luebke, who rode an impressive fall line approach, involving a serious cliff jump off the edge of a steep spine. His win today puts him on the desirable top spot overall and is in a good position to battle for the World Champion title.“From the top I went riders left with a double drop and fresh snow. I came down very fast and did a couple of jumps at the bottom.It’s my first win of the year and it’s pretty cool to have climbed the ladder from comp to comp! It makes me confident and motivated for Verbier.”
Frenchman Jonathan Charlet took second, scoring 80.0 points by executing a dynamic run, combining big mountain skills at the top section and clean freestyle riding at the bottom. With today’s result Charlet just makes the cut to Verbier, taking the last fifth place. Charlet’s fellow countryman, Aurélien Routens, took his third podium of the season, once again proving confident of his typical style, fast, committed, big mountain riding, which today included an impressive straight line through a steep chute. Scoring 76.67 points and a third place, Routens, climbs to a second place on the overall standings. One of the season favourites Ralph Backstrom (USA), did not quite make it today with a 13th place, but is still hanging on to the overall standings, sitting on third coming in to Verbier.
1. Elodie Mouthon FRA
2. Anouck Mouthon FRA
3. Casey Lucas USA
1. Sammy Luebke USA
2. Jonathan Charlet FRA
3. Aurélien Routens FRA