More than 60 of the world’s best freeriders from around the world gathered here to compete at the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT). Silver Fox has played host to many freeride competitions in the past. Its consistent pitch allows riders to open up the throttle and punctuate runs with a variety of features located on the face.
“Conditions have been tough here in Snowbird to find a replacement venue after the original one could not be used due to an avalanche”, FWT General Manager Europe Nicolas Hale-Woods said. “We had to go for a plan B, it was not ideal but still a good option for competition which delivered a good show today. The riders gave it all and the battle was fearless and intense.”
The competition began with women’s snowboarding. The 2013 FWT Champion Elodie Mouthon of France managed to win her category with a super fast run down the fall line through the steepest section of the venue known as North Chute.
In second place, Estelle Balet of Switzerland executed two airs into and out of the North Chute. Local Snowbird, Utah, USA rider Kaitlin Elliott came in third place after choosing a creative line with an exceptionally smooth straight-line at the bottom.
The women’s ski category had exceptionally strong performances across the board. Lorraine Huber of Austria topped off her strong season with first place at Snowbird. Huber’s fluid run featured a massive air in the middle of the venue.
“I have had two solid results so far on the tour this season, so my strategy was to really step it up with a bigger feature and it worked out perfectly,” exclaimed Huber. “I studied the venue for hours and days really. This is my first win on the Tour!”
Following Huber, 2013 FWT Women’s Ski Champion Nadine Wallner of Austria landed the second podium position with a no-hesitation run stomping a good-sized air. Rounding out the women’s podium in third place, Pia Nic Gundersen of Sweden had a very speedy run down the fall line with a large air exiting the North Chute.
Next, was the men’s snowboard category. Having already accomplished a second place finish in Chamonix, Jamie Rizzuto of Canada won the top spot for the first time as an FWT rider. Rizzuto started his run with a 360 rotation and cleanly linked two consecutive airs. He arched technical turns through the popular North Chute and effortlessly flew over the cliffs at the bottom of the area.
“I actually was not going to hit one of the cliffs, but I changed my mind after Loraine Huber did,” commented Rizzuto. “The air looked really awesome so I decided to hit it. I tried to stick to the fall line, and wanted it to flow and have fun.”
In second place, Swiss rider Emilien Badoux ventured into the exposure-ridden Hanging Bowl area of the venue with a huge air. He exited the terrain by singling a cliff many riders would take in two hits. Aurélien Routens of France came in third place with a unique and fast run.
Last but not least, was the men’s ski competition. Lars Chickering-Ayers, originally of Mad River Glen, VT, USA but often found skiing at Snowbird, won the contest amongst many friends and fans in the crowd. Chickering-Ayers sleighed the fall line with minimal turns and a gigantic air.
“I chose a line that looked a little more challenging with less snow, which makes the features bigger. I’ve never skied this line in a comp,” said Lars Chickering-Ayers.
After an effortless-seeming run with several large airs, Swiss skier Jérémie Heitz came in second place. In third place, Sam Smoothy of New Zealand hit a large cliff at the top known as the “Frenchie” rock and controlled his speed linking several consecutive airs.
The SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® continues its competition in Revelstoke, Canada, on March 10 where the final athlete cut will be made for the Xtreme Verbier final championship competition in Switzerland on March 22.
1. Elodie Mouthon (FRA), 75.75 points
2. Estelle Balet (SUI), 72.75 points
3. Kaitlin Elliott (USA), 67.00 points
1. Jamie Rizzuto (CAN), 86.50 points
2. Emilien Badoux (SUI), 83.50 points
3. Aurélien Routens (FRA), 78.25 points