Although challenging visibility prevented the attempt last Friday from being successful, an exciting competition thrilled fans and athletes today at Courmayeur Mont Blanc. The international field of competitors was extremely eager to begin the season and start the quest to become the next FWT champions. Courmayeur Mont Blanc is the only stop on the FWT, which is exclusively a men’s competition.
Conditions in the Alps have been very difficult in the first part of the winter with high avalanche risks and thin snow in many places. Despite the tricky conditions, the FWT organizers together with the local guides found a face for the first stop of the competition season. Sunny skies and soft snow conditions provide the competition date was well worth the wait.
“We are certainly facing very tricky snow conditions in the Alps early this season,” said FWT General Manager Europe Nicolas Hale-Woods. “On top of the safety aspect which is our priority number one, we also have to deal with what the weather has to offer in order to launch an event. We had a small window last Friday and tried to complete the competition without success. So we all waited in Courmayeur Mont Blanc for a better chance to compete and finally ran the event today in great conditions on the sunny side of the Monte Bianco."
The competition began with men's snowboarding. American rider Sammy Luebke worked his way to the top of the men's snowboard podium with a super fast start and a playful run ending with a solid front side 360. Luebke's run earned the top score of 80.50.
“I identified my line right away on the first day,” said Men’s Snowboard Winner Sammy Luebke. “I considered other lines the last few days but am very glad I stuck with my original choice. The snow was really good with face shots throughout the venue.”
In second place, Sascha Hamm of Great Britain earned a 72.5 with a high velocity run featuring a well-executed high-speed double cliff-drop. Rounding out the snowboard podium in third place, Ludo Guilllot-Diat of France executed a hard charging style, which earned him a score of 70.25.
"I am glad that I got to take my run before the skiers. The snow conditions were amazing! I had a blast doging rocks, and riding fluffy snow. I ended up taking a completely different line then I had planned, and everything went well until a light slam at the finish line. At the next event I will concentrate more on the finish line."
The women will join the men for the second event in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc on January 25. The SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® then continues its competition schedule with Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen on February 1, Kirkwood, California on March 1 Revelstoke, Canada March 10, and will conclude in Verbier, Switzerland on March 22. The remainder of the schedule includes both men’s and women’s ski and snowboard competition.
For more information on the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® and Freeride World Qualifier events, please visit www.freerideworldtour.com.
Thu 23 January 14, Aspen, USA
After a week of back-and-forth, Shaun White has confirmed he will not be competing in either Snowboard SuperPipe or Snowboard Slopestyle this week at X Games Aspen in order to focus on preparations for the Sochi Olympics next month in Russia.
Fri 24 January 14, St Moritz, Switzerland
On the 22nd January 2014 Jamie Barrow, Britain’s fastest snowboarder, claimed two world records in one day for the fastest speed on a snowboard while being propelled by electric jet engines and the fastest speed for a snowboard towed by a vehicle.