As the Freeride World Tour pack picks itself up and prepares to head over to the hallowed faces of Alaska for the first time, here’s a round up of what went down over the last two events for the snowboarders which, due to adverse weather conditions, both ended up being held in Andorra.
Although the ski women managed to get their runs in in Fieberbrunn Kitzbueheler, Austria, the rest of the riders had their start times pushed back and back through the weather window until the organisers were given no choice but to hold two events in Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra.
So, the first of the contests went off as planned with Frenchman Jonathon Charlet leading the charge, putting down the run below to secure himself the top spot, popping a cab 180 to start before bringing out the legs of steel to power through what weren’t exactly ideal snow conditions.
During the first leg in Andorra, Kiwi skier Sam Smoothy managed to put down one of the all time lines in freeride contest history which inspired the riders to start getting extra creative in second event. All except Britain’s Sascha Hamm of course, who as usual went straight for biggest drop available on the course, sending it! Unfortunately he didn’t quite stick the landing this time, but it was enough to just see him through into eighth place overall on the tour so far, which means that the gentleman madman will be heading to Alaska next month with the top half of the pack. Nice work Sascha!
Jonathon Charlet was able to carry his confidence through from the weekend and take home the 1st place spot once again, throwing a front three before going into a double then one of the bigger straight drops of the day. He now leads the tour overall, a whisker ahead of Austrian Flo Orley, in turn just in front of Ralph Backstrom.
In the womens Estelle Balet from Switzerland was also able to make it for two victories on the new venue – despite taking a slight tumble she was able to hold on and stomp a big air and some clean, creative lines through a mini couloir which also put her into a strong first place overall for this season so far.
And with that, the rider lists can now be halved. The lower half will drop out of the rest of the tour whilst the top eight men and top seven women will now progress to Alaska for the first ever time in the tour’s history. The same riders will then travel back to Europe for the final event on the calender, the legendary Verbier Xtreme on the Bec des Roses. The qualified riders are:
Mary Celia Boddington