So it was the Nissan Russian Adventure by Swatch, the first leg of the Freeride World Tour that took place today, only this wasn’t in Russia and we had already had a stop on the tour in Chamonix. Nevertheless, these petty details aside it proved to be another spectacular contest, and another good day for newboy, Candide Thovex, who built on his lead. Due to adverse weather in Russia, the first leg had been moved back and relocated to Chamonix.
Only the men skiers and snowboarders took part of today’s contest, at the north east face of Aiguille Pourrie at the Flégère ski area. With an extremely high performance level, Frenchmen Julien Lopez and Xavier de Le Rue took victory. The multiple X-Games medallist skier Candide Thovex FRA and snowboarder Mitch Toelderer AUT are now at the top of the Freeride World Tour Ranking.
1- Julien Lopez (FRA)
2- Candide Thovex (FRA)
3- Seb Michaud (FRA) &
Henrik Windstedt (SWE)
1- Xavier de Le Rue (FRA)
2- Max Zipser (AUT)
3- Gennady Khryachkov (RUS)
With the early 9 am start this morning, the competitors had, from the starting point at 2500 metres of altitude, to negotiate 500 vertical metres of cliff jumps, snow loaded spines, big wide open fields and steep chutes at an average steepness of 40 degrees. The experienced athletes put on a different show, than at the first FWT contest last Sunday, with bigger air, throwing off stylish tricks and fast lines in the great snow conditions and varied features.
The tendency in freeriding is that athletes express different style on varied terrain but not necessarily extreme. The face chosen today by the organisers corresponds exactly with this criteria. As Nicolas Hale-Woods, organiser and founder of the Freeride World Tour, comments:
“We choose as varied competition faces as possible, so that each rider can express their own style the best possible way. Some of the athletes origin from the alpine scene and some from freestyle. Our judging system is developed so that each style could be awarded the winning line. After a challenging competition on Sunday, the contest today showed a different face of freeriding, with many impressive manoeuvres in the air and a very tight line up. This shows the variety and the vivacity of our Sport.”
Winner, Julien Lopez took a very fluid line hitting some pretty good drops on the way down and sticking all of them, including a double stager and a backflip. Candide maintained his lead in the overall tour in this his first attempt. As before he bounced down the mountain fluidly, taking his airs at speed, and stomping a big 360 at the end of his run.
More video to follow, but here are the current rankings for the Freeride World Tour: