FWT wraps at Snowbird, Utah
Switching to Snowbird
The 2014 Freeride World Tour has already visited Courmayeur, Italy; Chamonix, France; and Fieberbrunn, Austria, this year. The only U.S. stop of the tour was slated to take place this week at Kirkwood, Calif., but snow conditions required tour organizers to make a last-minute change of location to Snowbird, Utah.
The Snowbird contest was slated to run Saturday, but stormy weather, followed by unstable avalanche conditions, led to the event getting postponed to Wednesday. Athletes waited it out for days.
The contest venue was slated to be Snowbird's Mt. Baldy, but a ski patrol-triggered avalanche during scheduled control work before the contest wiped out the snow, so the contest was moved to a new zone at Snowbird called Silver Fox.
Men's Snowboard Podium
Canadian Jamie Rizzuto won the men's snowboard division, followed closely by Emilien Badoux from Switzerland and Aurelien Routens from France. "The air looked really awesome so I decided to hit it," Rizzuto says about his line. "I tried to stick to the fall line, and wanted it to flow and have fun. I remembered to have some soul."
Men's Ski Podium
Leading the men's ski field was Vermont native Lars Chickering-Ayers, whose younger brother Silas also competed in the contest. "It's awesome skiing with my brother. We are calm together," Chickering-Ayers says. Jeremie Heitz from Switzerland took second, followed by New Zealand's Sam Smoothy in third.
"I've been skiing this venue a really long time, and this is the first year the line I chose has looked a little more challenging with less snow," says Lars Chickering-Ayers, who won the men's ski division. "It makes the features bigger. I've never skied that line in a comp."
Women's Snowboard Podium
Elodie Mouthon from France won the women's snowboard division, followed by Estelle Balet from Switzerland and American Kaitlin Elliot in second and third, respectively.
The 2013 Freeride World Tour overall champion Elodie Mouthon earned another victory in women's snowboarding at Snowbird. She earned the highest score in her field for a technical and fast line down the steepest section of the venue called North Chute.
Women's Ski Podium
Lorraine Huber from Austria won the women's ski field. It was her first victory on the Freeride World Tour after many years of competing. "I have had two solid results so far on the tour, so my strategy was to really step it up with a bigger feature and it worked out perfectly," Huber says. "I studied the venue for hours and days really." Fellow Austrian Nadine Wallner took second and Pia Nic Gundersen from Sweden got third.
"The hardest part about judging is how many good runs there are," says FWT judge Eric Schmitz. "It's hard to place them in order. Typically the most fluid and cleanest run will draw out the winner." Here's Sam Smoothy on his way to third place in the men's ski division.
Up next for the Freeride World Tour? It heads to Revelstoke, Canada, next week for the second-to-last stop of this year's tour. The finale takes place in Verbier, Switzerland, in late March.