NEW NAMES ON THE PODIUM CAUSING OVERALL STANDINGS TO CHANGE AND CREATING SUSPENSE TO THE END
George Rodney (USA) win in men's skiing – Estelle Balet (SUI) and Jonathan Charlet (FRA) win snowboard: Alaska qualification now settled for all categories
1. George Rodney (USA) 88.67
2. Wille Lindberg (SWE) 78.67
3. Felix Wiemers (GER) 77.73
1. Jonathan Charlet (FRA) 86.67
2. Colin Boyd (USA) 85.33
3. Ralph Backstrom (USA) 85.00
1. Estelle Ballet (SUI) 74.33
2. Nicola Thost (GER) 62.33
3. Anouck Mouthon (FRA) 60.00
Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra - February 18, 2015 – The competition making it up for the Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler-Alpen stop was staged in Vallnord-Arcalis today on a windblown Baser Negre face powdered up with a 15-20 cm layer of fresh snow. While enough to soften up most of the landings it provided good grip on most of the face, but also some traps that saw some of the favorites getting challenged on balance. This opened up for new faces on the podium keeping the suspense of the overall standing till the end. With this contest all riders have completed their qualification for the next stop of the tour, which will only include the top 7 women skiers, top 5 women snowboarders, top 16 men skiers and top 8 men snowboarders.
The winning run of the day was delivered by George Rodney (USA) who has been on a roll since last Friday where he placed just off the podium in 4th position. Today he laid out a very exposed line going rider's left, 'goating' it down some snow patches to a big drop below. Stomping it perfectly, he finished off by sending a long-lasting snapshot spread-eagle, taking huge air from the bottom cliff of his line. With a line and score that truly set itself apart today, his friends ran into the finish area to celebrate with him as he received an impressive 88.67 out of the 100 possible. "After seeing Sam's run last week I was inspired to go into some no-fall zones," he said at the bottom with a big smile seeing himself in Alaska for the next Tour stop in 3 weeks' time.
The 2nd place went to Wille Lindberg (SWE) who showed off his jump turns from some well chosen features, both into the center couloir and down on the exposed snow patches in the bottom section. He connected it all in a unique run with striking precision and skill resulting in perfectly controlled flow and a score of 78.67.
Felix Wiemers (GER) made it into the 3rd position. Having had time to review his plan A after seeing many of the riders having trouble in the landings, he opted for a tactical change, playing it smart up top and setting up for a spectacular bottom cliff that he stomped. His scor of 77.33 put him in the lead which he held onto for a quite a while.
Tour leader coming into this event, Reine Barkered (SWE) got caught in the rocky section. The solid Swede came a out with no scratches and relief rather than anger was his immediate reaction after his run: "I had a crash today – in a very unexpected place! I didn't think it was going to happen there – maybe later – but it was one of those crashes where I'm just happy not to be hurt rather than being mad for falling."
The top 16 men skiers qualified for Haines, Alaska are:
1 Rodney, George USA 4690.00
2 Anthamatten, Samuel SUI 4630.00
3 Barkered, Reine SWE 4590.00
4 Heitz, Jérémie SUI 4515.00
5 Pelton, Conor USA 4460.00
6 Bergada, Juan ARG 4420.00
7 Collomb-Patton, Loic FRA 4175.00
8 Tabke, Drew USA 3920.00
9 Lindberg, Wille SWE 3770.00
10 Smoothy, Sam NZL 3730.00
11 Wiemers, Felix GER 3130.00
12 Slemett, Leo FRA 3105.00
13 Lyons, Charlie NZL 2790.00
14 Hausl, Stefan AUT 2665.00
15 Altmann, Garrett USA 2535.00
16 Guri, Kevin FRA 2360.00
It took a Jonathan Charlet (FRA) in great shape to get ahead of two hungry Americans on the podium today. With a 2nd win in a row today, this begins to look like a fantastic come back season for Charlet. He rode fast and action packed as usual, cramming in multiple highlights with a 360, an exposed double and a huge bottom feature with nose grab giving him a score of 86.67. He was happily surprised that all his action worked out with no mistakes, just like last week: "I didn't think I could repeat last weeks performance this well again, but it went well. I'm really stoked to be going to Alaska. I hope we will have great conditions and I'm really motivated!"
Colin Boyd (USA) took the 2nd place opening a new, very original and technical line. He connected the features and couloirs very well starting off with a 360 and ending with a very fast double shooting down through a narrow opening where a butt touch probably cost him the first place.
Ralph Backstrom (USA) also showed good use of the terrain, taking the top feature over the longest part and going bigger and bigger as he came further down. He was scored 85.00 putting him into 3rd place in today's competition as well as in the current ranking.
Foto ©freerideworldtour.com DAVID DAHER
The top 8 men snowboarders qualified for Haines, Alaska are:
1 Charlet, Jonathan FRA 5840.00
2 Orley, Flo AUT 5635.00
3 Backstrom, Ralph USA 5250.00
4 Luebke, Sammy USA 4965.00
5 Boyd, Colin USA 4720.00
6 Rizzuto, Jamie CAN 4265.00
7 Galvin, Christopher USA 4040.00
8 Hamm, Sascha GBR 3715.00
The harder landings on the face today caused trouble for many of riders and it was no different for the female snowboarders. Estelle Ballet (SUI) understood to take advantage of this. With a solid run, sprayed with smaller airs all along she kept a good flow, taking home another 1st place with a score of 74.33. This puts her in a comfortable lead of the current standing. Estelle is thrilled about her lead and going to Alaska: "It's a really good day for me! I was starting the day in a bad way this morning and was worrying about the contest, but finally I really enjoyed it and rode exactly the line I wanted to. I am qualified for Alaska now, I can't wait to be riding there!" she commented after her run. Underscoring the big theme of the day, she went on to celebrate with her good tour buddy, Anne-Flore Marxer (FRA), who crashed in an audacious line today but made the cut being in 4th position of the current standing.
Newcomer to the tour Nicola Thost (GER) took 2nd place in today's competition with a score of 62.33 giving priority to speed over air. Not riding in Chamonix however, this was not enough to make the cut for this former queen of boardercross. Anouck Mouthon (FRA) stepped it up with her first FWT podium today and a score of 60.00 giving her a 3rd place, just front of her sister, Elodie Mouthon (FRA), who chose a more risky line with bigger features, but made a mistake after one of her airs. With her 3rd place today, Anouck just made the cut in the hot seat and moves on to the next stop together with her sister and the four riders currently ahead of her. Last year's overall champion, Shannan Yates (USA) can see herself moving down into 3rd place in the current standing very close behind Elodie after a rare crash from the otherwise very consistent rider today.
The top 5 women snowboarders qualified for Haines, Alaska are:
1 Balet, Estelle SUI 6800.00
2 Mouthon, Elodie FRA 5980.00
3 Yates, Shannan USA 5935.00
4 Marxer, Anne-Flore SUI 5290.00
5 Mouthon, Anouck FRA 4890.00
See more at: here
The qualification for the next stop in Haines, Alaska in the women's skiing category was already determined February 13th.
The top 7 women skiers qualified for Hanies, Alaska are:
1 Eva Walkner (AUT) 6900.00
2 Silvia Moser (ITA) 5230.00
3 Hazel Josie Birnbaum (USA) 5020.00
4 Lotten Rapp (SWE) 4930.00
5 Jaclyn Paaso (USA) 4545.00
6 Francesca Ace Pavillard-Cain (USA) 4500.00
7 Lorraine Huber (AUT) 4055.00
To conclude this event the FWT General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI) said after the competition: "With the challenges we have met from Mother Nature this year, it has been quite a fight to make sure that all riders got in three results to base the qualification for the next stops on. The riders have shown fantastic action and I wish to the organizers in Fieberbrunn, Kappl and Vallnord-Arcalis for showing outmost flexibility, hospitality and not least willingness to help make this possible!"
©freerideworldtour.com david daher