North American’s lead on Freeride World Tour

13th January 2012, by Chris Gill

Into the void in St Moritz – one of the 2011 venues  [(c) J Bernard / Freeride World Tour]

Into the void in St Moritz – one of the 2011 venues [(c) J Bernard / Freeride World Tour]

North American riders dominated the first round of the Freeride World Tour, which took place in Revelstoke Canada this week.

A Canadian won the ski competition and an American took the snowboarding top points, on what turned out to be a glorious day on the mountain. The skiing freeride event took place on Revelstoke’s Mac Daddy face, in the heart of its back country slopes and with steep, exposed lines to tackle.

Canadian Kye Petersen dominated the field, having produced a crisp, clean line down the slopes. He is a contender for the overall title, and some are saying that he will be difficult to beat if he is consistent in his current form.

Second place went to US rider Oakley White Allen, who impressed the judges with his super fluid line. Third was Drew Tabke who tackled the technical face full-on, jumping and stomping almost non-stop in the lower section.

Top European contenders Aurelien Ducroz and Samuel Anthamatten both crashed out of the competition after attempting huge drops. But two Frenchmen did reach 4th and 5th places.

The ladies class was dominated by North Americans, when US skiers Angel Collinson, Crystal Wright and Jesse McMillan took a hat-trick first, second and third on the podium, after some thrilling riding that included huge jumps and a straight-line finish.

In snowboarding, the event moved to the Mackenzie Face for some big mountain riding. The highest score of the day went to US competitor Ralph Backstrom, claiming 92.67 points out of a maximum 100 points. Backstrom’s approach to the difficulties of the mountain face was to take an aggressive line. He said, “I stayed on my feet, I went really fast, pretty fluid, I kind of white-roomed myself once or twice. My line had some nice features. I am really stoked – we had really good snow.”

French snowboarder Jonathan “Douds” Charlet from Chamonix came second and US rider Blair Habenicht came third, with a score of 90.00. There were six women competing too, of whom Maria DeBari finished in top place. Her smart, fluid and fast line down the steep face impressed the judges – putting her 25 points ahead of her nearest competitor. French and US women took the other podium positions to end a thrilling first round of the tour.

Next stop: Chamonix on 21-22 January. Europe’s famous mountain slopes should provide a thrilling setting for the event. It will be closely followed by a hop across the Mont Blanc range to the Italian resort of Courmayeur for third stage in the men’s event on 24 January. Other venues include: Norway, Austria and Switzerland – for the classic Verbier finale.

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