Sunday, January 31, 2010

Candide Thovex Wins Nissan Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Against the beautiful backdrop of the Mont-Blanc the Freeride World Tour 2010 kicked off in perfect weather conditions on the 500 metre "Pentes de l’Hôtel" face at the Brévent ski area in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. The 50 best freeriders on the planet put on an amazing performance, showing the 3000 cheering spectators the top of their game on the committing face and challenging snow conditions. The most impressive run of the day was the clean victory of French freestyle legend Candide Thovex, debuting in freeride contests, announcing a promising future.
After the last few days’ of snowfall the blue skies finally presented a dream like arena for the athletes and spectators of the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. However, the snow conditions were tricky for the competitors. A lot of the fresh powder was taken down by the first riders and parts of the face exposed rock hard snow, and at times ice. Control was decisive. First rider down, skier Julien Lopez of France set the tone with a spectacular line; steep, committing and clearing a massive cliff drop at the end (5th). Many variations and original lines followed.

Ski Men
The Nissan Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc was the famous French freestyler Candide Thovex’s first Freeride World Tour contest, and with his explosive run he secured a solid victory. Thovex chose a unique line down the face, literally flying through the course at full speed, stomping several solid cliff jumps, cheered on by the excited Chamonix spectator crowd. Swedish Kaj Zackrisson is one of the veterans on the tour, and a Chamonix local since 10 years. The strong skier took second with an extremely powerful and consistent run, taking clean and big air. American rising star and newcomer Tim Dutton impressed the judges as he chose an original line down the face; creative, exposed and searching the good snow.

"I couldn’t sleep very well last night as I wasn’t really sure of my line, and I felt a lot of pressure this morning. But I went up early and got a good vision of the course. I looked for good snow and a line I could enjoy. I spotted some nice Alaska-like spines with great snow! I chose not to do some tricks and to focus on fluidity. I wanted to come down safe and sound. It has been really cool and the atmosphere is great, which was very motivating at the start. I am really happy of the victory and to share the podium with my friend Tim Dutton who soon will be at his home town in Squaw Valley. I am really motivated for the coming events!" said Candide Thovex.

Snowboard Men
The most consistent run among the snowboarders was Austrian Mitch Toelderer’s line, making an interesting line interpretation in the middle, steep section of the course, taking two solid airs towards the end. The Chamonix local Douds Charlet showed the international elite the local spice with two stylish jumps right at the start, with one clean "360 front side", securing second. The only Briton on the line up, James Stentiford, had a very fluid and fast run, with full control down the icy part of the face, giving him the third place of the podium.
Female riders
With several of the top female skiers injured (Ane Enderud, Marja Persson), American Jess Mc Millan (3rd on the Freeride World Tour Ranking 2009) proved to the crowds the high level of female skiers. With the most original line of the day Mc Millan took a massive cliff drop and skied a fast line including a couple more solid jumps. Reigning Freeride World Champion snowboarder Susan Mol (USA) had a convincing run down the face with an interesting line interpretation and fast controlled turns.