Henrik Windstedt (SWE) and Matt Annetts (USA) took advantage of a feature-filled Corvatsch north face to post amazing runs that put them at the top of ski and snowboard categories.
Going into today’s event all eyes were on Frenchmen Aurélien Ducroz (FRA) following his win in the first event of the Freeride World Tour 2011. However, Henrik Windstedt (SWE) threw down a jaw-dropping line that was fast, smooth and included several cleanly stomped airs that boosted him to the top of the podium. Second place was wildcard Torgrim Vole (NOR) who took the lead early and held it until Windstedt, starting third from last, edged him out. Just after Windstedt crossed the finish line, perennial favourite Seb Michaud (FRA) dropped in and charged one of the most creative lines of the day including several nice airs and a cleanly stomped backflip at the end, which was enough to secure third place.
Local riders told Freeride World Tour athletes they had rarely seen the north face of the Corvatsch in such great condition for the contest. The steep (45˚-60˚), 550meter face included two starts and what head judge Martin Winkler (AUT) described as "myriad opportunities for winning lines including broad open faces, plenty of goat lines and loads of features of all sizes". Once on the face riders found a variety of conditions from knee-deep powder to thinly-covered landings and grippy snow that made it difficult to maintain control through the high speed finish.
Snowboard’ event showed that seemingly-invincible Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) can, in fact, be beaten as the three-time Freeride World Champion seemed to have an off day. Rather, the day belonged to Matt Annetts (USA) who launched his run with a nice jump followed by a good four-meter drop that had taken out the skier just before him. He then hit the middle of the course with fast smooth style before finishing with another clean air at the bottom. "I really like this face. Its long and there are lots of things to do on the way down. For not having been snowing in the region for quite some time the snow was amazing. I had a fairly safe run. I wanted to stay on my feet. I knew there were a lot of flat landings. If you would go too fast on that face today you would hit the landings too hard. I’ve had a few podiums on the tour but it feels good to finally be on the top!", said Matt Annetts. Filling the remaining podium spots were Mitch Toelderer (AUT) who took the lead early with a fast, fluid run that included several drops. His run was just enough to push him past third place finisher Flo Örley (AUT) who is returning to competition after taking a year off.
Today’s results at Engadin St. Moritz open up the overall race in both men’s ski and snowboard events with any number of riders still in contention for the title of Freeride World Champion.