Monday, March 21, 2011

Freeride World Champions Crowned in Verbier

On a gorgeous day with a fresh blanket of cold snow and bluebird skies, riders competing on the Bec des Rosses skied their best lines in an effort to join the elite few who have been able to call themselves Freeride World Tour Champion. Prior to the event, organizers closed the top looker’s right of the face due to security reasons. However, several riders used creative line choices to find their way through the labyrinth of rocks, some to access the main cliff that was the key to winning in Verbier.
Out of the five men skiers who were still in contention for the men’s overall ski title, it was Aurélien Ducroz (FRA) who skied the best line of the day with an outstanding run including two massive cliff drops and fast, confident riding on this challenging face. His performance was good enough to win him not only the top spot on the "Xtreme" podium but also the 2011 Freeride World Champion title. Samuel Anthamatten (SUI) is runner-up World Champion and Jérémy Prévost (FRA) takes third place overall, both in their first season on the Freeride World Tour. "Everything went perfect for me today. I was really surprised nobody went on my line and thought to myself, ‘You guys gave me a big present!’ I jumped two big cliffs; the second was even bigger than last year. I love the Bec des Rosses because it requires very technical skiing and I’m so happy to win here. I’ve been waiting for this title. Now I can go with a light heart into my sailing season", said Aurélien Ducroz.
In the Men’s snowboard division it was the Austrians who dominated the 2011 season. Mitch Toelderer (AUT) charged the mountain today, riding well enough to score him the 2011 Freeride World Champion title. Fellow countrymen Flo Orley takes the second spot on the podium after a year of solid performances. Defending three-time Freeride World Champion Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) won the prestigious "Xtreme" for an impressive fourth time and placed third overall for the season. "Ten years ago I started my freeride career here in Verbier. I won the Xtreme and got stuck in the scene and now I am super happy to win the Freeride World Champion title ten years later. I’m stoked to finish the tour and end the season well with this great result", said Mitch Toelderer.
The women skiers stepped up and put on a remarkable show today with the highest level of riding ever seen on the Freeride World Tour. Former Olympic Swedish ski racer Janette Hargin stunned the crowd with a fluid line that included several cleanly landed cliff drops. Her incredible performance earned her today’s win and the 2011 Freeride World Champion crown. Angel Collinson (USA), in her rookie year on the tour, took second overall and Janina Kuzma (NZL) is third. "I’m just so happy I can’t describe it. I was pretty nervous this morning and I just tried to keep it together. I had a good plan but I was not really sure if I would find my way down. But I made it, I found my cliffs, stomped my landings and skied with a pretty good flow. This venue fits perfectly for the girls and this is the way to continue, to find a venue that is a little bit easier than the men’s and that way everyone is charging and you get better skiing", said Janette Hargin.
In the Women’s snowboard category Anne-Flore Marxer (SUI/FRA), better known for her freestyle skills, won today’s event as well as the 2011 Freeride World Champion title. And she did all this as a wildcard in her first season on the tour! The overall season rankings were rounded out with Liz Kristoferitsch (AUT) in second and Ursula Wohlschlager (AUT) third. "The Bec des Rosses is by far the most beautiful face and the conditions today were without a doubt the best of the season. It’s important for me to point out that while this face is beautiful it’s far from being easy. I was thinking that I would take a steep line to take speed and jump a lot of cliffs but in the end I decided to be safe partly due to the sluff and hidden rocks. This title makes all my efforts this season worth it. The Freeride World Tour has been a great experience. I can’t wait to come back next year!", said Marxer.
In addition to a total cash purse of $60,000 for today’s event, each of the 2011 Freeride World Champions wins a Nissan Juke.

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