Friday, January 27, 2012
Best of the Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix Mont-Blanc 2012
The Men's snowboard contest saw local Chamonix rider Douds Charlet take first place followed by tour newcomer Ralph Backstrom from the USA and another French rider Aurelien Routens in third. Rock solid in Revelstoke, Douds was again on the top of his game taking a creative line on the extreme lookers right of the face. He was smooth and clean throughout, a text book Freeride lesson for any youngsters with world tour ambitions. "It's great to win at home in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. I threw a front side 360 at the top and dropped four cliffs overall. I tried to stay fast and clean and I think I achieved that".
Winning a men's ski contest on the Swatch Freeride World Tour deserves a place on the list of "hardest things to do in sport". Sam Smoothy from New Zealand who has battled through qualifiers and injuries over the last few seasons proved that persistence always pays off and hit the top rung of the podium for the first time. In second place was one of the tour's most consistent performers Reine Barkered from Sweden and in third, tour newcomer Oakley White Allen from the USA who following his second place finish in Revelstoke will go to the top of men's ski rankings. Smoothy chose the lookers left line taken by a number of riders and looked to be fighting for a place on the podium with his control and fluidity in the upper face. Then he took a slightly different angle into the final section and dropped an absolute beauty of a cliff - longer, cleaner, sweeter than his rivals. Smoothy was almost speechless afterwards: "Winning here in the home of Freeriding, it doesn't get better, it's amazing".
When it comes to Freeride locations, Chamonix Mont-Blanc has few rivals, so it's no surprise that the Freeride World Tour was back for a third year in 2012. As home to the stunning Mont-Blanc, Chamonix is arguably the world's most renowned alpine resort. Host of the first ever official Winter Olympics in 1924, skiers and snowboarders come from all over the world to take on its vast range of steep "couloirs".