The Tyrolean village of Fieberbrunn Austria hosted the last stage of the Swatch Freeride World Tour before the finals in Verbier, Switzerland. With the fantastic freeriding conditions, fresh powder, and beautiful blue skies, riders were fired-up to give the mountain their best shot and attempt to secure a place in the finals. With the small village filled to capacity with over 3400 spectators, riders delivered an awesome performance. Fresh powder snow on the aesthetic North face of the Wildseeloder (2117m) allowed the skier and American hero Drew Tabke to light up the venue with his creative lines and massive 360 into a smooth backflip. Jonathan Charlet (FRA) kept the snowboaders’ level high with a run that defines the word ‘fluid.’ The women are certainly not be left out; local ski favourite Eva Walkner (AUT) displayed some impressive riding and snowboarder Liz Kristoferisch cranked out some adrenaline-filled lines, bringing it home for Austria.
Ski Men: Drew Tabke’s (USA) mixed high-level big mountain skiing with smooth freestyle tricks in his typical trademark style. Tabke’s line was a treat to watch and upped the ante for other riders. "Fieberbrunn is an awesome place to ski and the mountains here are amazing. I had a good line with a back flip and a 360. It’s going to be a close competition between Sam Smoothy (NZL) and I at Verbier", said Tabke.
Kevin Guri (FRA) charged into second place with a huge double air and screaming-fast line. Tabke moved up one notch and is now in 2nd place on the World Tour while Sam Smoothy (NZL) maintains his leads. With a rough crash early in the event, previous favourites such as Oakley White-Allen (USA) were not able to hold it together for a podium finish. As always, the Swedish bullet Reine Barkered fired a high-speed line with stomped airs bringing him to a 3rd place finish.
Snowboard Men: Jonathan Charlet (FRA) rode a creative line with a technical couloir entrance and a couple of solid airs. Charlet’s creative approach was enough give him 1st place finish and raise the bar for other the snowboarders. "My Run was very good, I’m very glad to be here in Austria. It is the first time I have ridden here. Many people took the line I initially intended to ride, so I chose a new one where nobody else went. I had jumps, I had a straight line. We had good powder! Now I have the chance to win the tour at Verbier!". Charlet now sits on top of the overall Freeride World Tour Ranking.
Flo Orley (AUT) delivered his patented solid line style and technical riding. As impressive as Orley’s line was, it was not enough to place an Austrian on the top of the men’s snowboard podium. The Frenchman Aurelién Routens (FRA) rode a powerful line with a big double-set air that brought him into a respectable 3rd place.
Ski Women: There must be something in the girls’ water because they certainly took it to the next level. Eva Walkner (AUT) proved she wanted the podium with a powerful full-throttle line and big stomped airs. "It is so amazing to win in Fieberbrunn! The snow was perfect and everything came together exactly how I expected it to. It’s always difficult to manage risk and smooth, fluid skiing…but I did today in Fieberbrunn with a smooth, fun line". Walkner has moved up the ranks and now has to top American Angel Collinson to take the overall lead. The Swede Christine Hargin (SWE) kept her composure stayed on her feet for a smooth run, riding fast top to bottom and putting her in second place. Coming in third place, the Kiwi Janina Kuzma (NZL) showed her fellow athletes how to ski powerfully with several stomped airs on a creative and aesthetic line.
Snowboard Women: The girl snowboarders definitely put on an amazing show today with Liz Kirstoferitsch (AUT) standing on top of the podium with an innovative line that started with switch riding and came around with a half-cab (riding backwards and then jumping in the air a forward-riding stance) and some solid airs. "I was really nervous before the event but now that I skied my line and won, the the stress is gone", said Kirstoferitsch.
Shannan Yates (USA) put the pedal to the metal on a powerful, technical line with clean airs. Yates bold line and confident riding landed her a second place finish. The Kiwi rider Maria Kuzma showed the girls a fun time with a creative line choice and a 3rd place finish. Overall leader Maria DeBari keeps her number one position despite her absence at Fieberbrunn.
Next Stop: Swatch Freeride World Tour Xtreme Verbier, 24th of March, 2012.