Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2013 (FWT) concluded today on The Cirque at Kirkwood Mountain Resort under warm and sunny skies with variable snow conditions. Lars Chickering-Ayers (USA) took the win in the male skiers’ field, Ryland Bell (USA) won the male snowboarders’ competition. Jacklyn Paaso (USA) took first place in the female skiers’, while Margot Rozies (FRA) came first in the female snowboarders’.
The highly competitive men’s ski field was chomping at the bit to demonstrate their skills on The Cirque’s many features and steeps. At the end of the day, it was Lars Chickering-Ayers out of Mad River Glen, Vermont (USA) who claimed the Kirkwood title. Chickering-Ayers smoothly navigated a very rocky section at the top of the venue and charged through an incredibly technical chute on the bottom looker’s right side.
"I wasn’t really planning to win here", remarked an elated Chickering-Ayers. "I just came out to spend time with family and have fun. I have skied these types conditions in competition in the past and knew how to deal with them. The skiing was my favorite part of the day".
Julien Lopez of La Plagne (FRA) took the men’s ski 2nd place spot by skiing a fluid run, which linked a number of creative airs featuring a giant back flip. Charlie Lyons (NZL) landed the third podium position with a playful run consisting of a big air off the top and several significant airs throughout the venue.
With this second place finish, Lopez is now ranked 3rd in the overall tour rankings behind overall leader Drew Tabke (USA), who got 13th today, and Jérémie Heitz (SUI), who took 4th place.
The male snowboarders were faced the most difficult conditions of the day as the afternoon brought low light conditions and firmer, settled snow to the venue. Wild card recipient Ryland Bell out of Squaw Valley, California (USA), earned first place. His run scored very well in the air and style category as he maneuvered several spins including a backside 360, a frontside 360 and another backside 360 with a grab toward the bottom of the venue.
"This was my first win ever", beamed Bell. "My stoke level is really high. I wanted to do tricks, try to flow and have fun".
Also out of Squaw Valley, California (USA), Sammy Luebke finished in 2nd place launching a Method Air at the beginning of his run. He continued with high speeds into the middle rocks of the venue hitting a number of airs along the way. The final podium spot in the men’s snowboard category went to Emilien Badoux of Valais Alpes (SUI). Badoux’s run was consistent and well executed with high-style aspects, such as his rodeo 540 near the bottom.
In the overall ranking, Emilien Badoux (SUI) is ranked 3rd now, behind tour leader Ralph Backstrom (USA) who got 6th today, and Sammy Luebke (USA) on 2nd.
Topping the field for women’s ski competitors was Squaw Valley, California local and crowd favourite, Jackie Paaso (USA). She skied a very smart and controlled run linking a number of airs through technical sections of the venue.
"I have had a number of crashes this season and really needed a win. It feels great to come out on top", exclaimed Paaso. "I took my run down a notch this time because I needed to stay on my feet. Making it to the finish line was the best part for me".
Rounding out the women’s podium in 2nd place was Pia Nic Gundersen of Ånstadblåheia (NOR) who carved technical, polished turns through a tight tree section and managed to stay on her feet through a series of airs. Finishing out the top female skiers of the day was Ashley Maxfield of Jay Peak, Vermont (USA) who hit a nice air off the top ridge and continued to lace a number of features together for the 3rd place.
Nadine Wallner (AUT) is now leading the overall ranking ahead of Pia Nic Gundersen (AUT) and Christine Hargin (NOR).
Ranked 2nd twice in the first two events of the season, Margot Rozies from Pyrénées (FRA) finally managed her first top podium finish of the season. She had an incredibly fast and fluid run linking smooth and technical turns together the entire length of the venue.
"I felt a bit sick today actually, but think that removed some of the pressure", said Rozies. "I woke up this morning and considered not competing actually. However, I managed to get myself pumped for competition. It couldn’t have gone any better".
Continuing on the women's snowboard podium in 2nd place was Elodie Mouthon from Annecy (FRA). Mouthon linked two airs at the top of her run and chose a creative line at the bottom of The Cirque. Shannan Yates out of Snowbird, Utah (USA), chose a unique line compared to the rest of the competitors, which landed her the third place podium.
Margot Rozies (FRA) is first in the female snowboarders’ overall ranking, while Elodie Mouthon (FRA) is on 2nd and Laura Dewey (USA) on 3rd.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2013 (FWT), continues its competition schedule in Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal (AUT) on March 9, and concludes in Verbier (SUI) on March 23.