The remaining qualified twenty-seven athletes of the Swatch Freeride World Tour competed today on the so-called “dream stop” and last competition before the season finale in Verbier, Switzerland. Always a highly anticipated event due to the renowned terrain and remote nature of the competition site, the level was exceptionally high today as riders exploited their final opportunity to earn points before the final.
Unsettled weather marked the days preceding the event but this morning the skies cleared and revealed nearly perfect snow conditions on the 760m vertical meter (2493ft) Alaskan face. Riders and spectators were treated to one of the most spectacular competitions in FWT history.
The story of Haine’s ski men field was the showdown between Frenchmen Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) and Léo Slemett (FRA). Collomb-Patton opened the men’s field with a powerful run, taking a large double-set into an impressive 360 high on the venue. Only two riders later, Slemett dropped into a similar line but executed a smoothly stomped backflip and finished strong in the lower venue. As a result of these finishes, the overall ranking features an unprecedented three-way tie with Kirstoffer Turdell (SWE) whose day ended in a crash.
"I am pretty fired up that all this waiting time paid off. Conditions were blower and the safety seemed to be good; no avalanches, nobody got hurt, and everybody is happy!", said Sammy Luebke, 2017 World Champion Snowboard Men.
Shannan Yates (USA) is one step closer to the title today as she tapped into her experience and linked several airs in a more technical part of the venue, earning first place. Despite being close on Yates’ tail, Marion Haerty (FRA) was not able to secure the coveted title of world champion today and settled for second place position.
"I just found out that I won. I am ecstatic! This is such a beautiful day. There were a lot of questions about the weather and what would actually happen; we had the fog and the waiting game and the snow was so so fantastic! I skied my line where I was planning on going. I may not have done it as smooth as I would have liked, but I had fun", said Shannan Yates, 1st Snowboard Women: