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Competitions and Events

Turdell Reigns Supreme at FWT20 Kicking Horse

With half the field crashing, the Swedish freeride skier pulled off a tricky backflip to take the top spot on the podium.

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The men of the 2020 Freeride World Tour (FWT20) have been going as big as possible, and the stop at Kicking Horse last week was no exception. The day saw a number of scary crashes for the ski men competition, starting off with Canadian Wild Card Logan Pehota, wearing bib number one, tumbling down a cliff face. France’s Wadek Gorak and Russian Ivan Malakhov both went for massive backflips right out of the gate on a feature Malakhov pioneered in 2018—the aptly named Malakhov Cliff—and both crashed really hard.

Kirstofer Turdell FWT20 Kicking Horse
Turdell sends the final (big) air of his run at FWT20 Kicking Horse.Photo courtesy of FWT / Dom Daher

Kristofer Turdell of Sweden took the Malakhov Cliff from the side with a quick backflip that he landed, and then skied the rest of the face with two more clean airs and a total of about seven turns. The judges saw enough for the Swede to snag first place, which provides Turdell with an ample opportunity to climb to the top of the leader board as the season continues.

‘”It was probably one of the fastest runs I’ve ever done,” said Turdell at the end of his run. “Maybe not in terms of speed, but I’m still having a hard time figuring out what I actually did because in my head it went so fast!”

Turdell’s countryman Carl Regnér Eriksson skied smoothly through Kicking Horse’s Ozone Face, nailing a backflip and two 360s throughout his run to snag second place. Alta, Utah native Andrew Pollard went as big at the start of his run, and then lined up a 360 on one of four more airs in his run, which put him in third place when the day was done. The American has demonstrated a new level of maturity in his freeride skills this season, and in doing so, has become the overall Men’s Ski leader for 2020.

Skiers who adventured to the zone that Craig Murray used to win last season were rewarded with lower scores this year. Murray himself finished in fourth place, just ahead of Tanner Hall in sixth, by putting down similar lines to last year but lacking the previously seen amplitude. FWT20 Season Wild Card Tim Durtschi went for a corked-720 in the same zone but did not land the trick successfully. 

One of the highlights of the day was when Japan’s Yu Sasaki took on an absolutely bonkers cliff on the looker’s left of the Ozone face, which he stomped cleanly. Sasaki has proven on social media that he can go big, and it was great to see him do so in an FWT competition. Despite a wobble at the top of his run, his air earned the Peak Performance Radical Moment award and a ninth-place finish.

FWT20 Kicking Horse: Full Event Broadcast

The next stop for the FWT20 will be in Ordino Arcalís, Andorra with a weather window from February 28 to March 4. All three of the FWT20 European stops will be broadcast live on the Freeride World Tour’s YouTube channel.

SKI Magazine is an Official Media Partner for the Freeride World Tour. For more freeride action and the latest FWT news, tune into SKI’s FWT channel.