The women of the Freeride World Tour (FWT19) started with a bang at the Ordino Arcalìs stop. Coming off her first win of the season in Fieberbrunn, Austria last week, Norwegian Hedwig Wessel dropped first and sent a line most of the men went for at the top, including a massive laid-out backflip that she stomped with assertion.
The bar was set high, but the bottom half of Vessel's run missed a few smaller airs, and a big backslap on the final air meant her score of 70.00 would be a baseline for the other riders. It was obvious that the judges wanted more that just one big trick from the rest of the competitors.
The third rider of the day, American Jackie Paaso, was certainly due for a big run. Her lines from earlier this season were marked by under-rotated backflips and unexpectedly tough landings. As she is a veteran of the sport, however, she was finally able to put together something special in Andorra.
Jackie Paaso's Winning Line at FWT19 Ordino Arcalìs, Andorra
Paaso's line featured two airs that were significantly larger than most of the other drops the women went for, and her tenacious approach helped "wow" the judges enough that she wasn't penalized too much for her backseat landing on the first drop. Combined with a particularly fluid descent, it was clear Paaso would be the woman to beat.
Paaso's two biggest rivals were FWT19 Overall Leader Arianna Tricomi, of Italy, as well as Alta, Utah resident Jaqueline Pollard, who is also in contention to take the Overall Title this year. Tricomi's run featured numerous airs throughout, including two 360s and a stomped final air. She lacked the amplitude and agression of Paaso to take the top spot, but her skiing was still good enough for second place.
Alta's Jaqueline Pollard flashed her run, skiing faster and smoother than all of the other competitors and taking on a number of airs without hesitation. The judges awarded her smooth skiing with a score that put her in third place, keeping her Overall Title hopes alive and well going into Verbier next week.
More about Pollard: Female results from Kicking Horse FWT19 Stop
The final stop of FWT19 will be held in Verbier, Switzerland, with a weather window that starts on March 23, 2019. Keep up-to-date with all of the FWT19 action on SKImag.com's FWT page, as well as SKI Magazine's Facebook and Twitter channels, and the FWT Website.