Tignes, 4 March 2008
– Two more contests to go before the first ever Freeride World Champions, men and women, will be revealed. The world’s best freeride skiers and snowboarders have just completed a week of top level freeriding at the Swatch O’Neill BigMountain Pro. In a few days it is time to meet up again for the Nissan Freeride de Tignes and then the final stop of the Freeride World Tour in Verbier for the Nissan O’Neill Xtreme one week later. The suspense is growing with a very tight ranking. Who will be crowned Freeride World Champion in skiing and snowboarding in 10 days? Stay tuned to find out…
The Freeride World Tour started off in January with the Nissan Mammoth Challenge, before heading to the Nissan Russian Adventure, at the 2014 Olympic host resort, Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi in Russia in early February. Last week, the male riders showed their skills at the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro, a mobile event in the Alps. Legendary snowboarder Jeremy Jones won the event overall with fast and fluid riding and Swede Kaj Zackrisson won the skiers category, with powerful skiing, taking huge air and riding at 112 km/h at one stage of the contest! We are now close to the final epilogue of the Freeride World Tour.
This weekend, the top 45 male and female riders are meeting up in Tignes four the fourth contest, Nissan Freeride de Tignes, Saturday 8 March. A number of freeride contests have already been held in this resort, famous for its freeriding with a number of local stars, like the Freeride World Tour contestant, re-known skier and Paris-Dakar stage winner Guerlain Chicherit: “It’s a special feeling to ride a contest at home, a lot of friends will watch the contest and I really want to do well, even more than elsewhere.”
Local organiser Dino Raffault, who has a vast experience in sport events management including a number of freeride contests in the Alps, is looking forward to seeing the best riders of the sport in Tignes: “We are happy and proud to be part of the first edition of the Freeride World Tour and to host the best riders of the circuit for a few days here at the number one freeride resort of France.”
All is at stake to crown the Freeride World Champions in less than two weeks but there are a few riders standing out so far. On the male skiers’ side the battle for top podium is tight between the French veteran skier Seb Michaud, soon 35, and one of the oldest riders in the skier’s line up, and the young but talented former freestyler Henrik Windstedt from Sweden. Henrik Windstedt, 24, has not been competing in world circuits of freeriding before, but has five victories of the Nordic Big Mountain Championships under his belt. The young Swede is currently leading the Freeride World Tour (FWT) ranking, watched very closely by second placed Seb Michaud. Aurélien Ducroz, the French skier from Chamonix, is nipping at their heels on third position after a great performance at the Big Mountain Pro, taking second place behind Swede Kaj Zackrisson, who won a second year in a row. Kaj Zackrisson could not collect any points for the FWT ranking though, as he entered the Big Mountain Pro as a wild card.
Austrian snowboarder Flo Orley is leading the snowboarders’ ranking list after two solid contests, taking a win in Russia and a second place in the US with fast, fluid and steady runs. He maintains in the lead of the ranking system after a fifth place at the Big Mountain Pro. With an impressively strong first run at the Big Mountain Pro, French boarder cross world champion and snowboard pro Xavier de le Rue took second place and has therefore climbed to second overall on the FWT ranking followed by the two Swiss riders Cyril Neri and Alex Coudray, both on third place.
On the female side, the riders have not been competing in the Freeride World Tour since the Nissan Russian Adventure in early Februaryy. Among the world’s top female freeriders American Jesse McMillan is leading the skiers ranking, closely followed by Swedish Marja Persson and Alaskan Elyse Saugstad, both on second place. Elyse Saugstad was qualified from the Freeride World Qualifying Series and has proved to be one of the strongest female skiers out there.
On the snowboard side Austrian Bibi Pekarek is leading the Tour, and in points Swiss pro snowboarder Geraldine Fasnacht is second but unfortunately she had a bad landing in Russia, tore her crossed ligaments and cannot continue riding this season.
The Grand Finale: Nissan O’Neill Xtreme de Verbier, 15 March (reserve days 14-23 March)
Since its start in 1996 the “Xtreme” has been considered the most prestigious event in the world of freeriding. For the “grande finale” of the Freeride World Tour the elite of freeride skiing and snowboarding will tackle the mythical North Face of theBec des Rosses, 3222 m, Sunday 15March.
Live Coverage of Nissan Freeride de Tignesand Nissan O’Neill Xtreme Verbier
In Tignes and Verbier, for the first time ever, a Freeride contests will be broadcasted live, thanks to a satellite feed, with different camera angles directly from the mountain. With a growing interest of the sport of freeriding, the live feed will get a broader audience as close as possible to the action.
The two contests will be transmitted live on
as well as on TSR2, National Swiss TV.