Jeremy Jones convincingly won this year’s Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro following two fast fluid runs which had all the other riders astounded, unanimously voting him the winner of the snowboard category and the majority of riders voting him the overall winner.
L-R: Xavier de le Rue (2nd); Jeremy Jones (1st); Mitch Toelderer (3rd).
“It wasn’t my goal to win,” said the American O’Neill highly experienced freerider. “I came here to ride fun lines and see what happened. To come out on top is an amazing feeling.”
Behind him in the snowboarding category was last year’s winner, Xavier de le Rue, who had a stunning strong first line, but was not as fluid on the second face of the competition. In third place was Austrian O’Neill rider, Mitch Toelderer.
Kaj Zackrisson won the skiing title for the second year running with his impressive double drops and adventurous lines down both faces. “I am very happy to win this for the second year,” said the ever-smiling Swedish skier.
Behind him was Aurelien Ducroz, the French skier from Chamonix particularly impressing with his drops and line on the second face, which had suited skiers a lot more than the snowboarders. In third place was the Swiss skier, Phil Meier.
In keeping with the unique format of this event, it was the riders who chose the winners of the competition. Sitting in the freeriding resort of La Grave, the 26 riders watched four hours of videos of every run from the competition, ranking each of their fellow riders – both skiers and snowboarders – over both runs.
The head judge from the Freerider World Tour was overseeing the whole process to make sure there were no major discrepancies. “You saw the mountain so it makes face for you to judge the runs,” he told the riders. “You know how steep it is, what was below and how dangerous it was.”
The results mean that Austrian snowboarder, Flo Orley, finishing fifth maintained his lead on the Freeride World Tour rankings following this event. “That saved my day,” he said on finding out his result after not being completely happy with his riding over the two days. “It has been great though, a good vibe, hanging out with friends.”
Fifth place after the week was enough to clear Henrik Windstedt into the lead in the Freeride World Tour rankings.
Following an award ceremony in La Grave, it was on to the closing party where the riders enjoyed the entertainment from a local band, before dancing the night away. With incredible riding, beautiful mountains and a good vibe amongst friends, it is an event that all the riders are looking forward to again this time next year.