International freestyle snowboarder Mathieu Crepel returned to the Swatch Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour with a bang last weekend.

After taking more than 12 months out from top-flight competition, the French rider made his much-awaited return to the TTR battlefield at the maximum rated 6Star Burton European Open in Switzerland. Lining up in Laax alongside one of this season’s heaviest fields of uber-shreds, Crepel made a big impression on judges and spectators alike with his consistent aerial antics, placing 4th in halfpipe and 5th in slopestyle.

Speaking after the halfpipe finals, where he narrowly missed out on a podium spot despite a run consisting of stomped back-to-back 10’s followed up by back-to-back 9’s, Crepel said: “I spent most of last season filming my video part with Standard Films and shooting tons of photos, so it’s good to be back in the competition mix. This event gives me a really good understanding of how I measure up against the top riders in the world. More importantly, I now have a better idea of what I need to work on in order to beat guys like Kevin [Pearce] and Shaun [White]. Looking back over the last few days, I’m really stoked with my two results and can now take a lot of confidence going into the rest of my season. “

At the age of only 24, Crepel is already considered one of the sport’s most successful competitors. Having won the TTR World Championship Title in 2006 and represented his country in the Olympics in the same year, Crepel cemented his reputation in 2007 by clinching the FIS Halfpipe & Big Air World Championship titles. Today, Crepel is hungrier than ever to reassert his dominance of the podiums. After a successful week shredding the Swiss Alps, Crepel is now heading to the Far East where he’ll switch his attention to the FIS World Cup event in Korea. More specifically, Gangwon is where he’ll continue his bid to qualify for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. Armed with one of the biggest bag of tricks in professional snowboarding, you can be sure Crepel will give himself every chance of walking away with a gold medal next winter.

Guillaume Valladeau, CEO of Agency Sports International (ASI) Management, is pumped to see Crepel challenging for top honors once again, and said: “Mathieu is one of the sport’s biggest natural talents, and his recent performances at the Burton European Open will undoubtedly have the world’s best riders looking over their shoulders. We’re really looking forward to watching Mathieu and supporting him over the next 12 months as he focuses on achieving one of his lifelong ambitions: winning an Olympic gold medal. His unwavering level of focus and outstanding ability to juggle the demands of a top international pro snowboarder make Mathieu a real pleasure to work with, not only for us but also for all his sponsors."

Stay tuned for more updates as we track Mathieu’s path to Vancouver, and shed more light on how the rest of his winter season progresses.

Mathieu Crepel is sponsored by Quiksilver, Rossignol, Orange, Fiat Freestyle Team, Domaine Tourmalet.