The Nissan Montafon 2008, Austria and the second leg of the Freeride World Qualifying Tour saw the action move from Mammoth to the Vorarlberg in Western Austria, home to some of the best mountains in the country.
Nissan Sports Adventure (NSA) snowboarder Eric Themel (AUT) was at the helm of organising this qualifying event in his home resort. He’d been rewarded with almost a metre of new snow in recent weeks, which combined with the blue skies and relatively stable snowpack added up to an amazing weekend of freeride skiing and snowboarding.
Friday, the first day of the event, was held at Silvretta Nova where an open competition, with free entry and the prize to qualify into the main event on Saturday was up for the taking. With more than 90 registered riders, competition was fierce. At the pre event rider’s meeting, the judges stated they wanted to see fluid, stylish and technical lines and riders listened hard. The level of riding was impressive and proves how progressive the discipline of freeriding is becoming with some radical lines being taken, and this was just the first day!
Day two of the competition took place at Hochjoch with yet another glorious blue-sky day. The finals consisted of the best riders from the open to compete on two separate faces, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon which was reserved for the elite qualifiers from the first run in the morning.
After a tricky and steep hike in, the first run showed a huge variety of lines being ridden, some technical, others burly, but all being laid down with as much fluidity as possible. A couple of small slab avalanches were set off, nothing dangerous, but a reminder that mother nature is in charge and we’re only here with her permission.
The second run was on a steep, wide face which the riders had to hike up in order to make their run. Bomb craters, where the avalanche security team threw dynamite prior to the competition, pockmarked the face, but these marks reassure the riders that the face is as safe as possible. Located in the central part of the resort the finals created a great atmosphere with crowds of several thousand people lining the slopes cheering on the riders. The lines being taken got more hardcore as the afternoon progressed, with massive front flips, back flips, and spins off the huge rock drops and cliffs becoming the norm.
By the end of the day, every rider was stoked and they all went back up the mountain to party into the early hours!
1. Daniel Rietmann (SUI) 2. Pavel Lvov (RUS) 3. Will Brommelsiek (USA)
1. Aline Bock (GER) 2. Fanny Gras (FRA) 3. EIisabeth Pahl (RUS)