After a difficult week with snow, wind, and poor visibility the first contest of the Freeride World Tour, the Nissan Mammoth Challenge, was finally held in California on Friday 25 January. With cloudy skies and light snowfalls, but enough visibility for riders and judges to carry out the contest, many of the biggest names in the world of ski and snowboard impressed the judges and local public with great action on fast, solid lines and huge air.
55 of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders contested in the first ever contest of the Freeride World Tour in Mammoth, California. With the massive snowfalls of the previous days, giving at least two feet (60-80 cm) of fresh snow on the face, the competitors rode fast and convincing and went for huge air with impressive cliff drops, landing in between the pine trees, cheered on by the thrilled local public at the bottom of the face.
The competition was as tough as it gets. The only chance for podium was to perform impeccable runs with no errors and perfectly executed jumps. Each rider carried out two different runs on a double face with two optional starts and many different line options, with interesting terrain and big cliff jumps. The accumulated points from both runs set the final result.
Four of the Nissan Sports Adventure team competed and all of them made the podium on this first event of the tour.
It was famous snowboarder Géraldine Fasnacht from Switzerland who lead the charge for Nissan and landed her first jump in such deep powder that she had to crawl out of her hole. Besides that, the choice of her lines, her fluidity and solid runs brought her to the 1st place. In the women skiers’ category Marja Persson from Sweden, once again proved that she probably is the most explosive female rider at present, unfortunately she had a small fall and lost some points which put her on third place.
In the men’s contest it was the Freeride World Tour number 1’s that had to settle for 3rd place’s with snowboarding Cyril Neri from Switzerland, who started his run with an impressive back flip before taking a fluid line down the mountain face. French man Aurélien Ducroz, skied a super smooth line down the face and ended his run with a front flip right before the finishing line.
Legendary skier and mega star Glen Plake has been present in Mammoth since the qualifying contest, Nissan Mammoth Quest, last week, and was judging the skiers during the Nissan Mammoth Challenge. His fellow judge Dino Raffaud (FRA), co-organiser of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes, commented the high level of the contest: “The level on this first event of the Freeride World Tour is simply huge, it promises an incredible season in terms of suspense and show. What we saw today is a real pulse test of the high level freeride in competition, a tasty mix of pleasure and commitment…"
Next stop – Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi / Krasnaya Polyana The second event of the Freeride World Tour will take place this week on the other side of the planet, in Russia. The contest, with 44 participating riders, will take place in Krasnaya Polyana / Sochi, the host resort of the Winter Olympics 2014. Famous for its legendary heliskiing the contest will consist of two runs where the second one will be heli-lifted to one of the west Caucasus magnificent mountain ranges with the top half of the field (22 riders in total). The first possible contest day is the 31st of January.
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