[If you interrupted re-watching triple corks to see Xavier scare himself, scroll down to the bottom. We didn't enjoy watching that live.]
Ralph Backstrom took the Bec des Rosses to pieces this morning and is now the 2013 Freeride World Tour champion. You could be forgiven for getting distracted by the triples over at the X Games but the excitement didn't stop there. 130 miles away on the flipside of snowboarding 8 more big dogs were bound in and ready for an equally close points battle. With all to play for and just one shot at impressing the judges, 4 of the riders stood a chance of taking the crown. Dropping first into the best snow seen in Verbier for the final stop of the tour in several years, Backstrom set a high bar to for the rest to follow. Starting with the biggest drop from any of the snowboarders today, Backstrom picked a fast line through all the gnar and didn't hold back for one moment.
Aurelien Routens was 4th in the series when he woke up this morning, still the outsider for the win. With nothing to lose he rode the same side of the Bec as Backstrom - only skipping out the first hit - and just sent it all the way to the bank with barely a speed check in sight. That bagged him second place, and enough points to snake Sammy Luebke in the series.
Jonathan Charlet went even further to rider's right and through a bunch of rocks, picking a line more technical than a Horgmo rail section and finding the only soft landing under an inpressive drop. And check that 15m olly on his run out - Charlet doesn't exactly hang about.
Sammy Luebke had it all to lose - lying in first overall after Fieberbrunn and everyone else hoping to take him down. Dropping last it looked as if he had done just enough but clipping a rock at mach 10 in the landing of his last drop he tripped and washed out. It was a costly fall and left the judges with no choice but to give him 4th place, when he needed 2nd to stay ahead of Backstrom on points for the overall crown.
In other news, Xavier De Le Rue figured he'd take a line nobody else could even see, and as he said himself "fuck I almost died". And that's coming from a guy who fairly comfortable with stomp or die lines. On the approach to the 'line' he had in mind he clipped a rock whilst traversing through near on vertical terrain and cartwheeled towards an rocky lip whilst we all rapidly inhaled. Fortunately for Xavier he is not about to become the next youtube sensation of a GoPro clip slipping over a cliff. He just got back on his feet, brushed the snow off his goggles and straightlined over everything between him and the finish line as if he was trying to make up for the delay. You're a nutter Xavier, glad you'll be back for next year's tour.
For more videos and the exact points breakdown, click over to www.freerideworldtour.com