Two days of competition under blue skies and exciting runs by a strong field of riders are what 6th edition of Slovenia’s freeride event will be remembered for.
Saturday’s final run of 50 riders concludes Freeride Battle, a two day ski and snowboard freeride competion held on Mt. Kanin in western Slovenia, a Freeride World Qualifier two star event.
The winners are Ana Khankhevic (AMPLID) of Russia women’s ski, Austrian Manuela Mandl in women’s snowboard, German freeride rookie Dominik Hartl in men’s ski and Slovenia’s own Matevž Maček in men’s snowboard categories.
It was only in fourth edition of the Battle on Kanin (the event has been held on another mountain twice before moving here) that this competition was lucky enough with the weather to have two complete competition days. 80 riders from 17 countries entered Friday’s qualification while 50 went on for another run on Saturday.
The competition site was similar both days with the start moved a bit lower and the area expanded on final day for more line choice and more fresh snow. The snow conditions were a bit less ideal than the perfect weather: snow varied from soft fresh powder to some frozen crust, ice patches and sections of heavier snow. Top riders still delivered excellent runs to drive the vocal crowd crazy.
Anna Khankhevic has been freeriding professionally for last two years and is Russia’s number one female freeride skier. She also won this year’s FWQ event in Monte Rosa, Italy: “It was difficult to choose the line, I found one on each side of the terrain. I started less than perfect, the snow conditions were not as good as yesterday. In the middle of my run I got disappointed and angry, then I pulled off an excellent bottom part, riding everything I planned to. Even a hard part with a drop very big for myself.”
Manuela Mandl shares two things with Anna. They both won on Monte Rosa and both messed the first part of their final runs on Kanin. But Manuela’s excellent bottom part made up for last year’s
disappointment when Freeride Battle’s competition was cancelled for girls due to weather conditions. “I made a mistake on top, I went for a drop and even approaching it I knew it will be impossible to clear in these conditions. But the rest was great. I enjoyed gaining speed from the hard packed chutes. I’ve been dropping in as second rider of the day in both runs and had lots of untouched powder all for myself. So much better for me than last year when I was so disappointed about the cancellation. But I memorized the face last year so I knew what to expect here and it helped.”
Believe it or not, it was the first freeride competition for 21 year old Dominik Hartl. He just switched from freestyle a couple of months ago due to an injury. And he loves it. “I chose a line and I did it, including the big double at the bottom! For sure I didn’t expect so much from entering the event. I didn’t set goals to myself in freeriding, having fun with friends on great terrain like this remains my priority.
Matevž Maček is no stranger to Freeride Battle. He is the most successful Slovenian snowboarder in event’s history, a winner from early years and a multiple podium finisher. “Having two competition days was great. I had the last number on both days and was riding in heavier snow yesterday, producing a less than stellar run. But it was better today, fluid with three jumps, lots of control and no problems. I guess that prevailed. I didn’t see much of other runs from the top.”
Final results – ski women:
1. Ana Khankhevic (Rus)
2. Stina Jakobsson (Swe)
3. Jenifer Farde (Swe)
Check also the qualification run: