First Contest of the Freeride World Tour
Nissan Mammoth Challenge
Postponed Due to Snow and Weather Conditions
Mammoth – Sochi – The Alps – Tignes – Verbier
Mammoth Mountain, 22 January 2008 – The first contest of the Freeride World Tour, the Nissan Mammoth Challenge, was planned to kick off on 22 January on the McGee Mountain in the outskirts of Mammoth Mountain CA. Due to difficult snow conditions and poor visibility the contest is postponed to one of the following days, depending on weather and snow conditions. The world’s best starting field of male and female skiers and snowboarders is present in MammothMountain, promising top performance for the Nissan Mammoth Challenge.
Event coordinator and world re-known snowboarder Steve Klassen, who is also competing in the event, comments the conditions of the McGee Mountain: “The combination of flat light caused by clouds coming in and the fact that the snow conditions have deteriorated the last days because of North Easterly winds, was the reason why the organisers decided to postpone the event, which definitely was the best decision for the riders”.
This week is “Mammoth Safety Week” at MammothMountain, corresponding well with the contests of the Freeride World Tour, where safety is top priority. Today was a perfect example. The variable snow conditions with patches of ice, wind packed snow and a few powder pockets were too difficult and not safe enough for the riders to compete in. Mountain guides and ski patrollers analyse the snow conditions rigorously before each contest. Mountain Guides and ski patrollers are also placed on the face during the contests and a helicopter with a doctor and medical equipment is on stand by below the face. All competing riders are obliged to wear integral helmet, harness, back protection, avalanche transceiver, and back pack with shovel and probe.
Last week 70 riders participated in the pre-qualifying contest Mammoth Open, 14 January, and 92 riders challenged the first contest of the Freeride Qualifying Series Nissan Mammoth Quest, 15 and 16 January. The riders’ level was very high already in the open contest and even more impressive in the qualifying contest. Squaw Valley local Ralph Backstrom probably epitomised what the open contests and the qualifying series of the Freeride World Tour are all about. Backstrom, an unknown rider, entered the open competition and won the Quest in the men’s snowboarding division. He then went on and won the qualifying contest and will therefore now compete in the Nissan Mammoth Challenge and potentially qualify for the entire Freeride World Tour.
The podium winners of each discipline of the Nissan Mammoth Quest were awarded invitations to join the world’s absolute elite of freeriding in the first contest of the Freeride World Tour Nissan Mammoth Challenge.
Legendary skier and mega star Glen Plake has been present in Mammoth since the qualifying contest Nissan Mammoth Quest last week, and will with three other judges (four judges per discipline) be judging the skiers during the Nissan Mammoth Challenge.