While President Vladimir Putin was skiing on the opposite mountain, the elite of the sport of freeride skiing and snowboarding put on a great show at the second contest of the Freeride World Tour, Nissan Russian Adventure, today in Krasnaya Polyana / Sochi, the Russian host resort of the Winter Olympics 2014. The 43 participating riders proved their skill in a steep and committing first face in exceptionally beautiful scenery, and further freestyling the second section with front-, backflips and other creative riding.
From Mammoth, California to the West Caucasus in Russia in less than a week. And once again the world’s best freeride skiers and snowboarders experienced great powder for a part of the contest run that was held from the top ridge of the Krasnaya Polyana resort. The wide ridge with three different starting gates gave the riders the opportunity to choose many varied lines on the 350 vertical metre run. The top section was the extreme part with very steep, serious riding, narrow couloirs and big cliff drops. A lot of sluff was coming down making the route finding even more difficult but absolutely stunning to watch for the spectators. The second section of the run was more of freestyle in skied out terrain, where consistency and creativity awarded.
In the women’s snowboard discipline Bibi Pekarek from Austria had the cleanest run with an original, committing entrance, clean jumps and fast riding at the lower part of the run. Although Ruth Leisibach from Switzerland is not riding hundred percent of her capacity, because of a fall earlier this winter, she took second place with a stable run with two nice drops. All the rider’s concerns went to Swiss Geraldine Fastnacht, who hurt her knee landing a jump. Geraldine took first place in Nissan Mammoth Challenge last week. Bibi is currently leading the world ranking list of the Freeride Tour.
Earlier in the week it snowed heavily in Krasnaya Polyana on a very thin base, meaning high avalanche risk. The organisers of the Freeride World Tour had planned to execute a part of the contest on one of the big, stunning faces of the Caucasus mountain range, with a heli lift from Krasnaya Polyana. For safety reasons the decision had to be made to hold the contest on a shorter but still challenging face.
Photo: Christophe Margot
Next to come: Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro
The next stop of the Freeride World Tour will be in the Alps with the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro, starting in Chamonix 24 February. The Big Mountain Pro is a unique one week mobile event, including three contest days, taking the riders to some of the greatest mountain faces of the Alps, depending on where snow conditions are the best. The eight highest ranked male riders of the Freeride World Tour and five world class wild cards of each discipline will battle for the 80’000 USD prize purse.