The world’s best freeriders put on a spectacular show today as they competed in the sixteenth running of the Nissan Xtreme, the sixth and final event of the 2011 Freeride World Tour. With the overall tour tiles still up for grabs in all four categories, riders tested their skills on one of freeriding’s most legendary faces, the Bec des Rosses in Verbier, Switzerland to see who would join the elite few who have been able to call themselves Freeride World Champion.
On a gorgeous day with fresh snow and bluebird skies, in front of 7,000 cheering spectators, men and women skiers and snowboarders attacked the steep 600-meter face in a technical battle that challenged the complete skills of every rider. Prior to the event, organizers closed the top looker’s right of the face due to safety considerations, however several riders used creative line choices to find their way through the labyrinth of rocks further down the ridge, some to access the main cliff in the center of the venue that was the key to winning today’s event.
FWT top three: Samuel Anthamatten (2nd), Aurelien Ducroz (1st), Jeremy Prevost (3rd)
Of the five men skiers who were still in contention for the overall title, it was Aurelien Ducroz (FRA) who skied the best line of the day – an outstanding run including two massive cliff drops and fast, confident riding on the lower section of this challenging face. His performance was good enough to not only win him the top spot on the Xtreme podium, but also the 2011 Freeride World Champion title. Samuel Anthamatten (SUI) and Jeremy Prevost (FRA), both in their first season on the Tour, finished as runner-up World Champion and third place overall respectively. Prevost placed second on the day, with fellow countryman Adrien Coirier taking third, making it an all French podium at the Xtreme.
In the men’s snowboard division, it was the Austrians who dominated the 2011 season. Mitch Tolderer (AUT) charged the mountain today, riding well enough to place second on the day and take the 2011 Freeride World Champion title. Fellow countrymen Flo Orley, sixth on the day, takes the second spot on the podium after a year of solid performances. Defending three-time Freeride World Champion Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) won the prestigious Xtreme for an impressive fourth time and placed third overall for the season.
Flo Orley, Mitch Toelderer, Xavier de Le Rue
On the women’s side, Janette Hargin (SWE) won both the Xtreme and the overall tour title for the female skiers, and Anne-Flore Marxer(SUI/FRA) accomplished the same feat, winning both the day and the overall title for the women snowboarders. With consistent performances all year, Snowbird local Angel Collinson skied her way to fifth place in the Xtreme and a very respectable second place in the overall standings.
Big shout outs to the three other American skiers in the event, Drew Tabke who took sixth place in the Xtreme in his first time competing on the Bec de Rosses, Squaw Valleys own Jackie Paaso who took fourth for the women, and Jess McMillon who finished in sixth. Check out http://www.freerideworldtour.com/verbier-386.html for videos of the top three ski and snowboard runs.