Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix

I just got home from the 3rd stop of the Swatch Freeride World Tour in Chamonix. I wish I could write something more exciting than what really happened at the comp: after hours of travelling, 2 weather days, inspection in challenging weather conditions, numerous riders meetings and interviews, getting up at 5:00am on the day of competition and pouring so much energy into one run, I had a stupid crash at the very start of my line by burying my ski tips into the snow. Sure it was quite flat light and there was a bit of a wind crust, but when I ski normally I rarely have crashes like that. It was super disappointing! My conclusion is that I’m simply too nervous. My plan of action to deal with my lack of contest experience is to ski as many comps as I can, there are a couple coming up in Austria during February before the 3rd FWT stop in Roldal, Norway: the Eric Themel Invitiational in Schruns and the 4-star Freeride World Qualifier in Hochfügen.

Regarding the competition itself, all in all it was a big success and a great experience to spend time on and off snow with some of the world’s best freeriders. Kästle team mate Jackie Paaso won the women’s event with a gutsy and strongly skied line, stomping all her cliffs smoothly and with confidence, so proud of her! Angel Collinson who is an amazing skier came in 2nd with a technical line and my room mate and line-discussion buddy Janina Kuzma from New Zealand came in 3rd with a fluid run and some stylish airs to the lookers right of the venue. The women put on a great show and the level of skiing was amazing!

The competition venue in Chamonix

Nissan Tram Face Squaw USA – 3rd Freeride World Tour Stop

The 3rd FWT stop was held yesterday, Monday, on the Silverado venue in Squaw Valley USA. We couldn’t ski the ledgendary Tram Face due to the snow conditions. The wet snow from the day before was frozen solid from the temperature drop and clear skies during the night. Lots of competitors were feeling nervous about skiing the Tram Face, then we had a large slab avalanche which was triggered from a person walking on the ridge above, and that was the end of that. The Tram Face remains unskied.

The FWT venue in Squaw, Silverado. The start was right next to the High Camp building.

Instead, Silverado offered competitors playful terrain to put up a great show for the hundreds of cheering locals, with riders pushing the limits with a ‘best of two runs’ format. It was the strongest female field I’ve ever competed in, with the 10 top riders in the world competing. The high point of the day was the women skiers stepping up the game with a great level of riding, taking the same big cliff jumps as the men and creative line choices. Local Squaw Valley skier and Freeride World Tour wild card Jackie Paaso was without a doubt the biggest crowd pleaser. She took a massive cliff jump at the bottom of the face, faster and higher than most of the men, challenging them for the second heat. Ane Enderud skied a solid technical line, placing her in 2nd place, and Squaw local and ski movie star Ingrid Backstrom executed a balsy move with a difficult air into a transition.

Henrik Windstedt won it for the men’s ski and Xavier de Le Rue for the snowboard with Shannan Yates winning it for the women’s snowboard.

Jackie Paaso killing it!!! ©NISSAN TRAM FACE 2010 SQUAW VALLEY USA / C.MARGOT

After landing on a rock and crashing on my first run, I decided to ski the same line I had planned for my 1st run, this time giving it some more juice so I would clear the rocks in the landing on my second air. I cleared the rocks all right, flying way further than I had thought, which meant I was too low to access the line I had planned on the skiers right. So my line lacked good drops in the lower section. I came in 8th, which has moved me down in the Freeride World Tour 2010 ranking to 7th place. As only the top 3 female skiers are invited to compete in the FWT finals at the Verbier Extreme, it probably means I’ll be ending my competition season now.

All in all, it was such an honour for me to be skiing side by side with undoubtedly some of the best female skiers in the world, to be part of it. I had a great time.