An incredibly talented field of athletes got their first chance to throw down this season among big peaks and deep powder. The 2018 Freeride World Tour (FWT) stop delivered for spectators and competitors alike as the first-ever event to take place at the legendary Canadian freeride destination was held in nearly picture-perfect conditions. Known for its technical lines, deep snow, and playful freeride-friendly terrain, Kicking Horse welcomed 47 riders in four categories for its inaugural competition and the only FWT stop on North American soil.
Competitors made their way to the 2504m summit, an alpine venue known as “Ozone”, where they launched into the 2018 season with spectacular lines. The residual fog burned off mid-morning and riders were treated to velvety Canadian powder all day long.
Alaskan Davey Baird (USA–1st Place) lit up the venue with a powerful series of airs featuring little hesitation, putting him on top of the podium. Snowboard legend Gigi Rüf (AUT) was not able to hold his line together after a clean 360 and therefore ceded his podium position to the always stylish Thomas Feurstein (AUT–2nd Place) and a solid run from Blake Hamm (USA-3rd Place).
Manuela Mandl (AUT–1st Place) launched into her run with a huge air at the top followed by successive stomped airs lower in the venue, winning the category by a large margin and picking up her first FWT win. Anna Orlova (RUS–2nd Place) picked her way through numerous unique and technical airs, earning second. Defending world champion Marion Haerty (FRA–3rd Place) rode strong with several technical line features, granting her a spot on the podium.
"I'm so happy that even while hitting sharks in the take off I still end up stomping everything!", says Manuela Mandl.
Eva Walkner (AUT–1st Place) took an untouched line with huge and technical airs, impressing judges and spectators alike. Arianna Tricomi (ITA-2nd Place) maintains her high level as she powered through the technical top part of the venue with speed and then perfectly executed a cliff zone at the bottom of the venue. Confident and solid riding put Kylie Sivell (CAN–3rd Place), the only female Canadian skier at the competition, in third place.
”I wanted to go a bit bigger on top but still, I won so I'm super stoked, snow was amazing and that was super fun to ride !”, says Eva Walkner.
Pent up energy lead to huge airs and incredible riding in the Ski Men category. The local favorite and rising star Logan Pehota (CAN-1st Place) skied a phenomenal line starting off with a massive 360 into an enormous air off the nose of one of the biggest features of the venue, ending up with one of the highest scores in FWT history (98/100). Markus Eder (ITA-2nd Place) threw a big and stylish 360 into a cleanly stomped cliff line lower in the venue. “Mad” Ivan Malakhov (RUS-2nd Place) dropped in with his trademark fury, hitting all the features as big as possible with clean style.
"So I just won the first stop of the FWT! On my home terrain! I couldn't ask for anything better, honestly it's just like a dream!", says Logan Pehota.
The FWT is taking advantage of the weather, in order to re-stage the Hakuba Japan stop that was pushed back due to difficult weather and snow conditions. It will be happening today, Tuesday the 6th of February at 16.30 PM Central European Time!