It’s crunch time and Kristofer Turdell’s second place finish in Fieberbrunn secures him the 2018 FWT Ski Men. The stakes could not get any higher: a world title race, qualification for the FWT finals at the Xtreme Verbier and the 2019 season all on the line today in the Austrian Tyrol, and the world’s top freeriders did not disappoint. With only two days of rest following a stellar competition in Andorra, riders in every category were on fire for “Crunch Time” in Fieberbrunn.
Defending champion, Marion Haerty (FRA-1st Place) took the top podium spot with solid riding from top to bottom, sticking her entire technical line with confidence. Manuela Mandl (AUT-2nd Place) earned another 2018 podium with strong fluid riding, putting her in the number one position in the overall rankings. Anna Orlova (RUS-3rd Place) linked up multiple airs with smooth and confident riding for a solid result and overall ranking going into the upcoming finals in Verbier.
“I’m so happy to be back on the top of the podium, I feel good and full of energy. I’m gonna try to keep on going like that and just enjoy!,” said Marion Haerty.
The Austrians came ready to represent on their home turf in an extremely high-level competition for the category. Defending FWT Fieberbrunn winner, Lorraine Huber (AUT-1st Place) took to the air early with a beautifully executed double followed by a huge drop, which she stomped perfectly to take the win. Eva Walkner (AUT-2nd Place) came out of the gate flying and linked up multiple big airs with confidence, fluidity and control to earn her a spot on the podium next to her compatriot. Rachel Croft (USA-3rd Place) stood proudly on the FWT podium for the first time in her career after stomping a high-confidence big mountain run.
"I am so happy that I will compete at The Bec des Rosses in Verbier. I had not been not sure if it would work out. This victory means so much to me, especially after my slow start into the season." says Lorraine Huber.
Austrian snowboard legend, Gigi Rüf (AUT-1st Place) earned his first FWT win thanks to a textbook run, which began with him smoothly slashing his way through the big mountain spine features at the top of the venue followed by a stylish 360, true to form for the backcountry freestyle specialist. Joining him on the podium was wildcard, Elias Elhardt (GER-2nd Place) whose trademark playful and flowy style was on full display and fellow Austrian, Thomas Feurstein (AUT-3rd Place) who earned himself a second podium this week after stomping a solid technical run with multiple 360s.
“We found great snow conditions here in Fieberbrunn though it’s already March. I’m over the moon to be first on the podium. I’m just super happy!,” said Gigi Rüf.
It was a day of firsts for the rookie, Mickael Bimboes (FRA-1st Place) who claimed his first career FWT win and podium thanks to hard-charging big mountain confidence, perfectly stomped airs and a huge must-stick gap jump over the lower couloir, which has never been seen before in a competition on the “Wildseeloder” venue. Kristofer Turdell (SWE-2nd Place) stood on the podium for the second time this week and clinched the 2018 FWT Ski Men championship after stomping a nearly perfect technical run with tons of air time. Former champion, George Rodney (USA-3rd) was back in form perfectly stomping one of the biggest airs of the day, which landed him back in the winner’s circle.
“What a surprising day! Having a very late start with my bib number and still getting some good snow and…even winning!,” said Mickael Bimboes.
The phenomenal 2018 season is coming to a dramatic Grand Finale in just a couple weeks at the Xtreme Verbier where the world champions will be crowned.