Worlds Best Freeskiers Battle Hard in La Parva, Chile

Posted By: The Ski Channel on September 5, 2009 5:19 pm


La Parva, Chile, September 5, 2009—During the First Annual The North Face South American Freeskiing Championships, an international field of the world’s best freeskiers conquered McConkey’s run, South America’s finest competition venue. With nearly a foot of fresh snow, athletes from the Untied States, France, Canada, Chile, Argentina, and Switzerland congregated to enjoy a rare opportunity to ski and compete during North America’s summer months for a $10,000 cash purse.

With the top three men’s final scores separated by less than half a point, competition was fierce. But on his home terrain, 26-year-old Chopo Diaz (CHL) rose to the top as the clear winner with 40.88 points. He charged the venue with the fastest line of the day—also earning the coveted Sickbird award with his creative, aggressive blend of two large, stylish airs with stomped landings. On his heels, 2009 FWT Champion Julien Lopez (FRA) skied an equally aggressive fall-line run with his signature massive spread eagle in the crux of the venue, finishing just two-tenths behind Diaz. Rounding out the international podium, Romain Bellon (SWZ) pioneered an original line with fluid style, finishing less than a half point off the lead. 

“It was an honor to have the entire international freeskiing community at my home mountain,” said Diaz. “I’m honored to be champion, but I would have loved to ski a second run.”

Due to 100mph winds pummeling the venue on Saturday morning, the second day of the SAFC was unfortunately cancelled.

“I’m really happy for Chopo,” said Lopez. “Second is good, but I like to be first. I was really happy with the venue, but I wanted to ski one more run.”

Female freeskiing veteran Jacqui Edgerly (USA) won her first competition with a fluid, aggressive line with two solid airs. Jess McMillan, 2007 FWT World Champion, returned to competition with intent to win, taking six airs, skiing with energy and aggression, to finish just a half point off the lead. Chopo Diaz’s sister and local ripper Soledad Diaz, followed in her brother’s footsteps to show everyone that she is a legitimate competitor. The local favorite skied the fastest line of the female competitors.

“The freesking movement has truly returned to South America,” said Rodrigo Medina, La Parva’s marketing director who stunt-doubled as the competition’s forerunner. “The international freeskiing community’s presence in Chile was both an honor and a long time coming. We have enjoyed hosting this prestigious event and the first stop of the FWT and look forward to many more in the years to come.”