Lars Chickering-Ayers Swatch Freeride World Tour #4, Ski Men, Silver Fox Snowbird, Utah, March 5, 2014 Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Action Sports
After an avalanche forced a change in the competition venue at Snowbird, the Swatch Freeride World Tour needed the full weather windown to host the competition. The wait paid off with the event running under a clear blue sky and fresh snow.
“Snowbird is such a great resort and for Mother Nature to give us fresh snow and a bluebird day, you couldn’t ask for a better day to have a competition,” said Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, competition wild card and local Snowbird rider. “To have this competition at home here in Snowbird is so much fun for me. Snowbird has hosted so many big mountain competitions and the have the Freeride World Tour here now is just a new level for the resort.”
The back up venue on Snowbird, Silver Fox has played host to many freeride competitions in the past. Its steep open face features a wide variety of lines that allow for each rider to pick their own unique line and show off their skills on the hill.
“Silver Fox has so many lines to pick from,” said Ski Men’s winner Lars Chickering-Ayers. “There are open faces to make huge snow spraying turns, tall rock faces to ride on, and steep cliff drops that if you don’t hit just right, it can be a complete disaster.”
Women’s snowboarding started the competition with four of the seven riders being local Snowbird based riders. 2013 FWT Champion Elodie Mouthon of France managed to win her category with a super fast run down the fall line through the steepest section of the venue known as North Chute scoring a 75.75.
Local Snowbird, Utah, USA rider Kaitlin Elliot chose a creative line with an exceptionally smooth straight-line at the bottom landing her in third place.
“It felt so great to be able to put a clean run down here at home and to be in third place I could not be more excited,” said Elliot.
After two third place finishes in previous events, Austria’s Lorraine Huber stomped a massive run in the cliff section giving her the win and her first place finish on the Swatch Freeride World Tour.
“I have had two solid results so far on the tour this season, so my strategy was to really step it up with a bigger feature and it worked out perfectly,” said Huber. “I studied the venue for hours and days really and the hard work paid off. I am so excited to get my first win on the Tour.”
Jamie Rizzuto also used his recent second place finish in previous events to carry the momentum into Snowbird. Using the North Chute and a massive 360, Rizzuto took the top spot and with his win he claimed his first ever Tour win as well.
“I actually was not going to hit one of the cliffs, but I changed my mind after I watched Lorraine (Huber) hit it,” said Rizzuto. “The air looked really awesome so I decided to go for it. I tried to stick to the fall line, and wanted it to flow and have fun and it worked out for me in the end.”
The pace of the event and the buzz in the large crowd on hand to watch picked up when the Men’s Ski Competition began.
Massive airs, backflips over cliffs, steep fast skiing and huge tricks off a natural kicker brought roars and cheers from the crowd.
“The fourth stop is a critical stop for the us the riders to determine how continues in the tour, plus we want to progress the event as well,” said Loic Collomb-Patton.
Earning the highest score of the day, a 90.25, Lars Chickering-Ayers used his massive airs to secure his win.
“We always want to go big and take the sport to a new level,” said Chickering-Ayers. “The run here at Snowbird on Silver Fox allowed us to showcase the sport to the world through the online stream and the huge crowd that was here to watch. The snow was great and the level of riding is just getting bigger and better. Your going to see some the of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world as this tour continues.”
Snowbird Swatch Freeride World Tour #4, Silver Fox Snowbird, Utah, March 5, 2014 Photo: Tyler Tate/T Squared Action Sports