From the Freeride World Tour — Winning a men’s ski contest on the Swatch Freeride World Tour deserves a place on the list of “hardest things to do in sport.” Sam Smoothy from New Zealand, who has battled through qualifiers and injuries over the last few seasons, proved that persistence always pays off and hit the top rung of the podium for the first time today in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France. (See the ‘Super Smoothy’ winning run, up top.)
In second place was one of the tour’s most consistent performers, Reine Barkered from Sweden. In third place was tour newcomer Oakley White Allen from the USA who, following his second place finish in Revelstoke, will go to the top of men’s ski rankings.
Smoothy chose the looker’s left line taken by a number of riders and looked to be fighting for a place on the podium with his control and fluidity in the upper face. Then he took a slightly different angle into the final section and dropped an absolute beauty of a cliff—longer, cleaner, sweeter than his rivals. Smoothy was almost speechless afterwards: “Winning here in the home of Freeriding, it doesn’t get better, it’s amazing”
In the women’s ski class, American Jackie Paaso, who delighted everyone with one of her trademark cliff jumps in the lower part of the face, took first place. In second was Angel Collinson, also from the USA and who seems to podium at every tour stop. In third, making it a great day for New Zealand riders, was Janina Kuzma.
Said Paaso, “I chose a line that suited my style and everything went to plan with two airs high in the face and another towards the end. I’m really looking forward to the next contest in Norway.”
The men’s snowboard contest saw local Chamonix rider Douds Charlet take first place followed by tour newcomer Ralph Backstrom from the USA and another French rider Aurelien Routens in third. The women’s snowboard contest was won by US rider Maria Debari. In second was French rider Margot Rozies, who has started the season in great form, and in third was another American rider, Shannan Yates.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour now moves on to Italy with a quick transit to Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc for the third men’s ski and snowboard contest of the season.
Men’s 2nd Place: Reine Barkered
Men’s 3rd Place: Oakley White Allen