For Immediate Release August 10, 2013
EL COLORADO, CHILE (Aug. 10, 2013))-The North Face Chilean Freeskiing Championship by Cristal Light, the first stop of the 2014 Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ), a 4-star qualifying event for the SWATCH Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2013 (FWT) concluded today on Santa Teresa Face at El Colorado resort under perfect blue and sunny skies with top notch conditions. The stop is the only Freeride World Qualifier event in the South America.
El Colorado resort received nearly a foot of new snow within the few days leading up to the even making the conditions on Santa Terese face, the 2,500-vertical-foot venue in the Chilean Andes backcountry perfect for the competition.
The finals day started with the women freeskiing competitors. Finishing fourth overall after the first day of competition, Hazel Birnbaum of Kirkwood, California, came out victorious with a fast and fluid run top to bottom, linking numerous features and stomping a high-speed double cliff drop at the bottom earning her the highest scoring run of the whole competition, an 87.00. That score added to her day-one score gave Birnbaum a total cumulative score of 159.00. Birnbaum’s total was17 points ahead of the rest of the female competitors and earned her 1,800 FWQ points for the 2014 season.
“Hazel skied a lot stronger than the rest of the women’s field and displayed she had the strength and talent to ski the run top to bottom,” said head FWT judge Hugo Harrisson. “She finished her run with a nice double drop which she executed with no hesitation. She was the only skier that didn’t have any mistakes, explaining why she earned the highest scoring run of the day.”
Continuing on the women’s freeski podium in second place was Laia Castellarnau Plaza of Spain. Plaza rode fast and confidently on the rider’s left side of the venue, successfully hit one of the middle cliff features and then picked a creative line through the exposed bottom portion of the venue. She earned a total score of 142.00 and 1,400 FWQ points. Alaina Huestis, the American rider out of Snowbird, Utah, skied an aggressive top to bottom run which landed her the third place podium spot with a total score of 135.67 and 1,100 FWQ points.
Next for the day were the 20 men’s freeskiing competitors all ready to battle it out on the picturesque Chilean backcountry terrain. At the end of the day, it was Jim Sorbe of France who claimed the first place position at El Colorado. Sorbe dropped fall line into Santa Teresa face, hitting back-to-back features through his run, and finally was the only male competitor to attempt and successfully hit a mandatory 25-foot foot air at the bottom of the venue earning a cumulative score of 145.67 and 1,800 FWQ points towards the 2014 season.
“Jim displayed his top-level riding skills for two days straight,” said FWT announcer Max Kuszaj. “After day one, Jim was in the first place position by nearly three points and had to dig deep to hang on to the victory, laying down an aggressive run that he concluded with an impressive high consequence air which kept him in the lead for both days.”
Andrew Rumph of Aspen, Colorado, USA took the men’s freeski second place spot by skiing a fluid run, which consisted of a number of features, and capped his run off with a 20-foot air receiving a total score of 143.33 and 1,400 FWQ points. Having traveled all the way from Italy, Zeno Cenon landed the third podium position with two days of consistent, fluid, aggressive riding earning himself a cumulative score of 139.67 and 1,100 FWQ points.
The Backcountry.com Sickbird Belt Buckle Award went to the women’s winner, Hazel Birnbaum of Kirkwood, California, USA. Hazel’s final run performance earned her the highest scoring run of the whole competition (even the men).
“It was great to be back at El Colorado, with amazing conditions like we had on Santa Teresa face,” said FWT Region 2 Americas Competition Director Bryan Barlow. “I was extremely impressed with way the athletes skied, and it was great to have the local Chilean competitors holding their own against the international field. This event really sets the stage for the 2014 competition season.”
The Freeride World Tour is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing on the biggest mountain resort venues. Riders compete one at a time and receive an overall score from a judging panel based on numerous categories including line difficulty, control, fluidity, technique and style. The event features natural terrain features found on the most exciting format possible. A start gate is positioned at the summit with a finish gate at the bottom. The best complete runs win. The sport is similar in context to big-wave surfing with skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and couloirs. Competition runs are enhanced with progressive big jumps and mach-speed turns at an aggressive pace.
About The North Face Chile
The North Face, the outdoor market leader always innovating to continue to inspire its consumers to never stop exploring, meet in this championship to the international elite of freeride skiing. The brand will be represented by the outstanding athletes of the team The North Face, winner of the 2010 tour Griffin Post (USA), Jacqui Edgerly (USA), Drew Tabke (USA) and the Chileans Cristóbal “Poplar” Diaz “and his sister Soledad Diaz , which also earned podium during the date 2009. They leave their energy in the high jump cliffs to try to win the title of the Andes in this global celebration of snow sports.
Mountain Sports International, Inc. (MSI)
Mountain Sports International (MSI) is a private company, founded in 1997, to develop and produce action/adventure sports events and programming in North America. MSI operates the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face, in addition to several other properties and concepts. MSI launched MSI Live in 2009, to provide live HD webcast production, content management, encoding, and satellite uplink & delivery. MSI provides event management services, infrastructure and expertise for high-end brands, including The North Face, Red Bull, Subaru, UFC, Burton and Sierra Nevada. MSI matches brand and culture, company and credibility, to create sought-after events that help to define the action sports culture. For more information, visit www.mtsports.com.