Freeride World Tour event underway at Sochi, Russia

Henrik Windstedt during today's Day 1 of the Freeride World Tour event in Sochi, Russia. Photo: C. Margot.

Henrik Windstedt during today's Day 1 of the Freeride World Tour event in Sochi, Russia. Photo: C. Margot.

Big Snow on Day 1 Means Fast Creative Lines at the Nissan Russian Adventure Sochi 2011

The Best Riders on the Best Mountains in the Ultimate Freeride Competition

From the Freeride World Tour — Rosa Khutor, Sochi, Russia (March 4, 2011) — Due to the abundance of great snow the Freeride World Tour athletes enjoyed a great powder day on Day 1 of the Nissan Russian Adventure Sochi 2011, at Rosa Khutor ski station, the future alpine site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The good conditions inspired the world's top freeriders to display creative riding and fast lines with big airs and spectacular tricks. Norwegian wild card Aasmund Thorsen impressed by winning his first Freeride World Tour competition on rental boots. Douds Charlet dominated the snowboarders with the most stylish run of the day.

Day 1 of the Nissan Russian Adventure Sochi 2011 took place on a 300 vertical meter face on top of the newly opened lift station Rosa Khutor in the Caucasian resort of Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi. The competition face was shorter and less committed than what the Freeride World Tour riders are used to but featured a playful terrain allowing the athletes to pull off a great show in perfect snow conditions. With big smiles on their faces the riders enjoyed a good start to their Russian adventure.

Ski Men Dominated by Scandinavians
The Scandinavian skiers had a successful day taking the top podium spots, and it is interesting to note that all three were skiing on borrowed parts of equipment due to lost luggage! Today’s best rider was wildcard Aasmund Thorsen (NOR), who according to the judges skied the cleanest and most creative run of the day, choosing a unique line with great fluidity and taking every air with clean landings. This despite skiing boots that were too big from the local rental shop! He was followed by Henrik Windstedt (SWE), skiing a clean line including several features and sticking a back flip at the end of the run, also on borrowed ski boots that were a size too big. Erik Sunnerheim (SWE) rounded out the top three in loaner ski clothes and without his important knee brace.

Aasmund Thorsen (NOR): "I got to borrow clothes of Mati Imbert (French FWT rider) and got the boots this morning in the rental shop. They were a bit too big and I was floating in there! But it still went well.. I am really happy! I was the only one taking the big triangle (cliff jump) on top and I guess I managed to please the judges although I could not ski at 100 percent!"

Click here for full results from today's event.

Snowboard Men Enjoying the Playful Terrain
Today's venue seemed to perfectly suited to riders with a freestyle background. The winner of the day, Chamonix Mont-Blanc’s Douds Charlet (FRA), who is known for his smooth style, took the most committed line with a lot of speed, big jumps and stylish tricks, including a 360 frontside at the top of the run. Overall tour leader, Xavier de Le Rue (FRA), took second place with an original line choice. Flo Orley (AUT) claimed the third spot with a fluid, stylish run and a beautiful line choice for the public eye.

Douds Charlet (FRA): "The conditions were so great. What a good day, it worked really well for me! A lot of guys wanted to jump the same big cliff but I managed to land it well. I am happy!"

Flo Orley (AUT): "Today is basically the best powder day I've had this season! First some good warm up runs and then the great powder conditions on the face created good vibes among the riders."

Day 2 Saturday, March 5
Day 2 of the Nissan Russian Adventure Sochi 2011 is confirmed to take place tomorrow the Saturday 5 March.

Overall Rankings
So if Day 2 doesn’t happen then today’s results will stand. And while it may be way too early to be looking at what this event does to change the face of the overall rankings, we’ve got a crew of pasty-faced, girly-leg web weenies locked in the basement (in the room next to the accountants) whose only connection to real freeriding is obsessively geeking out on the overall rankings list. So here goes…

Remember, a rider’s three best scores are used to calculate who gets the VIP invite to cut the velvet rope and shred the Becs des Rosses in Verbier with all the supermodels. Everybody else stands outside in the queue.

Snowboard Men – Did we call it or did we call it? Chamonix Mont-Blanc loc Douds Charlet fulfills his destiny by staying true to what he knows – bcakcountry, big-mountain manuvas. That, and for not falling off his snowboard while claiming at the end of his run. Well done, the Chamoniard. But by landing in the secondary position, the rider who cuts like a buffalo, Xavier de La Rue (FRA), maintains the overall lead with a first place and two seconds. Florian Orley (AUT), on his first season back after a year-long love boat surfing expedition across the Pacific will maintain his second place position with a first, a second and a third and he will share the spot with Douds who now has the same results. Thinking the next in line will be Mitch Toelderer (AUT) with a second, fifth and sixth.

Ski Men – Arguably the most exciting overall smackdown of the 2011 tour, the men’s ski division has had three different leaders after three contests. However, if Sochi Day 2 doesn’t happen then today’s results will stand and Windstedt (SWE) will be back in the lead with 4600 points. Following will be Aurélien Ducroz (FRA) with 3410 who would jump back into the top three after his great win in Chamonix Mont-Blanc was followed by crashes in Engadin St. Moritz and Kirkwood. Sweden’s Erik Sunnerheim would crack the top three with 3400 points. He is showing amazing consistency in his rookie season with third, fourth and fifth place finishes but is missing out on that all-important 2000-point win. After that it’s FWQ-qualified rookie Jérémy Prévost (3275), back from injury Adrien Coirier (3090), FWQ rookie Mathieu Imbert (2720)

Keep in mind that these scenarios will only oocur if Sochi Day 2 does not happen. If it does happen wellllll… we’ll put the thumb screws to the web weenies again and see what they come up with.