Swedes Win Xtreme Verbier at Swatch Freeride World Tour

Freeride World Champions Crowned Today at the Swatch Freeride World Tour Xtreme Verbier in Switzerland

Double Swedish Win in Ski

Freeride World Champions 2012
Ski Men: Reine Barkered, Sweden
Ski Women: Christine Hargin, Sweden

Winners Swatch Freeride World Tour Xtreme Verbier
Ski Men: Reine Barkered, Sweden
Ski Women: Christine Hargin, Sweden

Verbier, March 24, 2012 – In front of more than 8,500 astounded and cheering spectators, and over 40,000 viewers on the live feed on Internet, the top-level athletes put on their highest game today to tackle freeriding's most illustrious competition, the 17th edition of the "Xtreme Verbier". On the infamous north face of the Bec des Rosses, at 3,222 metres, in Verbier, Switzerland, the skiers and snowboarders were challenged by a 500-meter steep, rocky, and technical face, testing even the very best. This is why only the very top-ranked riders qualified for this final and decisive competition of the six event Swatch Freeride World Tour 2012, which also determined the four World Champions in the disciplines of men's ski, women's ski, men's snowboard, women's snowboard. Surprisingly enough, all four winners of the Xtreme today also earned enough points to be crowned World Champions.

The athletes were pushing the envelope in a tight battle for the world title. In tricky snow conditions, the competitors performed creative and stunning line choices while finding their way through the labyrinth of rocks scattered on the face. Judged on an overall impression by four judges of each of the categories ski and snowboard, any type of style can win. Throughout the season a big variety of style was witnessed on the podiums: big mountain chargers and more freestyle oriented athletes have been pushing the sport forward.

Swede Reine Barkered put on the most impressive run of the day, skiing faster and going bigger than his opponents who took similar lines. With zero hesitation, he charged down the now so-called "Barkered Line", to stomp numerous big cliffs on his way down. With his top result in Verbier, Barkered scored enough points to be crowned World Champion just in front of American Drew Tabke and French Aurélien Ducroz, both executing outstanding runs today on the Bec des Rosses.

Top ladies were charging hard with beautiful line choices. The top three female skiers Christine Hargin (SWE), Eva Walkner (AUT) and Angel Collinson (USA), rode "men's lines" as judge Martin Winkler put it. Swede Christine Hargin won with a spectacular line; fast, no hesitation and stomping several jumps, including a huge cliff at the bottom. Hargin was blown away to have won the World Champion title, taking over the title from her older sister Janette Hargin (World Champion 2011)!

Event Director Nicolas Hale-Woods (CH) comments the 17th edition of the Xtreme, and closing the 5th edition of the Freeride World Tour:
"Once again we saw amazing riding on a face that never disappoints. The Bec des Rosses is a fantastic mountain and a beautiful finish of a successful Swatch Freeride World Tour 2012. A new generation of skilled and upcoming freeriders are accelerating the pace on the freeride scene right now. Young talents are motivated and propelled up through the system thanks to the Freeride Juniors by Dakine and the Freeride World Qualifiers (FWQ). "

Quotes Freeride World Champions

Reine Barkered (SWE), World Champion Ski Men
"I was back and forth about this line, the conditions were harder than any year before, but I managed to stay on my feet. Typically, my plan is to make hard things look easy and that's what I did. This is my fourth year on the tour and the win hasn't set in yet. It's beyond anything I could possibly imagine. I talked to my dad today and I heard him cry for the first time, it's an incredible feeling."

Christine Hargin (SWE), World Champion Ski Women
"The world champion win was totally a surprise to me! According to the pre-event calculations it was hardly possible for me to win. The conditions weren't super easy with a bit of crust so keeping my line fluid was a challenge. The airs I took in the end ended up working out and I can't wait to celebrate tonight in the Verbier Village."

The Swatch Freeride World Tour 2012 six stages

1st stop – Swatch Freeride and Freeskiing World Tour, Revelstoke 2012
Dates: 6 January,
Location: Revelstoke (CAN)
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

2nd stop – Swatch Freeride World Tour, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 2012
Dates: 21 January;
Location: Chamonix (FRA)
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

3rd stop – Swatch Freeride World Tour, Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc 2012
Dates: 24 January;
Location: Courmayeur (ITA)
Disciplines: Men’s Ski and Snowboard

4th stop – Swatch Freeride World Tour, Røldal 2012
Dates: 26 February ;
Location: Røldal (NOR)
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

5th stop – Swatch Freeride World Tour, Fieberbrunn 2012
Contest date: 10 March
Location: Fieberbrunn (AUT)
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

Final and 6th stop – Swatch Freeride World Tour, Verbier 2012
Contest date: 24 March
Location: Verbier (SUI)
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard