Words & Photos: Oliver Maccabez
In between the qualifications and finals at this past weekend's Freestyle.ch, it was time to see who would be crowned the best athlete overall, also known as the crossover.champ.
The startlist was based on the qualifications rounds, and contained the best 8 riders in each category. So every sport ran a qualification round (one at a time) to select the best 4 riders in each category. The best 4 freeskiers were Aleksander Aurdal, Gus Kenworthy, Martin Misof, and Simon Dumont.
Now, remember, this is not just about winning a title, but also about representing one’s sport at its best. Last year Simon Dumont won for freestyle skiing with a front flip to superman. Can he do it again? Can freekiing attain a second victory in a row?
Before we find out whether or not it has been done, we will have to take a look at the competition itself. As it is obviously impossible to objectively weigh tricks done on a motorbike against those achieved with skis, this competition is not judged by a judging team but by the public. The athlete most acclaimed by the spectators wins. Simple enough, no?
After the qualification runs, each sport had the opportunity to do a “show run” to prove their value to the public, and for skiing, all the riders went on the same time on the kicker, dropping a massive show as these two guys linked together in the air.
Then the finals started, one athlete of each sport in every group, mixing up the different sports. Here were the groups:
Jean Postec, FRA, Skateboard
Gus Kenworthy, USA, Freeski
Jeremy Rouanet, FRA, FMX
Stephan Maurer, SUI, Snowboard
Chris Sörman, SWE, Snowboard
Jesse Fritsch, USA, Skateboard
Aleksander Aurdal, NOR, Freeski
Mathieu Rebeaud, SUI, FMX
Petr Pilat, CZE, FMX
Elias Erhardt, GER, Snowboard
Renton Millar, AUS, Skateboard
Simon Dumont, USA, Freeski
Martin Misof, AUT, Freeski
Thomas Pagès, FRA, FMX
Andreas Wiig, NOR, Snowboard
Sandro Dias, BRA, Skateboard
For each sport, the riders pulled some of the world’s best tricks such as the frontflip to superman, performed this year by a courageous Aleksander Aurdal, but surpassed by the master of this trick, Simon Dumont, who went bigger and bigger each run. But the “show award” for the freeskiing category should go to Martin Misof who dropped a massive switch late backflip but wasn’t chosen by the public, preferring to see the “icon rider” go to the superfinal.
Aleksander Aurdal with his version of the frontflip to superman
A few moments later, frontflip to superman again
Martin Misof with his switch late backflip
Same as before, but in sequence
The snowboarders pulled huge tricks also, going much higher than most of the freeskiers, with a particular attention to Andreas Wiig who performed a huge stalefish!
The snowboard, freeski, and FMX sessions were taking up so much of the show, that the public nearly forgot skateboarding, shredding the vert. And what a spectacle! Sandro Dias, the Brazilian skateboarder, who was here for the first time was just incredible. His runs were just amazing, bringing new tricks at each runs, and going higher and higher. Absolutely massive! So it was totally natural to find him in the superfinal since he’s probably one of the best skateboarders in the world! A legend, even…
So here are the superfinal athletes:
Stephan Maurer, Snowboard
Mathieu Rebeaud, FMX
Simon Dumont, Freeski
Sandro Dias, Skateboard
The superfinal was the last chance for our ultimate warriors. Last opportunity to attempt new tricks, or stuff we haven’t ever seen before…
Stephan Maurer pulled a trick which nobody could name, and finished with a huge crash, which could have been very dangerous. But the snowboarder was so pleased to be here that he was smiling even after his crash… So nice to see that kind of spirit.
Stefan Maurer’s trick to crash
Mat Rebeaud pulled his usual backflips without showing much innovation at all. Nearly a shame.
Simon Dumont went even higher than the run before with his frontflip to superman, but just didn’t make the cut, partly due to the feeling of “seen-it-all-before”. Maybe the public was waiting for some brand new tricks. However, he was more than applauded by the spectators.
Simon Dumont and his frontflip to superman
Sandro Dias! Here’s our new crossover.champion! And what a champion! His superfinal run was just perfect following very difficult tricks with others even more difficult and plenty of style! It was just amazing to see how misty 5 or one foot fives seem easy when Sandro’s riding the vert! And even after he knew that he was the winner, applauded by all the freestyle.ch spectators, he went back in the ramp, and performed an amazing Christ air so smooth and so high! Big up to Sandro, our new champion!
Sandro Dias on his throne
The crowd was massive!
Stay tuned to NS tomorrow for a full report on yesterday's finals, which saw Jacob Wester win the first major event of the 08/09 season.