Matthias Haunholder unbeatable at the Grand Balme
The proud Austrian ï¬nished ï¬rst beating all the favorites at the Grand Balme in Tignes/France during the Freeride World Tour stop and is currently second place in the Freeride World Ranking with only one stop to come.
Not even a year passed by since Matthias Haunholder made his way through the qualifying series of the Freeride World Tour. Since yesterday the man from Walchsee in Austria ï¬nally changed roles. He is no longer just a winner of a qualiï¬ng event, but ï¬nds himself right in the middle of the who is who in the international freeriding scene. Showing a nearly perfect run he won the Freeride de Tignes just ahead of Frenchman Thomas Diet and last yearÊ¼s World Champion Henrik Windstedt from Sweden, showing that the ATOMIC Freeskiing Team can also dominate in freeriding competitions. This was MatthiasÊ¼ ï¬rst number one ranking on the Freeride World Tour.
The ï¬rst stages of the Freeride World Tour gave him the conï¬dence that allowed him to win in Tignes. the 29-year-old said after his success at the third and last stop before the ï¬nals in Verbier. “I spent a lot of time looking at the Grand Balme face, even until late last night. I knew I had to be brave to make the difference on this slope,“ he said, just after stepping down from the podium. He worked hard on his tactics for the descent as he knew he had to push the envelope in order to succeed against big names like the current World Ranking leader Aurelien Ducroz or the Swede Sverre Lillequist. Haunholder orientated his line on a line which the snowboard legend Xavier de le Rue had previously chosen. Comparable to Haunholder the Frenchman was also looking for a line including high and difï¬cult cliff drops with soft landing. During the contest, Matthias was able to do all the things he planned to do: He landed his jumps with ease, showing a ï¬uid run with much control in the very steep and challenging conditions.
With this victory Haunholder already qualiï¬ed for the next and ï¬nal tour stop of the Freeride World Tour, the legendary Verbier Xtreme taking place from 20th to 29th of March. Only the best eight riders out of the Freeride World Ranking are allowed to start at the ï¬nal event. The Austrian Haunholder currently is in second place with
3360 points just behind Aurelien Ducroz who has 3590 points to his name. The win in Tignes is MatthaisÊ¼ third top ten result this year. Finishing seventh in Socci, Russia, he had already established himself as a key player in the Freeride World Tour. By placing second at his home-spot contest, the Big Mountain Fieberbrunn, which counts as a Freeride World Qualiï¬er, he also earned some points for the Freeride World Ranking.
For the ï¬nals in Verbier Haunholder still has the chance to make one big dream come true. If he manages to repeat the results of Tignes at the Verbier Xtreme, the ATOMIC team rider would ï¬nish the season being ï¬rst in the overall ranking, and so AustriaÊ¼s ï¬rst Freeride World Champion.
About Matthias Haunholder
Austria deï¬nitely wouldnÊ»t be the number one nation of skiers without Matthias Haunholder. The 29-year-old is the only Austrian rider on the Freeride World Tour 2009. He is the only one to keep up the red and white and red ï¬ag on international freeride contests. Last year the Tyrolean guy qualiï¬ed for the most important competitions in the calendar of Big Mountain contests by winning the Freeride World Qualiï¬er Series. The passionate climber, slackliner and paraglider called Haunholder wants to repeat this placement as soon as possible. But only one level higher: Matthias is outright telling us that he wants to be the World Champion. For a ski guide, who “was born with skis“ he has set himself a tough but not an overambitious goal. At the World Tour Stop in Mammoth/USA 2008 the Glen Plake fan ï¬nished sixth - leaving Kaj Zackrisson and Guerlain Chicherit behind. Guerlain already has been World Champion in the past!
ATOMIC: Passion, Innovation and Performance since 1955
ATOMIC manufactures products which are perfectly tailored for ski racers and freeskiers, cross-country skiers and backcountry skiers, beginners and World Champions alike. Every ATOMIC product is much more than the sum of its component parts, not only incorporating the know-how of creative experts, but also embodying the passion for skiing of each and every ATOMIC employee. ATOMIC is based in Altenmarkt, in the heart of the Alps, where snow is always nearby and where each new idea can be tested right there and then, 365 days a year. Thanks to a combination of experience, innovation and passion, ATOMIC has been synonymous with winter and skiing since the company was founded in 1955.
ATOMIC is part of the Amer Sports Group.