Words by Eliane Marcoux & Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Pierre Morel
Following an epic round of qualifiers and some nasty weather that delayed the remainder of the competition, beautiful clear skies and 30cm of fresh powder blanketed Vars, France for the quarter finals of the first ever Vars Tournament.
The eight riders began the day with a SHI FU MI session to determine who started the game. The winner of the shi fu mi must announce a trick and a zone (park, urban or backcountry) and then do the trick with success, while the second rider must repeat the exact trick. If he can't, he get's a letter. The first rider in each heat to get V.A.R.S. is out.
It was a long day for the riders since some battles lasted until 5pm, but it was lots of fun. The format of this competition gave each rider the opportunity to push his and others creativity and progression throughout the event. Here's a look at what went down in quarter finals...
Torin Yater-Wallace vs Parker White – Torin Yater Wallace wins
Sam Favret vs McRae Williams – McRae Williams wins
Phil Casabon vs Gus Kenworthy – Gus Kenworthy wins
Henrik Harlaut vs Antti Ollila – Henrik Harlaut wins
The next day, the semi-finals took place, and it was another beautiful day that lasted until 3pm and included four X Games medalists. Here's what took place...
Torin Yater-Wallace vs Gus Kenworthy – Gus Kenworthy wins
McRae Williams vs Henrik Harlaut – Henrik Harlaut wins
Gus Kenworthy vs Henrik Harlaut in finals.
Since the riders were getting tired after a long day, it was decided that only a two-letter battle (V & T) would take place for the final round with an extra chance on the last letter between the last two riders, Gus Kenworthy and Henrik Harlaut...
Gus Kenworthy vs Henrik Harlaut – Gus Kenworthy wins!
In the end, Gus Kenworthy claimed victory at the first ever Vars Tournament, which was a huge success and everyone had a great time. Some riders said that they landed tricks they had never tried before (including Henrik Harlaut, who landed seven new tricks) while others (such as McRae Williams) said that it was their best day of riding of the year and maybe ever. It's a event that gathered a host of athletes from different fields of the sport to help push freeskiing.
On behalf of everyone at Vars Tournament, we hope to see everyone back next year for Round 2!