words by Jeff Schmuck

photos by Felix Rioux

After a huge storm rocked the Alps yesterday, forcing the cancellation of Friday’s session, this morning dawned bright in La Clusaz for the third day of the Candide Invitational.

beautiful La Clusaz, France

After some serious avalanche control on the Col de Balme, the competitors, media and fans made their way up to the course to check things out. The event organizers did a great job of keeping the course well maintained after the storm, but the 45cm that fell over the last 24 hours was still a factor.

the crowds migrate to the event

The top part of the course, home of Big Bertha and the castle quarterpipe, was closed today due to all the pow that fell, but the bottom part of the event was up and running.

Amidst all the snow, Candide made the call to leave the landings on the 30-meter gap jump and the tabletop over the log slide ungroomed, making for some serious powder landings.

the 30-meter gap jump and log tabletop

And while some of the competitors opted to take advantage of all the fresh pow (including Simon Dumont, who could be seen shredding all over La Clusaz on his 192cm Salomon Rockers), a handful of the boys took full advantage of the soft landings and went right to work.

LVV and Lolo chill out in the VIP lounge before slaying the course

Sessioning the log jump for the better part of the day with ear-to-ear grins on their faces were Laurent Favre, Joe Schuster and Luke Van Valin.

Joe Schuster

Laurent warmed things up with some of his trademark 360 nose-kangs complete with his off-the-chart style, while Joe and Luke threw down some solid flatspin 720’s. As a testament to the fun they were all having, Luke also threw the most laid-out backflip I’ve seen in many a years.

Luke Van Valin

The session was in full swing until a snowboarder hit the log jump and scorpioned right off the take off and unfortunately landed on his neck. The powder landing made things much better than they could have been but patrol was called in to take him off in a sled. Reports are that he may have broken his back but everyone is hoping for the best. After the accident some seriously thick fog rolled in followed by more snow and everyone decided to call it a day…after some more pow shredding of course.

Tonight’s jib jam has also been cancelled due to the snow but hopes are high that tomorrow will be the big day (some of the boys were speed testing the loop today in preperation for tomorrow). Despite the weather everyone is having a great time, most of all Candide, who despite being unable to participate seems to be enjoying himself more than anyone, and has gone out of his way to take care of everyone involved in the event like the true host that he is.

log gap, rail section...and the loop