An exciting season of the Freeride World Tour rounded out today in Verbier on the infamous Bec Des Rosses. At the beginning of the day, the men's title was particularly a subject of speculation with a three way tie for the lead between Kristopher Turdell, Loic Collombe-Patton and Leo Slemmet. I've been to the Verbier stop, and will hopefully be back there next year because the event on the Bec Des Rosses is a sight to behold. The face is frankly terrifying and the conditions are always marginal. This year was no exception with fresh snow covering an abundance of hidden sharks.
Men's: Full Replay
Connor Pelton got things started off with a creative line choice but perhaps lacked a little fluidity. His shuffle to switch 180 was a highlight though and I imagine switch hits will become more common in coming seasons. Yann Rausis, the local boy, put down a very clean run with several huge airs for a benchmark score of 86.33. He took the Rookie Of The Year title on this year's tour and will certainly be one to watch for many years to come. Newschoolers' very own Ryan Faye put down an absolute heater of a run. Sure it was a little sketch but with a huge air, a 360 and a backflip it was exactly what the people want to see. A massive 90.66 and first place. Loic Collombe-Patton absolutely sent it to try and win the title with a technical line featuring two huge drops but hit rocks in the landing on a 15m drop to rocks on his second of the two.
Leo Slemmet, the second of two contenders, started things off with a big 360 up top, a huge second air and a very clean run throughout. It wasn't as explosive as Faye but it was a lot cleaner, had a bigger air and it duly earned him 92.66. Reine Barkered dropped next, and went mach 10 over 3 of the biggest features on the face, stomping every time. No tricks, it's a different way at looking at things but when you go that fast, it's enough for 95.0 and first place.
Sam Anthamatten a wildcard today, had the craziest line choice of the day, but got taken out on a 360, lost a ski, and skied a 40 degree section of the Bec on one ski to recover his other. Kristoffer Turdell was the last of the 3 leaders to drop. He skied fast and hard down the central couloir in the tracks of Reine, but he went even bigger and lost a little control/made one of the greatest saves I've ever seen on skis. It was only good for 83.3 though. Sam Lee put down an insane billygoating line down the centre of the face, lots of small drops, very technical and scored low in my opinion with 85.66. Drew Tabke, went for a line that didn't really go and had to change his choice at the last second which cost him a chance at a podium. That left Reine with the Verbier Xtreme win and meant Leo Slemmet, in second place, taking the world title. La Clusaz is taking over the world.
Ariana Tricomi skied very smoothly down the Dog Leg couloir but lacked spectacular features to really make an impression. Lorraine Huber, her title rival, opened the taps more and duly earned a higher score and took home the overall title. Eva Walkner had some hesitation in her line but did take the biggest drop and went first with 80.66. Jackie Paaso sent an enormous cliff, the biggest so far by 2-3x but she took a heavy spill in her line and required medical attention but did manage to ski down, so hopefully she's alright. Hazel Birnbaum then took what was arguably an even bigger crash, tomahawking down the bulk of the face. Last run of the day, Kylie Sivell put down a great line with some technical turns up top and then multiple drops at the bottom. For me, it looked like the winning line but it was only good for second. Eva Walkner said at the beginning of the season she'd rather win the Xtreme than a third world title and so she did.