Snowed Out in Sochi, Freeride World Tour Moves to Chamonix

Kaj Zackrisson Photo: ©Freeride World Tour / D. Carlier

The 2010 Freeride World Tour is off to an ironically appropriate start with The Nissan Russian Adventure by Swatch (the first leg of the four event tour) being called due to hazardous conditions around Sochi. (As ChamonixInsider readers all know Sochi is not only Vladimir Putin’s fav-o-rite winter playland, it has also been selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics). A deadly combination of heavy snow and high winds meant course conditions were just too sketch to hold the comp. Big respect to FWT organiser Nicolas Hale-Woods for making the difficult call. No solid news yet on who won what must have been a massive after-party competition but early reports indicate pretty much all the competitors brought their best games and are still in contention for the lead.

The next stop, the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont Blanc is scheduled to start Saturday, January 30th on the Hotel Face at Le Brévent and will feature men’s and women’s skiing and snowboarding comps. Event organizers are also planning on making up the Sochi event in Chamonix on the next possible day using the original Sochi start list.

Aurélien Ducroz Photo: ©Nissan Russian Adventure / C. Margot

Xavier de le Rue Photo: ©Nissan Russian Adventure / C. Margot

Chamonix homeboy and reigning Freeride World Champion Aurélien Ducroz (FRA) will be defending his crown against a strong group of contenders including Reine Barkered of Sweden who came out of nowhere in 2009 to finish second overall in his rookie season including a win at Squaw and second in Verbier. Also on hand will be a healthy Henrik Windstedt of Sweden (who won the tour in 2008 and who my girlfriend thinks is really hot), Sverre Liliequist (SWE), Seb Michaud (FRA), and Kaj Zackrisson (SWE) who gave me his old oven so if I was voting he’d win for sure. And did I mention how great those Kask beanies are?

But the skier that everyone will be watching will undoubtedly be Candide Thovex (FRA) who is back on form after a long break due to injury and whom the Insider expects to revolutionize the freeride world in the same way he rewrote the freestyle/jibber handbook. Don’t believe me? Check out Candide’s smooth style on some of the lines in this vid. [Long, dull intro alert. If you’re looking for skiing go ahead and skip to 1:45]

I’d call him the Tiger Woods of freeskiing but that wouldn’t really be fair to Candide, would it?

Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, Freerideworld Tour. On the snowboard side of things another Chamonix loc and absurdly talented rider, Xavier de Le Rue (FRA), will be defending his title against Max Zipser (AUT), Mitch Tölderer (AUT), Eric Themel (AUT) and Cyril Neri (SUI) among others.

Ane Enderud Photo: © Nissan Russian Adventure / C. Margot

Susan Mol Photo: ©Nissan Tram Face Squaw Valley USA / C. Margot

Women’s 2009 FWT champion Ane Enderud (NOR) will have to be on her game to keep Marja Persson (SWE) and Elyse Saugstad (USA) from walking away with the title this year. Aline Bock (GER) will be challenging the women’s snowboarding title holder, Susan Mol (USA).

2010 Freeride World Tour

1. Nissan Russian Adventure by Swatch – Sochi, Russia
Date: 21-22 January 2010  POSTPONED

2. Nissan Freeride of Chamonix Mont Blanc France
Date: 30 January 2010

3. Nissan Tram Face – Squaw Valley, California, USA
Date: 27 February 2010

4. Nissan Xtreme by Swatch – Verbier, Switzerland
Date: 20 March 2010

So there you have it. Something for you to do this weekend if there’s no powder to be shralped and/or you’re looking for a few good nights out. Here’s a video for you but take my advice and mute the sleepytime muzac that goes with it and crank up your own tunes instead.

There’s also this video that has better music but a but too much window rolling and  janky landings for the Insider’s taste. Without showing the burly lines that lead into these hucks it’s not really doing the riders or the contest any favors. Everybody’s a critic, eh?

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