Collomb-Patton continues FWT hot streak, Paaso wins on the women’s side from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Comments by Donny O'Neill/

The second stop on the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT) is in the books, after a thrilling event at Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. The Aiguille Pourrie face provided a steep stage to showcase the talented FWT athletes. While fresh snow and bluebird skies created for beautiful conditions, an exceptionally windy night prior to the event created a challenging upper portion of the venue.

“Today was a bit tough for everybody because the face got some wind overnight. That’s why we saw a lot of crashes. It made it a bit easier for the judging but a lot tougher for the riders,” said Head FWT Judge Hugo Harrisson. “But we saw a lot of good skiing and lines. Freestyle made the difference to the judges. For example, the first place male skier, Loïc, he showed good freestyle and that he’s the guy who can do it all. That’s the kind of style, which is going to win these events more and more these days. Jackie Paaso had an air just as big as the guys. Such great charging from the girls!”

Paaso’s cliff huck, combined with strong skiing throughout her run, earned her a score of 80.50, and a first place finish on the women’s side. Coming in second was Matilda Rapaport of Sweden, and in third was Australia’s Lorraine Huber.

Rookie FWT rider Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) continued his strong showing, having won the first stop of the FWT at Courmayeur, earning an 83.50 to secure the win in Chamonix.

“This is incredible! I was a bit stressed at the top about my run but I thought it was a beautiful day and decided I should just have fun,” stated Collomb-Patton.

In second place for the men was Garrett Altman of the United States and in third was Frenchman Mickael Bimboes. The next stop of the FWT will take place at Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria on February 1.

Press Release, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France, January 25, 2014:

The second stop of the 2014 SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT) concluded today. Mont Blanc created a picturesque background for the competition at La Flégère ski area on the Aiguille Pourrie face. Aiguille Pourrie is a steep and playful venue providing riders ample opportunity to showcase both their big mountain and freestyle skills. Sunny conditions and fresh powder snow created great conditions for riding, but wind the evening before the competition made the top half of the slope extra challenging. Male and female skiers and snowboarders competed in the event representing sixty-nine of the world’s best freeriders.

“Today was a bit tough for everybody because the face got some wind overnight. That’s why we saw a lot of crashes. It made it a bit easier for the judging but a lot tougher for the riders,” said Head FWT Judge Hugo Harrisson. “But we saw a lot of good skiing and lines. Freestyle made the difference to the judges. For example, the first place male skier, Loïc, he showed good freestyle and that he’s the guy who can do it all. That’s the kind of style, which is going to win these events more and more these days. Jackie Paaso had an air just as big as the guys. Such great charging from the girls!”

The competition began with the men’s snowboard division. Swiss rider Emilien Badoux chose a very creative line including a very challenging triple cliff drop in the steep middle section of the venue. His impressive run earned Badoux first place and a score of 81.00. Jamie Rizzuto of Canada utilized the terrain exceptionally well punctuating his run with 360s and fluid turns. Rizzuto came in second place with a score of 79.25. In the third podium position for men’s snowboarding, Chamonix local and wild card rider Christophe Charlet demonstrated his familiarity with the terrain through a strong line choice earning a score of 78.25.

“This is my first victory! I am so happy. I did the run I planned to do with a lot of speed and several tricks,” Badoux said. “Chamonix is such a nice resort. As I know it is always relaxing here, I have tried to make the most of my time.”

Next up, was the men’s ski category where it became evident Loïc Collomb-Patton is a true contender for the 2014 FWT Championship. Collomb-Patton, a new rider on the tour, repeated his victory in Courmayeur by securing the top score in men’s skiing of 83.50 and winning first place. Collomb-Patton’s run was hard charging and technical. He wowed the crowd and judges with an enormous left side 360 off a consequential cliff perfectly executing the landing.

“This is incredible! I was a bit stressed at the top about my run but I thought it was a beautiful day and decided I should just have fun,” exclaimed an ecstatic Collomb-Patton. He also dedicated his run to his father.

Another first year FWT skier landed in second place as well. Garrett Altmann of the United States chose a very difficult line featuring a gigantic double cliff drop in extremely technical terrain. The judges awarded Altmann a score of 81.50. Rounding out the podium, a third FWT rookie Mickael Bimboes of France, had a solid run with many features including a steep straightline through a chute heading right into another air feature. Bimboes earned a scored of 77.75.

This was the first competition of the season for the female riders and started with snowboarding. Few names are synonymous with big mountain snowboarding like Shannan Yates of the United States who swiftly won her division with a very strong and smooth run down the fall line. Yates’ nice inclusion of technical features earned her a score of 70.00.

“The snow was really good but I noticed that certain areas had been affected by wind and decided to play it safe,” explained Yates. “I am glad I stuck to that decision and am so excited to have won my first event of the season.”

In second place, FWT newcomer Amber Schuecker of Austraila landed several airs with clean heal-side turns throughout her run. Schuecker’s score was 66.50. In third place, Swiss rider Estelle Balet received a score of 64.25 for her fluid run down the fall line.

Finally, the women skiers had the chance to tackle Aiguille Pourrie face. Jackie Passo, of the United States, executed one of the most daring moves of the day with incredible control on the take-off and a stomped landing. This move combined with her solid ski technique throughout the venue earned her a score of 80.50 and first place.

“I was debating whether or not I should choose to hit such a large cliff at this event but was advised by some of the male skiers that I could be successful with it,” said Paaso.

“Fortunately, it worked out perfectly and I am so excited to have won the competition today. It’s a great way to start the season.”

Following Paaso in second place, Matilda Rapaport of Sweden had a creative line utilizing many terrain features with little hesitation. Rapaport earned a score of 75.00. In third place, Lorraine Huber of Austria was the first woman to ski and went huge with her airs. Huber’s score was 68.00

For more riders’ quotes click here.

The SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® continues its competition schedule with Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen on February 1, Kirkwood, California on March 1 and in Revelstoke, Canada March 10 where the final athlete cut will be made for the Xtreme Verbier final championship competition in Switzerland on March 22. The remainder of the schedule includes both men’s and women’s ski and snowboard competition.

For more information on the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® and Freeride World Qualifier events, visit www.freerideworldtour.com.

Each event of the FWT will be broadcasted live on freerideworldtour.com.