After a weather delay last Friday due to poor visibility, the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT) concluded its Courmayeur Mont-Blanc stop today. FWT rookie Loïc Collomb-Patton of France scored an 88.50 to take home first place. “To be on the Freeride World Tour for the first time has given me a chance to face the best competitors in the world,” said Collomb-Patton. “I am so excited to have won my first competition of the season in Courmayeur.”
In second place was Kirkwood, California local Josh Daiek who scored an 87.50, and in third with a score of 82.25 was Jérémie Heitz from Switzerland. The women athletes of the FWT will join the men at the Chamonix Mont-Blanc stop of the tour on January 25.
Press Release, Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy, January 22, 2013:
The first stop of the 2014 SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT), concluded today on Cresta Youla. Although challenging visibility prevented the attempt last Friday from being successful, an exciting competition thrilled fans and athletes today at Courmayeur Mont Blanc. The international field of competitors was extremely eager to begin the season and start the quest to become the next FWT champions. Courmayeur Mont Blanc is the only stop on the FWT, which is exclusively a men’s competition.
Conditions in the Alps have been very difficult in the first part of the winter with high avalanche risks and thin snow in many places. Despite the tricky conditions, the FWT organizers together with the local guides found a face for the first stop of the competition season. Sunny skies and soft snow conditions provide the competition date was well worth the wait.
“We are certainly facing very tricky snow conditions in the Alps early this season,” said FWT General Manager Europe Nicolas Hale-Woods. “On top of the safety aspect which is our priority number one, we also have to deal with what the weather has to offer in order to launch an event. We had a small window last Friday and tried to complete the competition without success. So we all waited in Courmayeur Mont Blanc for a better chance to compete and finally ran the event today in great conditions on the sunny side of the Monte Bianco. ”
The competition began with men’s snowboarding. American rider Sammy Luebke worked his way to the top of the men’s snowboard podium with a super fast start and a playful run ending with a solid front side 360. Luebke’s run earned the top score of 80.50.
“I identified my line right away on the first day,” said Men’s Snowboard Winner Sammy Luebke. “I considered other lines the last few days but am very glad I stuck with my original choice. The snow was really good with face shots throughout the venue.”
In second place, Sascha Hamm of Great Britain earned a 72.5 with a high velocity run featuring a well-executed high-speed double cliff-drop. Rounding out the snowboard podium in third place, Ludo Guilllot-Diat of France executed a hard charging style, which earned him a score of 70.25.
In the men’s skiing competition, FWT rookie rider Loïc Collomb-Patton of France managed the win with a high score of 88.50. Collomb-Patton’s run consisted of an incredible high speed double right at the top of the venue and a huge 360 at the bottom. Running early in the start order, Collomb-Patton anxiously watched the remaining skiers who aimed to steal his lead.
“To be on the Freeride World Tour for the first time has given me a chance to face the best competitors in the world,” said Collomb-Patton. “I am so excited to have won my first competition of the season in Courmayeur.”
Following Collomb-Patton closely with a score of 87.5 was Josh Daiek of the United States. Daiek’s dynamic and fully charged run proved speculations he is seriously pursing to regain a championship title this season. In third place with a score of 82.25 was Jérémie Heitz of Switzerland. There was little sign that Heitz is returning to the tour after injuries last season as he charged into the venue with a triple air right out of the start gate.
For more riders’ quotes click here.
The women will join the men for the second event in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc on January 25. The SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® then continues its competition schedule with Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen on February 1, Kirkwood, California on March 1 Revelstoke, Canada March 10, and will conclude in Verbier, 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.