Sean Pettit Untouchable at the Third Edition of the Red Bull Linecatcher in Vars, France [VIDEO]
Official Press Release:
After finishing closely behind France’s Candide Thovex last year, the Canadian Sean Pettit took the third edition of the Red Bull Linecatcher in Vars, ahead of Italy’s Markus Eider and the American Tim Durtschi.
Beneath stunning blue skies and with a tricky powder snow, backcountry freestyle was the order of the day this Monday 17th January in Vars-La Forêt Blanche. With three runs per rider on the backcountry freestyle course specially built on the Eyssina face, only one run from Sean Pettit was needed to show who is the sport’s new King. From his first run, the eighteen year old Canadian went straight on the attack with a perfectly landed double cliff drop at the top of his run, before hitting one of the ten shaped kickers on the course to spin a technical cork 7, and finishing with a huge 360 off a natural feature.
With a well-deserved score of 9,5 out of 10 from the judges, Sean Pettit was already close to first place. But there were two more runs to follow, and after falling on his second, he gained an even higher score of 9,7 thanks to a 360 between the two cliffs at the start, followed by a misty 720 and a backflip. “It was a very close match. I really went for it on my last run as I knew I wasn’t safe! These were a lot of top riders today” declared Sean, overjoyed to be on the first podium place after coming so close to victory last year.
A very close second place:
Behind him, Markus Eider was the big surprise of the competition, third in yesterday’s qualifier on an adjacent course of kickers, joining the elite of this sport which combines freestyle and freeride. More used to riding park, the young Italian from the Tyrol region really stood out over the two days of competition, adapting well to the big mountain style. With three fluid runs full of impressive tricks, notably a rodeo 7, a switch 5 and a 540 to fakie, Markus showed that he can even ski fakie in powder, a long way from the groomed landings of the park. “This is my first backcountry competition, here I am amongst the stars of the sport and I take second place, I’m so happy!” admitted the Italian with his German accent.
This second place was the source of heated discussion between the judges who had also given a score of 9 to the American Tim Durtschi. Pulling out a switch rodeo 5, a flat spin, a 720 and a handful of unnatural 360s during 3 mind-blowing runs, the Alaskan local impressed the crowd and came just a breath away from second place. “It’s a great feeling to be on the podium. There were so many lines to choose from on this face that I really tried to improve on each run. I’m happy for Markus who came from qualifying yesterday to take second place today. What a great day!” declared Tim with fair-play after the prize-giving.
Best trick prize:
Fourth for the second year in a row, the American Sage Cattabriga-Alosa had the consolation of winning the special prize for “Best Natural Hit” thanks to a perfect 360 spun instinctively off a wind formed spine. Rewarding the best trick of a natural feature, this prize of 500 Euros was immediately donated to the Alpine Initiatives charity founded by JP Auclair. With two fluid runs, precise, fast and combined with numerous tricks, less technical but pulled off with amazing ease and style, Sage showed the scope of his talent. “With his natural and stylish approach, Sage is a pleasure to watch.
This prize corresponds perfectly to his style of skiing” explained Camille Jaccoux, one of the two French who made up the team of four judges along with the Australian Woody Bouma, Germany’s Nico Zacek and the head judge and event’s creator, Julien Régnier-Lafforgue. As for the prize for best trick, it went to the American Wiley Miller for a magnificent “nose butter 720” off kicker number 10. A very technical trick and extremely difficult to pull off with a powder landing, showing the importance of the Red Bull Linecatcher concept, an ideal showcase of contemporary freeskiing.
*Check out the full photo gallery from qualifying and finals.
1. Sean Pettit (CAN), 2. Markus Eder (ITA), 3. Tim Durtschi (USA)
1. Sean Pettit (CAN)
2. Markus Eder (ITA)
3. Tim Durtschi (USA)
4. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA)
5. Chris Booth (AUS)
6. Leo Taillefer (FRA)
7. Wiley Miller (USA)
8. JP Auclair (CAN)
9. Richard Permin (FRA)
10. Mathieu Imbert (FRA)
11. Nicolas Vuignier (SUI)
12. Anthony Boronowski (CAN)
13. Chris Benchetler (USA)
14. Bene Mayr (GER)
15. Rory Bushfield (CAN)
About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, the Boston Bruins and Norway. He's the Online Editor here at Freeskier.