It was another sunny day in Europe’s Pyrenees mountains for stop number two of 2022 Freeride World Tour. The crew migrated east from the first stop in Baqueira-Beret, Spain, to the peaks of Ordino Arcalís, Andorra. While the tour has certainly made numerous memorable stops in this area before, including the first two competitions from last years circuit, today’s venue, Pic De Les Planes, was brand new to the FWT. While a new venue can be intimidating, leaving the riders without information on line choice from past comps, it can also be viewed as a blank canvas, ripe for the plucking and ready for the creative mind to take the wheel. Unsurprisingly, the talented pool of skiers took ahold of the opportunity, and took it to the moon!
The women rippers of the Freeride World Tour put on a hell of a show, and we saw New Zealand’s Jessica Hotter standing atop the podium when the dust had settled. She linked several sizable airs together in beautiful style, and surfed her way down the mountain with speed and grace. After taking a mean spill at Stop number one, it was great to see such a strong return. Former FWT champion, the always formidable Elisabeth Gerritzen found her way to second place. She went coast to coast, utilizing the entirety of the face in style, and searched around for a line that few had skied. It worked out brilliantly for the stylish Swiss rider. 19 year old Americano Lily Bradley grabbed the bronze with a well executed run, in which she managed to hold onto two larger stops that would have put a lesser skier off their feet.
On the men’s side, it was all young guns out there, with 20 year old Swiss rider Maxime Chabloz taking the top spot. His well selected run included a laid out backflip from the top of the ridge, and one of the more laid out 360s we’ve seen so far. He amped it up as he tore through the course, starting on the more conservative side but absolutely punching it into fourth gear by the end of his line. It was also a solid day for the skiers at a certain resort in Utah’s Little Cotton Wood, as the second and third place spots were grabbed by two Alta rippers; Ross Tester and Andrew Pollard, respectively. With both riders having success on last years tour, it was great to see the pair back on the stand. As for veteran riders Kristofer Turdell, Wadeck Gorak, and Reine Barkered, the ski gods continue to be less than kind to this bunch. But if we’ve learned anything from past events, it’s that you can never count this group of determined and experienced dawgs out.
With Stop Two in the books, the FWT crew will pack their bags and mobilize across the pond, to the snow covered hills of Kicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada, where the third competition will go down on February 12, weather permitting.
UPDATE: Andorra local Joan Aracil took a heavy spill during his run today. Thankfully, the young buck is reportedly in the hospital and recovering smoothly.
For the full broadcast of all the madness at Ordino Arcalís, complete with scores and rider selection, look no further. The Tour’s website has you covered. Click right here.
Men’s Ski Podium
- Maxime Chabloz (SUI)
- Ross Tester (USA)
- Andrew Pollard (USA)
Women’s Ski Podium
- Jessica Hotter (NZL)
- Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI)
- Lily Bradley (USA)
Images Courtesy of Freeride World Tour