Cover Photo – Dominique Daher
Rider – Justine Dufour-Lapointe
Four days after this stacked roster of skiers tore it up in Spain, the crew put down a hell of a show in Ordino Arcalís, Andorra. The second stop of the 2023 Freeride World Tour was one of sun baked snow and adrenaline. Despite an average snow pack and warm temperatures the riders put on a hell of a show, but that’s nothing new. Ordino Arcalís is a notoriously sharky venue, with a steep pitch, shallow snow pack and plenty of features to spice up your line. From left to right there’s a wide range of lines that the riders can choose from, and this plethora of options was on full display Thursday, February second.
In the Ski Women’s category we saw familiar names standing on the podium. Elisabeth Gerritzen, the veteran Swiss rider with six years on the Tour under belt, put down a fluid run despite a small hang up early in her line. She found a creative route complete with a double air and a wicked straight line to cap it all off, earning her a 68.67. The second place finisher Molly Armanino might have had the save of the day, as she pinned it through a tight couloir up top and narrowly avoided disaster as she centered herself on the last stretch and skimmed by the looming rock wall. An incredibly strong rider, Molly now has her second podium finish of the year. The 29 year old rookie clearly has a flavor for speed and steeps, which the judges have been very fond of thus far. First place was given to Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe. Also a rookie this year, Justine found her way to the top spot with a line that had less danger than Molly’s but more composure. Several airs and some textbook turns in the steeps earned the ex-mogul skier a score of 74.00.
The Ski Men’s category had a complete shakeup from the podium we saw a few days prior. Last years FWT men’s champion Maxime Chabloz had an incredibly dicey line with a cross court gap that would have shmeared any mere mortal. Maxime however has proven time and time again that he is no normal skier, and he cleared the wind-lip with ease. He followed that maneuver up with a step down cork seven off a cliff face and a double backflip just later down on his line. It was a reminder of what the young Swiss phenom has to offer, and earned him third place. The familiar Alta madman Ross Tester clutched a second place finish with a score of 90.00, just one point behind first. Multiple 3s and a massive backflip had the crowd in awe as Ross reminded us that he can put down a line as good as any. The day belonged to Valentin Rainer however. In his second season on the FWT, Valentin certainly had more to prove after last year. An incredibly controlled line with a deep bag of tricks, including two 3s and two back flips, got the Austrian his first podium of 2023. Of course we’d be remise without mentioning the young Canadian stud Marcus Goguen, who went down hard and proceeded to throw a massive cork seven and the biggest backflip of the day with a face full of snow. No doubt there’s more to come from Marcus as the Tour heads back to his home turf in Canada for the third stop.
Stay tuned for the third stop of the 2023 Freeride World Tour – Kicking Horse BC, February 15-18.
Ski Women’s Podium
- Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN)
- Molly Armanino (USA)
- Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI)
Ski Men’s Podium
- Valentin Rainer (AUT)
- Ross Tester (USA)
- Maxime Chabloz (SUI)
For the official FWT recap of Stop Two, complete with a broadcast replay, results, and highlights, click here.
Images courtesy of the Freeride World Tour
Photographer – Dominique Daher