Freeride World Tour ’24 Kicking Horse Stop Two Recap

Freeride World Tour ’24 Kicking Horse Stop Two Recap

Featured Image: Dom Daher | Skier: Astrid Cheylus

Oooh, Canada! The land of Tim Hortons, Geddy Lee and dreamy deep snow. What better place on Earth is there? Specifically, is there anywhere better than Kicking Horse, British Columbia, where we witnessed stop two of the 2024 Freeride World Tour (FWT)? The competition had a lot of pressure riding on it, as we already have seen two cancellations and one relocation for comps this season. But Kicking Horse provided good snow and a lineup of riders that had more juice than a toddler after a Red Bull tasting.

The usual competition face at Kicking Horse, the Ozone Venue, was out of commission today. The official description of the Ozone sounded less than optimal, as the press release regarding the venue read, “The top section was fine, but the middle section had very poor snow conditions with inconsistent quality, ranging from a thick crust to decent, and then to sugary snow over 50 cm deep, directly on top of rocks. The bottom was littered with ice cookies the size of watermelons.” Yucko. FWT organizers made the call to move the scene to a zone known as T1 South, a beautiful section that, while littered with trees, has plenty of cliffs, gaps and straight lines. We were even treated to comments in the booth from FWT veteran and Canada’s own Tom Peiffer, making this stop a true must-watch. We saw backflips, tomahawks, huge drops, plenty of 3s to go around (shoutout to Marcus Goguen for racking ’em up) and a plethora of other action, so let’s dive in.

In the Women’s Ski Field, it was a day for the young guns. The snowpack was variable throughout the face, which caught a couple of riders off guard. Punchy landings and thick turns were abundant, but it didn’t deter all! Three out of the top five finishers were in their first or second year on the tour, showing how much talent is pouring into the field lately. In third place was the veteran Hedvig Wessel. She started off with a gigantic cliff at the very start of her run, barely clearing the rocks in the landing. It was an incredibly impressive start, but she blazed through the rest of the run, unfortunately appearing to miss a few features she was looking to hit. She was still one of only three riders in the field who were awarded a score above 80. Second place belonged to the Red Bull rookie Manon Loschi. The flying Frenchie put together a fantastic run, complete with a technical air, a huge 3 and a backflip off the wind lip near the base. If it wasn’t for the backslap off the 3, she may well have ended up in first. However, the stop spot belonged to Manon’s good friend and riding partner, Astrid Cheylus. Also a rookie on the Tour, Cheylus won the judges’ hearts by scoring huge in the Line selection category as well as Air & Style. She took on several large drops and topped off the technical run with a backflip at the end. Vive la France!

“I don’t know if this is real or a dream; I am so stoked. The conditions were better than I thought, and it wasn’t the line I had planned, but the little lip at the end was calling me. It is my first time in Kicking Horse and I like it. I look forward to Georgia and might try something bigger and will try to enjoy it even more.” 

– Astrid Cheylus, 2024 Kicking Horse Golden BC Pro winner

In the Men’s Ski Field, we saw a familiar face on top of the throne. It was a bit of a shake-up underneath that, however, as it was a scattered mix of veterans and rookies throughout. The tricky conditions rang true as we saw five riders not be able to finish their runs, including defending champion Maxime Chabloz and FWT wildcard rider AND Whistler legend Stan Rey, who logged the tomahawk of the year. Third place belonged to the Canadian Marcus Goguen, who threw down a wildly entertaining run. The 19-year-old put down three left 3s (try saying that five times fast) in the first 15 seconds of his line. He then diverged into un-skied territory and found a massive cliff ride for the diving. It was a beautiful showing of freeride at its best. Just sneaking into second place by a point and a half was Oscar Mandin. He had a line filled with speed and air time, complete with a massive backflip in the middle of the face and a directional pin out the bottom. With a few precise movements, he earned his spot on the podium. This was the third medal for France on the day in the ski fields! The gold belonged to none other than Max Hitzig. The German powerhouse, defending champion from the previous Verbier stop, clinched a 94.00! It was a blink-and-you-‘ll-miss-it line, reminding everyone of the entertaining style that Hitzig always brings. He had a few beautiful airs, but it was the giant right 3 to bolts that sent the crowd roaring.

“I am super excited and stoked with the win. Conditions were better than expected, but I tried to ski a safe line, so I was happy to finish. Traveling with my buddy Vale [Valentin Rainer] is so much fun, and competing here has been amazing. Looking forward to Georgia. They have had a lot of snow, and conditions look great, so I will try to stay in the top spot.”

– Max Hitzig, 2024 Kicking Horse Golden BC Pro winner

Below, you’ll find the podium results, winning runs and a full photo gallery of the event.

Click here to watch the full coverage of Kicking Horse stop two on the official FWT website.

The next FWT showdown is currently lined up for Georgia, marking the highly anticipated inaugural stop in the country. The comp has a weather window of March 1-6.

Ski Women’s Results

🥇 Astrid Cheylus (FRA) 86.67

🥈 Manon Loschi (FRA) 84.00

🥉 Hedvig Wessel (NOR) 80.67

Ski Men’s Results

🥇 Max Hitzig (GER) 94.00

🥈 Oscar Mandin (FRA) 92.67

🥉 Marcus Goguen (CAN) 91.33

Photo Gallery

Photography: Dom Daher and Jeremy Bernard | Courtesy of the Freeride World Tour

SKIER: Max Hitzig
SKIER: Manon Loschi
SKIER: Andrew Pollard
SKIER: Astrid Cheylus
SKIER: Oscar Mandin
SKIER: Marcus Goguen
Kicking Horse Pro Women’s Ski Podium
Kicking Horse Pro Men’s Ski Podium

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