Freeskiing at its finest; See 29 images from the 2016 B&E Invitational

Freeskiing at its finest; See 29 images from the 2016 B&E Invitational

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The 2016 B&E Invitational went off under the sun at Les Arcs, France yesterday. Thanks to one of the most incredible skate-inspired course setups and a roster of freeskiing’s finest talent, the event proved to be a huge success for the third-straight year. Event hosts Phil Casabon (B-Dog) and Henrik Harlaut (E-Dollo) and the collection of athletes sessioned the park throughout the day, and at the end of the comp, the athletes voted Harlaut and skiing icon Candide Thovex as the winners for each of the five award categories (Best Style, Overall, Best Trick, Best Line and People’s Choice).

Above, we’ve provided 29 radical images from the event, courtesy of photographers Christopher Baldwin and Sofia Sjoeberg.

For more information, see the press release below.

Press Release:

On Friday March 11th and Saturday March 12th, the resort Les Arcs hosted the 3rd edition of the B&E Invitational, a unique gathering in its own right and indisputably the most highly anticipated event of the end season of freeskiing.

Unique, thanks to the available features, the level and the popularity of the assembled riders, but also because of its impressive format as the participating skiers judge themselves. With an invitation from the 2 most influential figures of their generation, the Swedish rider Henrik Harlaut and the Canadian Phil Casabon, 24 skiers have broken the barriers of their sport in 2 days of free expression. Among the impressive riders, the legend of the discipline, the French Candide Thovex, made a noteworthy appearance after a very active winter full of shooting videos. This reflects the credit the event has earned in its 3 years of existence. Henrik Harlaut and Candide Thovex stepped up their game and, together, won the 5 prizes of the competition!

A Unique concept, a unique event

Representing the new guard, Phil Casabon (CAN) and Henrik Harlaut (SWE) are an inseperable duo in the world of freeskiing. Their creativity and the freshness of their style has definitely renewed the genre. With hundreds of thousands of passionate skiers watching their videos, they’re influencing future generations drawn to their spirit both in life and on skis.

In 2014, both launched a new kind of rendez-vous: a gathering of the best freeskiers in the world with the most unique skateboard inspired features available, allowing them to express their creativity and their style past all imposed constraints by competition. The result is skiing with freedom, without pressure, and with inventiveness.

And because music is an integral part of the life of these skiers, the line-up of the B&E Invitational has set the bar just as high, by giving a show from world-renowned artists like Walshy Fire of Major Lazer and Dillon Cooler, a young rapper from Brooklyn whose notoriety has exploded thanks to social networks.

Influential riders re-inventing style

The group of riders on the B&E is impossible to find on any other event because in addition to the park’s originality, another important singularity is that it has brought together the best skiers in all facets of freeskiing: from slopestyle (Henrik Harlaut, Joona Kangas), to halfpipe (Joffrey Pollet-Villard, Torin Yater-Wallace), to street (Clayton Vila, Tom Wallisch, Will Wesson), to big air (Vincent Gagnier), and even to backcountry (Léo Taillefer, Candide Thovex, Jacob Wester).

Additionally, if some are on the competition circuit, others live off this sport by only filming movie parts. It’s incredibly rare to them all in the same place and to witness their unique way of expressing themselves on snow.

To add to the atypicness of the event, each skier’s performance is judged by the skiers themselves, according to the criteria of style, the degree of difficulty of tricks, and the choice of line through the course.

Henrik Harlaut and Candide Thovex deemed winners

The session which took place today began with an explosive ambiance. From the start of the course, the skiers continuously landed impressive trick with older generation encouraging, congratulating, and helping the new one.

Henrik Harlaut, motivated as ever, took home 3 of the 5 trophies: the Blue Tomato Best Style (rewarding style), the Les Arcs Best Overall (rewarding the skier that best used the course throughout the 2 days) and the Armada Best Trick (rewarding the best trick: double rodeo 1260 safety).

Candide Thovex showed the new guard that we can always count on him. He received the Beatcan Best Line, rewarding the choice of the best line (he also had a huge transfer, the only one of it’s kind seen in this competition, and topped it off with a double back flip at the bottom of the course). He was also awarded the E-Adrenaline Public Choice Winner, determined by the livestream viewers (540 participants, 160 votes) following the live feed from their homes. At the event, Candide said he was “very touched” to win these two prizes.

Special mention to American Torin Yater-Wallace who landed a spectacular double flat 12 safety and from the Jackson Wells (NZ) that nailed a double cork 9 while coming out of the bottom bowl.

Skateboarding to Skiing

What has helped build the B&E Invitational’s reputation for the last 3 editions and won the respect of the “influencers” of the discipline, is the originality and the uniqueness of the zone on with the skier are invited to ski.

This year, the course was beyond anything the skiers could have imagined, with kickers, stair sets, rails, bowls, transfers, a mini halfpipe, and even a tunnel. Even more creative than in previous years, this structure required 3 weeks of uninterrupted work by 12 shapers, 5 machines, and 60 000m4 of snow, giving the riders infinite options of lines to demonstrate the extent of their skiing talent.

Located on the snow front in Arc 1800, this true “skatepark in snow” was more creative than ever before, and even involved inventing features from the world of skateboarding, such as the “cradle”, a half-sphere of snow placed vertically. This, for the sheer enjoyment of the invited riders, the many tourists gathered around the park, the spectators behind the 8 international TV channels broadcasting the live feed, and the 50,000 internet users that watched the competition throughout the world.

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