La Clusaz, France, once the home of the great Candide and the now home of prooooos like Laurent Favre and Xavier Bertoni hosted a first time event, called the La Clusaz Free Sessions. A mixture between big mountain, slopestyle and film/video competitions, the Free Sessions pitted teams of 3 athletes, a photographer and a cinematographer against one another in hopes of winning 20,000 euros and a chance at French fame. One of said teams was an Oakley sponsored team consisting of Byron “Lobster Face” Wells, Oscar “Fanta” Scherlin, Emanuel “Mossa” Hedvall, Christoffer “Crill” Kristiansson and Shay Williams.
For three hectic days, teams would choose one rider to compete in two big mountain events, one rider to compete in “jib-sessions” at night and film/shoot the rest of the time, to create the two best 10-photo slideshows and 3-minute edit.
For the big mountain portion, Swede Emanuel Hedvall, ripped two separate faces of la Clusaz against legends like Seb Michaud, Phil Meier, Richard Permin and Thomas Diet, to name a few. The event hired helis to film and judge the lines, as each rider picked and skied only one line per day, putting life and limb on the line. Mossa’s lines were fast and included stomped cliffs, one as big as 30-meters. Hedvall’s two combined scores placed him 3rd overall in the big mountain portion of the event.
The jib sessions consisted of an 80-foot road gap, to 4-rail option to log jib reminiscent of Candide’s days. Oscar Scherlin and Byron Wells both dropped in super hard, blowing away the competition with switch tricks, transition tricks and rail trickery that blew away the competion, handily winning both night sessions and the overall jib title.
After three days of intense skiing and filming, each team was to turn in a 3-minute edit, with each of the teams putting their own unique take on the week and the event itself. In the end, however, it was the Scott team, consisting of Laurent Favre, Phil Meier and Seb Michaud who took home the glory and winnings. Team Rossignol from France took home 2nd and Oakley’s team of non-frenchies snagged the third spot.
It has to be noted that this Team Oakley (there was another) had the youngest competitors (Byron is 16) and was the only team without a french team member, truly making this an international affair.
While the event was hectic and taxing on every team and competitor, the weather held out, the crowd showed up and the skiing was unbelievable. La Clusaz has hosted another world-class event, and only time will tell what they come up with next.
Check back soon for Team Oakley’s video edit.