On March 28, George Rodney took third place in the Xtreme Verbier event in Switzerland, and with that, he secured the 2015 Freeride World Tour overall title. Rodney, a rookie on the tour, is only the second American to ever take home the FWT crown, after Drew Tabke did it in 2013. The Colorado-native, and current Utah resident, has enjoyed a truly memorable rookie campaign, and was gracious enough to talk with us about it.
You were just crowned the FWT world champion after a third place finish in Verbier. As a rookie on tour, how does that feel?
It’s hard to put into words, but “I’m super frickin’ stoked,” is definitely a good place to start. This has been the wildest few months of my life, so I think it’s still settling in.
Your run began with a first place finish in Andorra (the venue was restaged due to poor conditions in Fieberbrunn, Austria). Your line was a unique one on the outer edge of the venue. Take me through the line choice (that cliff entrance was massive!).
As with most of my runs it was the first feature that caught my eye. Then the trick was just to decide if it was even possible, and, if so, how I was going to go about getting it done. One thing that really gave me confidence was that a second exit plan was possible in case things got messy coming into the most exposed part. I didn’t want to get into that pad and realize that it didn’t go, and get stuck in a really bad spot. But it all went and it turned into one of the most fun and unique lines I have ever skied.
After a fourth place finish in Andorra, you sat at the top of the leaderboard, thus wearing the golden leader bib in Haines, Alaska. What was it like, heading into the FWT’s first-ever stop in Alaska, as the leader?
Looking back on it, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Alaska being the Mecca of big-mountain skiing and the only tour stop in the United States made it really special. While it was happening though, I just tried to think about it as if I was there just for fun, [and having fun] is hard not to do when skiing in Alaska.
You had to wait through a long weather window while in Alaska, and watching the event, it seemed like you had a sh*t ton of pow. How was the skiing?
Because the weather was bad we didn’t really get to ski as much as you’d think. On [any of the decent weather days] that would have been good to [go ski for fun] we were trying to get the competition off. When it did get off the snow was absolutely perfect. However, up until then, the frisbee golf was the best.
Your save during the middle of the run was pretty miraculous. Was that all instinctual or did you have a bit of time to think about it?
That was about as instinctual of a move as humanly possible. I didn’t have a split second to be scared. It was one of the most real moments of my life. It’s a feeling I will remember as long as I live.
Which venue did you find the most difficult?
Alaska because of the sheer size of the venue. As well as the fact that it was really blind from the top. It was hard to be fully confident about what you were dropping into. But when it happened, it was the best venue of the season. And one of the best runs of my life.