February 15, 2009 – The results are logicalâ€¦ among the numerous riders at the â€˜Pentes de lâ€™HÃ´telâ€™ â€“ the Brevent ski area â€“ who came to compete in the Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Freeride World Qualifier, skiers and snowboarders from the Freeride World Tour took key spots on the various podiums. In the end, Seb Michaud (FRA) and Ane Enderud (NOR) win in ski; Aurelien Routens (FRA) and Nathalie Zenklusen (SUI) win in snowboard.
Where better than Chamonix, the Mecca for outdoor sports, to bring together those passionate about freeride?
Everything was in place for the amazing show: sunshine, low temperatures, cold snow, a spot loved by the locals, the â€˜HÃ´tel du BrÃ©ventâ€™ â€“ 400 vertical meters on a steep slope facing east â€“ and 92 riders anxious to reveal their talent taking on the face!
A village set up at the bottom of the slope for the pleasure of the spectators (mostly French and foreign tourists) as well as fans of the discipline who came to admire the courage and creativity of the riders.
Among the favorites anxiously awaited at the start, two Frenchmen, Aurelien Ducroz (2nd of the Freeride World Ranking 2009 in ski before this competition) and Sebastien Michaud (2nd of the Freeride World Tour 2008 in ski) as well as Aline Bock (GER) in snowboard and Ane Enderud (NOR) (1st and 2nd of the Freeride World Ranking 2009 before this competition).
The requests for participation flooded in for this certified Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ), more than 200. A unique occasion to bring together local riders (among which there are the worldâ€™s best including Aurelien Ducroz) yet all the top skiers and snowboarders who spend their winters in the valley to take advantage of all the Mont Blanc area has to offer, as well as all those who decided to come to this world renowned resort. This was their opportunity to compete and earn points towards the Freeride World Ranking 2009.
Freeride is an integral part of the culture in Chamonix. To ski steep slopes like mountaineering have been the pillars of this valley for many years. The best skiers have faces and couloirs named after them. First called steep slope skiing, then extreme skiing is now called freeride. This discipline is historically linked to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.
Our strategy is to bring people from all over the world to our valley to discover the beauty and quality of life here. Today, this is accomplished through events such as the Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, which is a new means of expression through off-piste skiing.â€
Mr. Eric Fournier, Mayor of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
â€œFor the organization of such an event, we are very attentive to the security issues and emergency management, which is a part of daily life in the valley. We also put forth our efforts to prevention; this is why we reiterate to the public the fact that the athletes participating in this event have extensive knowledge and experience. We would like to show their exemplary preparation. We are doing everything possible so that this first ever Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a success; we of course are happy with the exceptional snowfall this season!â€
Mr. Jean-Louis Verdier, Head of the Security Commission of the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Mayorâ€™s Office
Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Results
Experience makes the differenceâ€¦
In the menâ€™s ski competition, experience was definitely key. The deliberations were heated and the scores were close. The amplitude and precision by Seb Michaud (FRA) made him stand out from the rest. His line choice included major jumps including 2 back flips for which he is known. He won just ahead of Aureilien Ducroz (FRA) and Phil Meier (SUI).
â€œI won my first freeride competition here when I was 12. To come back was important for me because this place is great. Being part of the Freeride World Tour, it is interesting for me to participate in a Qualifier for 2 reasons: to score more points on the Freeride World Ranking that could be useful at the end of the season, and to judge the upcoming ridersâ€¦ even if they have a few more years before they can beat me!â€, explains Seb Michaud.
Aurelien Routens wins
Aurelien Routens wins the competition ahead of 2 men from Switzerland: Emilien Badoux and Julien Falco. Between the winner and those following, the line choice made the difference. Jonas Emery (SUI, 7th) just missed the victory with the most interesting line choice yet with an unfortunate fall at the end of the run, the podium took a different turn.
The Norwegian, Ane Enderud, skied a spectacular run that could have competed with the men! She easily won ahead of Rebecka Eriksson (SWE) and Eva Walkner (AUT).
Also a notable first jump for Stina Jakobsson (SWE), the new face on the Freeride World Tour, who unfortunately fell in the middle of her run.
Deception for Aline Bock
In the womenâ€™s snowboard competition, the level was quite similar for most participants. Nathalie Zenklusen (SUI) won ahead of Fanny Gras (FRA) and ALine Bock (GER), winner of the Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi.
Men Ski: Sebastien Michaud (FRA), Aurelien Ducroz (FRA), Phil Meier (SUI)
Women Ski: Ane Enderud (NOR), Rebecka Eriksson (SWE), Eva Walkner (AUT)