Russia Freeride World Tour Stop #1 Went Off
The Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi was host to the first stop on the 2009-10 Freeride World Tour. 56 athletes from around the world made the long and difficult journey to the future site of the 2014 winter Olympics to ski in Krasnaya Polyana, the local ski village.
The days before the competition were a blur of deep powder tree skiing, with almost a meter falling overnight three days prior to the competition. Day one was postponed due to unstable snow conditions so riders took advantage of the sick terrain and bluebird skies available from the archaic lift system. Local freeriders guided foreigners in two days of epic powder skiing.
When the storm broke and conditions stabilized, the event commenced on the faces and spines just minutes from the top lift station on the 4th chair. Highlights included a spectacular crash by Henrik Windstedt and a failed backflip by Drew Tabke as well as a massive stomped air by Seb Michaud. Skiers and snowboarders alike were riding hard on the short but technical lines. At the end of the day 1, Aurelien Ducroz's powerful skiing was leading with other riders close behind. Jess McMillan took the lead in the women's category.
Day two started with overcast conditions and took place on the Rosa face, about an hour hike from the top chair. The venue for day two wasn't quite as gnarly so skiers integrated more airs as highlighted by Thomas Diet's and Seb Michaud's double black flip attempts. Sverre Liliequist's consistent and powerful charging put him in first place at with his combined line scores. Aurelien Ducroz's fast skiing and stomped airs put him in second with Frenchman Thibaud Duchosal taking third. In the women's front, Jess McMillan's super-fast style and consistent stompage put her in first, with an impressive day two line involving a committing spine system.
Overall riders riders threw down strong lines and impressive airs in this unique venue. The event ended with a two tour buses packed to Sochi in order to shed some pent-up party anxiety. Riders were treated to a crazy shirtless night in the chic city of Sochi while dancing until five in the morning when the buses departed.
Words & some photos by Davide De Masi. Lead image by C. Margot and final image by J. Hadik.