Freeride fans were finally treated to a phenomenal show today on the explosive first stop of the 2017 Swatch Freeride World Tour. Competitors gave it their all as the fifty-two riders made their way to the Pyrenean freeride capital for an action-packed competition on the feature-dense Serra de Balma venue. Technical riding defined today’s event on the competition face situated at 2450m – known by riders as “Smoothy’s Garden” in honor of Sam Smoothy’s 2015 groundbreaking run – and located within the Vallnord-Arcalís resort. The five-hundred vertical meter venue benefited from a multitude of line options, from powerful straightlines to technical cliff sections, with a gentle yet playful runout zone. Tumultuous weather over the past week deposited fresh snow in the Pyrenees, with brilliant blue skies finally making an appearance for competition day and offering optimal riding conditions for competitors.


The first place position on the podium was reserved for Drew Tabke (USA), who made the venue his easel as he painted a fantastically artistic line down the face starting with a massive and committing air to an improbably relaxed backflip. Kristofer Turdell (SWE) discovered a bold and powerful double-air which he capped with an impressive line and riding style, earning him second place. Perhaps the most full-throttle line of the day is credited to Spaniard favorite Aymar Navarro (ESP) as he pulled off a large air at the top of the venue that he transformed into a highly technical double-hit.


Drew Tabke, slashin’ his way to first place. Photo: DDaher/FWT


Different angle on Aymar Navarro’s mega-send. Both this photo and the cover photo shot by DDaher/FWT


Arianna Tricomi (ITA) demonstrated a mastery that no other female skier could match with a powerful line that integrated more airs than any other skier in the field, earning her first place. Jaclyn Paaso (USA) combined commitment and power into her line but was not able to clinch the first place position due to some minor technical errors. Opening her line with a demanding air that she then combined with impressive riding, Kylie Sivell (CAN) earned third place.


Canada’s own Kylie Sivell finds the light, lands herself in third place. Photo: JBernard/FWT


First Place for Italy’s Arriana Tricomi, comin’ in hot. Photo: JBernard/FWT


Anne-Flore Marxer (SUI) earned the win by taking advantage of the phenomenal conditions and selecting an aesthetic line complimented with several well-landed airs. Commitment was the theme of Nicola Thost’s (GER) second-place run which featured the biggest airs of the day in the category but was marred by a moment of loose riding. The calculated and methodical line of Mikaela Hollsten (FIN) earned her third place with a run that was defined by consistency. Today’s competition will be directly followed by the Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Staged in Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra, scheduled to take place tomorrow at 10am Central European Time. Stay tuned to www.freerideworldtour.com and FWT social media channels for the most up-todate event information as conditions evolve heading into tomorrow’s event.


Anne Flore-Marxer showing the hard-charging style that earned her the win. Photo: DDaher/FWT


Another steezy moment from Flore-Marxer. Photo: DDaher/FWT


Sammy Luebke (USA) earned first place by taking every opportunity to grab his board and throw impressive spins, all while integrating his patented “snowboarder’s” style. Thomas Feurstein (AUT) edged into second place with an impressive line featuring two three-sixty degree spins and precise riding. Despite a biking injury over the summer, Ralph Backstrom (USA) initiated his line in a committing section of the rider’s right side of the venue, taking third place.


Sammy Luebke continues to dominate the Men’s Snowboard field. Photo: DDaher/FWT


Always a treat to watch Ralph Backstrom do his thing. Photo: DDaher/FWT

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Watch the Replay.

Check out individual runs and more in the Video Library.

And be sure to join us tomorrow at 10am Central European Time (1am this evening out here on The Coast).


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