After a difficult week plagued with snow, wind and poor visibility, the first contest of the Freeride World Tour, the Nissan Mammoth Challenge, was held in California on Friday 25th January. With cloudy skies and light snowfalls, 55 of the biggest names in the world of ski and snowboard battled the weather to impress the judges and spectators.
Massive snowfalls over previous days gave at least two feet (60-80 cm) of fresh snow on the face; the competitors rode fast and went for huge air with impressive cliff drops, landing in between the pine trees. Competition was tough with only those performing near-perfect runs earning the chance for a podium spot. Each rider carried out two different runs on a double face with two optional starts and many different line options, with interesting terrain and big cliff jumps. The accumulated points from both runs set the final result.
In the women skiers’ category, American Jesse Mc Millan drew a straight line from the top to the bottom, never hesitating and offering the fastest run of the day in the female group, earning her top podium spot. French rider Caroline Meynet took second with her powerful but more classic style, and Marja Persson from Sweden took third after a small fall deducted several points from her explosive run.
On the snowboard side, Géraldine Fasnacht from Switzerland landed her first jump in such deep powder that she had to crawl out of her hole! Her choice of lines, fluidity and solid runs clinched first place, just ahead of local snowboarder Tiffany Noel in second. French snowboarder Bérangère Moroc came straight from the Nissan Mammoth Quest qualifying contest a week before, and stormed straight into third place.
The second event of the Freeride World Tour will take place in Krasnaya Polyana/Sochi, Russia from 31st January. More than 40 participating riders will head to the host resort of the 2014 Winter Olympics to be heli-lifted to the west Caucasus mountain range for some daring shredding.
Check out news, updates, photos, riders’ and events’ information on the newly launched Freeride World Tour website.