The North Face Ski Challenge 08/09 Presented by Gore-Tex FINAL CONTEST FREERIDE in Val Thorens

The North Face Ski Challenge 08/09 Presented by Gore-Tex FINAL CONTEST FREERIDE in Val Thorens

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Publiée le le 31 mars 2009

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FRENCH RIDERS DOMINATE DURING FREERIDE SEGMENT OF THE NORTH FACE SKI CHALLENGE By: Michel Beaudry Val Thorens, France: The snow fell. The weather cooperated. And some of Europe?s top young freeriders got to show their stuff today on the steep, demanding slopes of the Glaciers de Thorens. It was the opening event in the third running of the North Face Ski Challenge presented by Gore-Tex, and according to event director, Romain Raisson, it was a true test of the skiers? big-mountain talents. ?I?m really happy with the way things turned out today,? said Raisson. ?This was a real freeride contest. The venue was excellent ? tough and unforgiving, but still safe. More importantly, the athletes who came to compete today skied smart. We really got to see who could manage steep terrain and who couldn?t. I can?t wait to see what happens in the freestyle segment now?? In the women?s event, the Queens, French skier Samantha Bernos of the Young Riders Crew showed why she?s considered such a promising freeride prospect on the world tour. Showing a level of mountain maturity well beyond her eighteen years, the Chamonix-based skier ripped through some of the toughest terrain in the venue with ease. ?What I was most happy with,? said her coach Greg Liscot, ?was the way she stuck her landings. We?ve been working on that all winter. Today, she reached a new level in her skiing.? Her mark of 33.6 was a full eight points ahead of her nearest rival, second place finisher Ariana Tricomi of Italy. Still, young Tricomi was able to impress the crowd with a scintillating telemark run that saw her choose a very technical line and ski it beautifully. ?Very impressive,? said judge Matteo Vettorel. ?She showed a lot of determination out there.? The Italian skier was followed by Young Riders Crew team member Elise Lecluse, who finished the day in third place. In the Kids category (12-13 years old), it was YRC rider Rafael Muniesa who took top honours. ?His line choice wasn?t all that great,? commented coach Liscot (who?s known to be tough on his charges). ?That said, I thought he managed his run really well. I think he showed some pretty high-level skiing skills up there today.? Close behind him in second place, was Slovakian sensation Pavol Kuric. Only nine years old, and still reeling from his 1500 kilometre road trip to Val Thorens, the young skier showed some big mountain moves that many a 20 year old would like to master. ?I?m just happy to be competing here this weekend,? said Kuric. ?I?m tired. But I?m still having a great time.? Third place in the kid?s freeride event went to Finnish skier Anttu Oikkonen. The Teens category (14-15 year-olds) was a hard fought battle. But when the powder snow had cleared, it was French skier Jules Mandin who led the standings. ?I really didn?t expect such good skiing out of him today,? said Chattel coach Yannick Ceria. ?When we did inspection this morning I showed my team all the lines that I thought they could take. But it was up to each of them to decide how they wanted to manage their own race. Jules really went for it! He certainly impressed me.? Close behind Mandin, in second place, was Maxime Gisin of Les Menuires who rode solidly all day. Quentin Glath of Val Thorens was third. The Kings? category (16-18), always an entertaining group to watch, did not disappoint. Raphael Vouillamoz of Chamonix, pulled of a near-flawless second run to just sneak past Swedish ace Niklas Granlund, less than .6 of a point behind! Raphael?s good buddy, Timothée Pick, also of Chamonix, came back from an impressive crash in his first run to score the third best mark of the day. ?I think we reached a whole new level of competition today,? says event founder JP Baralo. ?The North Face Ski Challenge will never be the same again. Why? Because I saw young freeriders do things on the mountain today that I really didn?t believe was possible. They blew my mind!?

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