Congratulations to Nadine Wallner and New Zealand skier Sam Smoothy for their win at the FWT stage in Fieberbrunn!
Challenging snowpack in Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen forced organisers to move the third Swatch Freeride World Tour by the North Face (FWT) 2014 stop to Kappl, with the start gate perched atop the 2,800-meter (9,186-foot) Quellspitze. Variable snow conditions made landings tricky and required riders to execute impeccable control.
The competition began with the women’s skiing competition, who therefore had the advantage of enjoying untracked snow. Defending 2013 FWT Women’s Ski Champion Nadine Wallner of Austria protected her reign with an impressive win. Wallner aggressively attacked her airs with solid and polished technique. The judges awarded her a high score of 87.25.
My run was exactly how it should feel. It was an excellent ride, just awesome. I am back in the game!
“My run was exactly how it should feel. It was an excellent ride, just awesome,” exclaimed Wallner after her run. “Everything worked out as I had planned. I managed to ski fast through some wind-affected snow in the upper section, but there was some nice powder after my cliff drop. I am back in the game!"
Nadine won the day's contest with a lead of over ten points, followed by Francesca Pavillard-Cain (USA) and Lorraine Huber (AUT).
Sam Smoothy (NZ) won the mens' ski competition. The Kiwi displayed his usual mix of speed and power, and with a score of 86.5 points, this time it paid off. In a climactic finale, Argentinian skier Nicolas Salencon’s final run earned him second, edging out Swiss skier Richard Amacker into third.
Smoothy was impressive. Dropping into the wind-packed snow, he quickly reached cruising speed while making wide and incredibly fast turns. Navigating cliffs and rocks without hesitation, Smoothy would attack full speed, where others would slow down to check their entry point. It was a reminder of his last FWT victory in Chamonix 2012, where Sam flew over couloirs and double cliffs. Then, like today, Sam skied with appetite, leaving his opponents fighting over the scraps. Smoothy kept it simple: he didn’t threw a 360° like Drew Tabke or Kevin Guri, and he didn’t attempt the highest cliff like Julien Lopez. He just skied fast and clean, all the way to the bottom.
Richard Amaker and Nicolas Salencon skied with a very similar style, gracefully cutting clean lines down the mountain face: Richard held the lead of the race until Sam’s winning run. The judges clearly wanted to see cleanly executed jumps and smooth, fast entries into the more technical sections of the face.
First place overall before Fieberbrunn, Frenchie Loïc Collomb-Patton’s hopes of a third consecutive victory ended with a crash: a big rotational trick attempt that went awry somewhere past 720°. Jérémie Heitz (Switzerland), second in the overall ranking, also failed to post a solid score.
To see the watch the entire competition again, go to FWT Fieberbrunn 2014 - Watch as VOD!
1. Sammy Luebke (USA), 81.25 points
2. Ralph Backstrom (USA), 80.00 points
3. Emilien Badoux (SUI), 76.25 points
1. Sam Smoothy (NZ), 86.5 points
2. Nicolas Salencon (ARG), 80.75 points
3. Richard Amacker (SUI), 79.75 points
1. Shannan Yates (USA), 73.75 points
2. Estelle Balet (SUI, 69.75 points
3. Amber Schuecker (AUS), 66.75 points
1. Nadine Wallner (AUT), 87.25 points
2. Francesca Pavillard-Cain (USA), 76.25 points
3. Lorraine Huber (AUT), 75.75 points