Squaw Valley’s Sammy Luebke three-peats as world champion
April 4, 2018
Squaw Valley big mountain snowboarder Sammy Luebke and a handful of the world's top snowboarders faced off on one of the toughest mountains in the Alps, the Bec des Rosses, in Verbier, Switzerland, to decide the finale of the Freeride World Tour.
Luebke would throw down the most extreme run of the day, highlighted by massive airs and an unflinching style as he tore down the mountain at incredible speeds to defend last year's title at Bec des Rosses.
With Luebke's win at the event on Monday, April 2, catapulted him into first place overall for the series with 8,425 points, edging out Switzerland's Thomas Feurstein, who finished with 8,360 points. It's the third straight year Luebke has won the overall world title.
Luebke struggled with injuries during the early part of the season, finishing no higher than fourth place in the first three events, but bounced back with wins in the final two competitions to retain his overall world title. The win in Verbier is his second in a row on what Freeride World Tour Americas Manager Tom Winter called the most difficult venue on the tour.
Luebke's winning run featured massive airs and blazing speed down steep sections Bec des Ross' Central Coulior. He started by picking a line down a narrow section of snow, and then launched off a ledge, narrowly missing rocks near the landing. The jump created a ton of speed for Luebke, which he managed before launching off another cliff for a massive air. He'd hit two more features before finishing the run to tally a first-place score 2,500 points.
"Figured I would try a new line out this year," said Luebke after his run. "Snow was a little bumpy in the center, I got going a little fast, a little faster than I wanted to. So stoked to make that in one piece."
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Germany's Elias Elhardt was second with 2,200 points.
Local rider Jonathan Penfield was also in action and finished the season in seventh place with 1,290 points. Penfield is currently ranked No. 6 on the Freeride World Tour.
The event in Switzerland concludes the 2017-18 Freeride World Tour. For full results visit FreerideWorldTour.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.