Tester finishes rookie campaign in second place
Truckee skier excels in first season on Freeride World Tour
Freeride World Tour champions were crowned Tuesday at the legendary Bec des Rosses in Switzerland, closing out a season in which a rookie skier from Truckee burst onto the scene.
Ross Tester, 22, came into this week’s Xtreme Verbier finale sitting atop the season-long points race with a pair of wins, but tough conditions and a missed line would result in a fourth-place finish on Tuesday, dropping Tester to second overall for the year.
“I was definitely super stoked to finally get up on the Bec in Verbier,” Tester said in a video interview following Tuesday’s competition. “I ended up missing my line completely, but improvised and threw a big backie (backflip) and had a ton of fun with it.”
Due to snow conditions, the athletes started nearly 1,000 feet lower on the mountain. The final event also had 15,000 points up for grabs instead of the 10,000 points that were handed out to winners of the other three competitions.
With the season championship on the line, Tester was the final male skier to drop into the Bec, launching off a small feature, and then airing over a rock.
He’d find some trouble shortly afterward, getting off line and missing out on an opportunity to throw a trick off a feature. Tester would recover in a big way though, launching a massive backflip off a ledge to close his run.
In the chase for the season title, Tester needed at least a third-place finish to capture, but after the judges’ scores came in — giving him fourth place with a score of 85.67 — the 22-year-old would have to settle for a runner-up finish in his first year on the tour. Spanish skier Aymar Navarro, 31, edged Tester for third place, finishing with 86.33 points.
Sweden’s Kristofer Turdell, 31, came into the event needing a first-place finish and to have Tester miss the podium to secure the Freeride World Tour championship. A score of 90.67 secured Turdell the win at Xtreme Verbier, and gave him the season title.
Though Tester came up short in his bid to claim the tour championship, the rookie skier put the rest of the field of pros on notice going into year two. In his first career start, Tester stormed out of the gates to claim victory at Ordino-Arcalis, Andorra.
He’d falter in the second stop of the tour, finishing 18th, but bounced back in Fieberbrunn, Austria, with a first-place finish.
“I’m definitely stoked to come back and see everyone next year,” said Tester. “Looking forward to it.”
Luebke finishes fourth at Xtreme Verbier
Another local on the tour, snowboarder Sammy Luebke, 31, was also competing at Bec des Rosses. Luebke, a three-time tour champion, landed a backside 360, and launched off a large feature near the bottom of his run to finish with a score of 76.33 to finish in fourth place.
Luebke finished the season in sixth place in the standings.
France’s Victor de le Rue, 31, captured the win at Xtreme Verbier and the tour championship. De le Rue won the title in 2019 as well.
For full results and video replay, visit http://www.freerideworldtour.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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