Truckee’s Penfield finishes year as Freeride World Tour runner-up

Jonathan Penfield, of Truckee took a win at Freeride World after the second week was canceled.
Provided/Freeride World Tour / Dom Daher

VERBIER, Switzerland — Heavy snowfall, high winds, and avalanches last week in Switzerland forced the cancelation of the Freeride World Tour championship final.

Due to the Yeti Xtreme Verbier competition being canceled for the second time tour history, the current leaders in the ski and snowboard standings were awarded world championships.

“Following this morning’s bombing on the Bec des Rosses, several large avalanches came down,” said Freeride World Tour CEO Nicolas Hale-Woods, in a statement. “The venue is therefore unusable for safety reasons, meaning the YETI Xtreme Verbier 2023 is canceled, and the world champion titles will be awarded according to the rankings after four events. We did everything possible with the challenging conditions, but Mother Nature has the final say, which we must respect.”

Truckee snowboarder Jonathan Penfield returned to the tour after last competing in 2020, and surged toward the top of the rankings behind a trio of podium finishes, including a win at the final stop of the tour. With the Xtreme Verbier canceled, however, Penfield, 35, would have to settle for a second place overall.

“Stoked to secure (Freeride World Tour) second overall,” said Penfield following last week’s canceled event. “Been a season of small miracles, barely getting four events off. From Spain getting a much needed last minute dump, to rushing Andorra to beat the heat, to the much needed extra time for Golden’s snowpack to build, and the brief window of powder in Austria, we were lucky to get what we did! Didn’t quite have enough luck to get the finals off with a lingering persistent slab problem, better luck next year!”

Penfield finished in the top-five in each of the four competitions this season. He finishes the season with 26,900 points. France’s Ludovic Guillot-Diat took the men’s snowboard championship with 28,000 points.

In skiing, local athlete Ross Tester, 24, finished the season finished the year in fifth place. Tester’s best result was a second-place finish at the tour’s top in Andorra.

“To everyone that has believed in me and supported me on this journey, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to ski to my highest level leading up to finals,” said Tester in an Instagram post. “I was ready to leave it all out there in Verbier and can’t wait to translate that energy into something moving forward.”

Truckee’s Xander Guldman, 24, made his Freeride World Tour debut this season, and finished eighth in men’s skiing. Guldman had a pair of top-10 finishes in three starts this year.

North Tahoe’s Delila Quinn, 19, competed as a rooking in women’s skiing. She managed top-10 finishes in each of her three starts. Quinn’s best performance was a seventh place at the tour’s stop in Spain.

Truckee’s Lily Bradley entered her sophomore season on the tour after finishing fourth place last year. Unfortunately, Bradley would suffer an injury ahead of the first event that later required surgery.

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