Squaw’s Sammy Luebke, Ralph Backstrom 1-2 in Freeride World Tour stop
FWT results - stop 3
1. Nadine Wallner (AUT), 87.25 points
2. Francesca Pavillard-Cain (USA), 76.25 points
3. Lorraine Huber (AUT), 75.75 points
1. Shannan Yates (USA), 73.75 points
2. Estelle Balet (SUI), 69.75 points
3. Amber Schuecker (AUS), 66.75 points
1. Sam Smoothy (NZL), 86.5 points
2. Nicolas Salencon (ARG), 80.75 points
3. Richard Amacker (SUI), 79.75 points
1. Sammy Luebke (USA), 81.25 points
2. Ralph Backstrom (USA), 80.00 points
3. Emilien Badoux (SUI), 76.25 points
Squaw Valley snowboarders Sammy Luebke and Ralph Backstrom continued their strong seasons with first- and second-place finishes in the third stop of the Swatch Freeride World Tour on Monday.
Challenging snowpack in Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria, caused organizers to move the stop to Kappl, which is also in the Tirol region of Austria.
Luebke managed his second win of the season with a fluid line featuring a high-speed double cliff drop near the bottom. Luebke was awarded the high score in his category of 81.25.
“I am feeling really good,” Luebke said after his winning run. “I was skeptical on line choice as the face was a bit shorter. I thought about changing my original choice but stuck with my plan, and that worked out. The conditions were variable but I found some nice pockets of good snow.”
Backstrom, the defending Freeride World Tour (FWT) men’s snowboard champion, followed closely in second place. Backstrom was the first snowboarder to ride and chose a fluid approach to the venue right down the fall line to earn a score of 80.00.
Following a win in Chamonix at the last event, Emilien Badoux of France used the terrain well, linking many features, for a third-place score of 76.25.
Brian Bozack, who rides at Sugar Bowl, finished eighth (67.50).
The competition began with the women’s skiing competition. Defending FWT women’s ski champion Nadine Wallner of Austria protected her reign with an impressive win, aggressively attacking 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,” Wallner said. “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!”
In second, American Francesca Pavillard-Cain approached a feature frequently trafficked by the female skiers with incredible confidence and more air than any of her competition. A newcomer to the FWT this season, Pavillard-Cain earned a score of 76.25. Austrian Lorraine Huber finished third with a score of 75.75.
Squaw Valley skier Jackie Paaso, who won the last stop, placed seventh (60.0).
In the men’s ski category, Sam Smoothy of New Zealand screamed down the fall line with a super fast and high-energy run. He managed both a double and triple cliff drop, which pleased the judges and resuled in a winning score of 86.50.
Nicolas Salencon of Argentina was one of the only competitors to successfully land a 360 off the most popular air-feature of the day. Salencon creatively linked many features together and earned a score of 80.75 and second place. Swiss skier Richard Amacker finished third with a 79.75.
Sean Collin out of Squaw Valley finished eighth (69.0). Fellow Squaw Valley skier Conor Pelton was 11th (66.0) and Willie Schneider of Alpine Meadows was 28th. Kirkwood’s Josh Daiek, who won the first stop, did not record a score.
In the women’s snowboard competition, Shannan Yates of the United States took her second consecutive win by exhibiting solid control and execution throughout her run despite the variable snowpack. She received a top score of 73.75.
Swiss rider Estelle Balet was second with a score of 69.75, while Australian Amber Schuecker rounded out the podium with a score of 66.75.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour continues with a stop at Kirkwood on March 1 and Revelstoke, Canada, March 10, where the final athlete cut will be made for the Xtreme Verbier final championship competition in Switzerland on March 22. The remainder of the schedule includes both men’s and women’s ski and snowboard competition.