The Best Lines—and Crashes—from This Year’s Freeride World Tour
A season marked by tricky conditions and progressive riding wrapped up last week in Verbier
The Freeride World Tour wrapped up last week with Xtreme, its finale, held in Verbier, Switzerland. Skiers and snowboarders competed in unforgiving conditions on the legendary Bec des Rosses face, a steep, technical, and exposed slope with ample opportunity for showmanship. Swiss rookie Maxime Chabloz and Kiwi Jess Hotter took home the series titles for skiing, and American Blake Moller and French rider Tiphanie Perrotin won the overall in snowboarding.
Throughout the season, the tour was marked by poor snow conditions at many of the venues, as well as a windstorm that forced competitors off the face of Kicking Horse, British Columbia, on February 12 and onto a different slope. But the riders didn’t hesitate to send mind-bending, consequential, high-speed lines.
From the first clean double backflip to perfectly pinned cliff drops and a few inevitable crashes, the tour was an exciting test of progressive, creative riding. Below, our six favorite moments of the season:
Max Palm’s Double Backflip in Baqueira Beret, Spain
The Swiss skier blew minds with his first lap on the circuit this year, putting down a clean double backflip (a competition first) at Baqueira Beret, a new Freeride World Tour venue, to take the win—on a wildcard entry, to boot. While Palm had to bow out midseason due to injuries, we’re looking forward to seeing more from the 19-year-old.
Spanish Rookie Abel Moga’s Front Flip on the Bec Des Rosses
Moga stormed onto the scene with a second-place finish at the season’s first stop in Baqueira Beret, after threading an impossible line through a complicated—and massive—cliff band. He carried that crowd-pleasing energy through the season. After putting down an already-impressive line at the finals, he went for an improbable front flip off his last feature. He crashed, but the crowd went wild anyway.
Jess Hotter’s Comeback
Kiwi skier Jess Hotter took a year off from the tour last year and returned for an overall win and consistently aggressive, creative riding. She left it all on the mountain several times, with two of the more notable crashes of the season, including a high-speed tomahawk at Fieberbrunn in Austria that involved her avalanche gear flying out of her pack.
Blake Moller’s “Chill” Winning Run in Ordino-Arcalis, Andorra
Coloradan snowboarder Blake Moller, 21, took home the overall title, thanks to smooth style, creative line choice, and his ability to thread committing lines through technical terrain. He’s also notable for his deeply relaxed attitude. In an interview with the event’s commentators, he described his 360 as “the chillest part of it,” and when asked what he was thinking while mid-backflip, said he was “just chilling upside down, hoping to not land on the rock.”
Manuela Mandl’s Affirmations—and Cliff Drops
At the beginning of this video of her winning run in Verbier, you can catch Austrian snowboarder Manuela Mandl telling herself, “Enjoy, baby.” The GoPro perspective brings home just how technical—and scary—her line down Bec des Rosses was, making her mantra all the more charming.
Maxime Chabloz’s Entire Season
In nearly every run, Swiss skier and overall winner Maxime Chabloz laced together technical features with huge tricks at an insane pace. He’d land a Cork 7 and, instead of dumping speed, bounce right into a massive backflip. Chabloz is also a professional kiteboarder, and we’re curious (and excited) to see what this well-rounded athlete does next.
Utah skier Andrew Pollard’s impossibly smooth, effortless skiing at every stop.
California rookie Lily Bradley’s playful, park-inflected style.
Spanish legend Aymar Navarro’s send-at-all-costs line choice.