Freeride Junior World Champions crowned in Grandvalira
More than sixty of the best young riders from around the world were invited to compete on the technical slopes of the Andorran ski resort for the most prestigious event in junior freeride.
These emerging top-level athletes faced off on the area’s renowned freeride terrain which is characterized by a highly-featured competition face on Pic Alt de Cubil (2700m).
Despite challenging conditions caused by intermittent snowfall and low visibility, the competitors exhibited a very high level of riding as demonstrated by impressive line selection and a progressive riding style.
The sixty competitors originated from two qualification regions: The Americas and Europe/Oceania; both of these regions were represented by thirteen countries in two hemispheres. Champions were crowned in four categories: men and women; ski and snowboard. Each one of these fields pushed the sport in their respective disciplines, showing remarkable mastery of the sport.
The pedal was put to the metal by Ross Tester (USA), who demonstrated an unparalleled riding style combined with two airs that were stomped with authority, placing him on top of the podium. Solomon Butler (CAN) scored second place with a strong line that was capped with an impressive 360 in difficult visibility. Closing out the ski men category in third place was Lorenzo Carbonatto (ITA), who skied fast and in-control with a large double-air at the bottom of his line.
Winning run Ross Tester – Ski Men
Opening her line with a full-throttle air and impressive style, Olivia Askew (USA) indisputably executed the female stand-out line of the day which she closed with a third and final stomped air. With three moderately-sized airs, Eva Battolla (SUI) earned a respectable second place. Rhegan Williamson (CAN) opened her line with powerful couloir skiing, which she then combined with two airs, thereby securing a third-place finish.
Winning run Olivia Askew – Ski Women
Hank Kennedy (USA) linked two clean airs at the top and bottom of the venue combined with a speedy line that impressed judges, earning him first place. Despite a valiant effort with three solid airs, Tucker Pratt’s (USA) line earned him the middle spot on the podium. Up-and-coming Liam Rivera (MEX) had a solid performance with two big airs but slightly less aggressiveness than his (USA) American counterparts, earning him third place.
Winning run Hank Kennedy – Snowboard Men
The North Americans had a strong showing across the board and Heidi Farmer (CAN) impressed her fellow riders with a clean and powerful style, top-to-bottom, which placed her on top of the podium. Ellie Soutter (GBR) followed closely behind with solid but slightly less technical riding. Opening up her line with high-speed riding on the headwall of the venue, Jenna Paller (USA) was able to secure third place.
Winning run Heidi Farmer – Snowboard Women
Once again this year these riders proved that the future of freeride is bright by pushing themselves to levels never before witnessed in junior competition. These riders represented their countries, but more importantly, the continued evolution of freeride. The sport continues to gain momentum thanks to its exploding international popularity combined with development programs such as freeride clubs and coaching programs around the world.