Freeride World Champions crowned at the Xtreme Verbier
26 March 2012
At the 17th edition of the Xtreme Verbier the top-level athletes put on their highest game in front of more than 8500 spectators. On the infamous north face of the Bec des Rosses the athletes were challenged by a 500 meter steep, rocky, and technical face, testing even the very best. All winners of the Xtreme also earned enough points to be crowned World Champions.
The athletes were pushing the envelope in a tight battle for the world title. In tricky snow conditions, the competitors performed creative and stunning line choices while finding their way through the labyrinth of rocks scattered on the face.
Swede Reine Barkered put on the most impressive run of the day, skiing faster and going bigger than his opponents who took similar lines. With zero hesitation, he charged down the now so-called “Barkered Line”, to stomp numerous big cliffs on his way down. With his top result in Verbier, Barkered scored enough points to be crowned World Champion just in front of American Drew Tabke and French Aurélien Ducroz, both executing outstanding runs. SCOTT team rider Kevin Guri back-slapped on his first landing and got a score of 5.77 brining him the 9th place. The Austrian Stefan Häusl stomped the big Hollywood cliff but then regrettably crashed in a right turn. Starting for the first time at the Xtreme Verbier, Richard Amacker showed a good start but then ran out of breath and wasn’t able to convince until the end of his run so he ended up on rank 10.
The top 3 female skiers Christine Hargin, Eva Walkner and Angel Collinson, rode “men’s lines” as judge Martin Winkler put it. Swede Christine Hargin won with a spectacular line; fast, no hesitation and stomping several jumps, including a huge cliff at the bottom, bringing her the World Champion title. SCOTT team rider and wild card winner Lorraine Huber skied fluidly over her first air but crashed after the landing and ended up with a “no score” after losing one ski. The second wild card winner Jess Mc Millan showed a solid run and finished with a score of 7.10 on the 4th rank. Jackie Paaso had a realistically chance to win the overall tour but she had a huge wipe out after her first cliff and got a big deduction in her score.
On Sunday it was the young rider’s turn with the Freeride Juniors series taking place in Verbier and crowning the Overall Winner after the stops in Chamonix and Fieberbrunn. SCOTT offered a national team rider contract to the overall winners of the ski category. With his first rank in Verbier Gian Ragettli, Switzerland won the overall Juniors tour. On the girls side it was Maya Bonsignore’s second place in Verbier which brought her the overall win and she is now becoming member of the SCOTT national team of France.