Brandon Reid & Emily Weer win the 2012 Flow World Freeride Championships
Brandon Reid and Emily Weer win the 2012 Flow Freeride World Championships. The uncontrolled backcountry contest was judged by the riders under the criteria of fluidity, freestyle and line selection. Brandon pocketed the winner-take-all cash prize of $10,000 and Emily picks up a free day of heli time with Alaska Snowboard Guides.
The competition venue for the finals was the backside of the famous Python, a peak prominently visible from the Tailgate Alaska base camp. The east-facing slope features 1500 vertical feet, twice the vertical of the preliminary round arena, Bro Bowl. It also features good powder, cornices, windlips and cliffs. Exposed rocks wreaked havoc on several competitors including Scotty Lago who collided with a particularly nasty chunk of Chugach resulting in a bloody bruise to his hip. His chance of winning in the one-run format was erased. Micah Hoogeveen was similarly dispatched when he went not quite big enough on his last air of the day. Both men rode off the mountain unassisted.
Jackson, Wyoming’s Mikey Marohn put on a big mountain freestyle display. He aired into his line, linked a frontside 180 to a cab 540 and added a front 3 for good measure. The only thing keeping him out of the $10K was a high-speed washout at the bottom of his line.
Sammy Luebke (left) put together a top to bottom run that had him contending for the winner’s sword. He entered his line with a cornice drop method and flowed seamlessly from one clean air to the next, ending it all with a critical air over the big section of reef in the center of the face. He would have to settle for second.
Before his finals run, Brandon Reid went through a crossroads in his riding. He won this year’s first stop of The North Face Masters of Snowboarding at Crystal Mountain, but was unhappy jumping through the hoops of contest riding. He wasn’t getting any love from sponsors and he wanted to go out and ride the best snow no matter what. With that, he packed up for Valdez and found work at Alaska Snowboard Guides. Can you really blame the guy for entering a contest that shows up in his new backyard? Dropping in off the top, Brandon traversed to his left and stuck a big backflip. He reverted the landing, but creatively used that opportunity to slash a switch turn and butter around 540 back to regular. He continued to his right and dropped a cornice with style and ease. A last hit method sealed the win, the sword and the $10,000 for the new freeride king. How about that? A contest win and the best snow possible.
Emily Weer was throwing herself off so many cliffs you’d think she had a death wish, especially considering the exposure. She stomped all six landings and never had the slightest bobble. Yoko Nakamura was going for it, too, but a butt check up top and a crash down low tipped the balance to Emily.
All of the judging was done by video. This gave a chance for any other spectators to gather and watch the contest footage while the riders judged their peers. The results, awards and after party all went down in the same place: the Mountain Sky Hotel and 32° Lounge. Props to organizer Mark Sullivan and the legion involved in making this whole event go off. See you next year in the Chugach for the best in freeriding.