Ralph Backstrom and Elodie Mouthon crowned Freeride World Tour Champions at Verbier Xtreme
An historic season of the 2013 SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE (FWT) came to an end with jaw dropping action on the mythical Bec des Rosses face in Verbier, Switzerland. The four Freeride World Tour Champions were crowned at the end of a six-event global series. For the 18th edition of the legendary “Verbier Xtreme” the athletes took on the challenging face with great skill. Thousands of thrilled spectators onsite and more than 180’000 viewers on the live webcast watched the spectacular show go down in real time.
Only the highest placed athletes on the 2013 FWT rankings and a few exclusive wild cards qualified for the steeps of the infamous Bec des Rosses. With a solid base, thanks to great snow conditions all season and the additional fresh snow earlier in the week, the intimidating face was in great condition to provide a world-class venue for the riders.
The final event proved once again that the 2013 season of the Freeride World Tour has taken the sport to even higher levels of progression. The most notable evolution is the spectacular mix of freestyle trickery with fast riding on testing faces without holding back fluidity and control. More “traditional” big mountain chargers are still rewarded when they take on the competitions in full throttle and no hesitation. The Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2013 by The North Face was no exception.
For the men, Ralph Backstrom doubled down by winning the finals and taking the World Champion title with a close to flawless run on the Bec des Rosses. Scoring a total of 93.67, Backstrom charged down the face right out of the start gate with several huge airs along the way. The battle for first was intense as several potential champions was putting it all on the line to earn the top spot. France’s Aurélien Routens showed confidence on the big mountain and it almost paid off as he took second in front of his countryman and defending World Champion Jonathan Charlet who finished in third.
Ralph Backstrom, probably the most consistent rider of the field, has been close to the Freeride World Tour title for several years. The talented American was very moved to finally have reached the top spot.
“I’ve got no words. I’m pretty emotional. I’ve had a lot of years trying to get this,” said Backstrom. “I’ve been second a few times and I’m really happy to have finally take down the whole tour! There’s been a few ups and downs this year, first winning in Revelstoke and then quite a variable season, so I’m really stoked to end on a high note here in Verbier.”
In a tight and very competent field of women snowboarders, France’s Elodie Mouthon came out on top on the Bec des Rosses with a score of 86.33. Her fast, aggressive riding paid off, linking several great airs in a fluid line. The local rookie Estelle Ballet (SUI) earned respect by taking second in front of season favourite Margot Rozies (FRA) on similar impressive runs down the powder covered face.
With the win in Verbier and a total of four podium finishes, Elodie Mouthon, managed to grab the Freeride World Champion title on her first year on the tour.
“I am really thrilled to both win here today and win the world champion title,” said Mouthon. “It’s my first season on the tour and I am happy with my overall results at each event. It helped me build confidence coming in to the finals today. I felt good on the face and my goal was to do a fluid but challenging run.”