Sammy Luebke and Elodie Mouthon win Freeride World Tour stop 5 in Fieberbrunn, Austria
Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal, Austria – March 16, 2013 – In front of the cheering crowd Sammy Luebke (USA) and Elodie Mouthon (FRA) took home first place for the men and women at the 2013 SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT) at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal, Austria. The fifth and last event prior to the grande finale in Verbier (SUI), saw intense competition at the highest level. The event was decisive for athletes to score enough points to earn a spot for the finals and qualify for next year. The top ranked riders needed to place well to maintain a position in the competition for the overall world champion title. The fierce battle continues to win the first ever, unified Freeride World Tour Champion title after a sensational season.
After a week’s waiting period due to difficult snow and weather conditions, the sun finally came out at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal. The nearly 2,000-foot Wildseeloder north face was covered in 8 inches of fresh snow perfect for the action-packed contest on the long and demanding face. Riders had to negotiate a mix of deep powder, wind affected snow and hard layers. A fluid and fast line choice, executed with creativity and perfection, was key. Austrian freeride fans came out to the venue to cheer on their favorite athletes at front row, proving that in Austria there has always been Kitzbuhel for Alpine lovers but now there is Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal for freeride aficionados.
The battle has been tough all season as more than 80 athletes have had one thing in mind—to make it to the finals in Verbier. Only the five men snowboarders and four women snowboarders qualify to the last and final competition. The competition at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal was their last chance for the 2013 season.
American Sammy Luebke is having a great season with continually impressive results at each event including a tenth, fourth, third, second and finally first place at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal. A well-earned victory of 81.67 points for Luebke who rode an impressive fall line involving a serious cliff jump off the edge of a steep spine. His win today puts him on the desirable top spot overall and strengthens his position to battle for the world champion title. “From the top, I went riders left with a double drop and fresh snow. I came down very fast and did a couple of jumps at the bottom. It’s my first win of the year and it’s pretty cool to have climbed the ladder from comp to comp. It makes me confident and motivated for Verbier.”
Frenchman Jonathan Charlet took second scoring 80.0 points by executing a dynamic run, combining big mountain skills at the top section and clean freestyle riding at the bottom. With today’s result Charlet just makes the cut for Verbier, taking the last spot, fifth place. Charlet’s fellow countryman, Aurélien Routens, took his third podium of the season. Routens typical riding style is fast, committed big mountain riding, which today included an impressive straight line through a steep chute. Scoring 76.67 points and third place, Routens, climbs to a second place on the overall standings. One of the season favorites Ralph Backstrom (USA), did not quite make it today with a 13th place, but is still hanging on to the overall standings, sitting in as the third position advancing to Verbier.
The snowboard women put on a great show with the top riders pushing the envelope on the Austrian venue. The Mouthon sisters of France had the two most impressive runs putting them on the top spots of the podium. Elodie Mouthon placed first by executing a stand out run. She rode very confidently with an aggressive and high-speed approach, directly down the fall line taking big airs earning the score of 70.0. Her sister Anouck Mouthon had a completely different line choice but also rode powerful, fast turns down the venue, scoring 62.67 points. In third place with a score of 60.0 points, American Casey Lucas rode a smooth line including a big air.
Elodie Mouthon comments: “I was determined to go very fast and managed to stay well on my feet. It’s my first win on the tour and I’m really happy to be on top with my sister in second! It is going to be a tight battle in Verbier but I do have a good chance to place well.”
Current tour leader Margot Rozies of France took sixth place today, keeping the suspense alive in the race for the World Champion title. Elodie Mouthon (FRA) and Shannan Yates (USA), sitting in second and third position overall, will give Rozies a run for her money in Verbier.
Next stop: Freeride World Champions to be crowned in Verbier, Switzerland
All the excitement comes to a head at the sixth and final stage, the Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2013 by The North Face®, March 23, 2013. The four Freeride World Tour Champions will be crowned at the 18th edition of the “Xtreme” when the athletes take on the legendary and notorious Bec des Rosses, considered the pinnacle of freeride competitions.
With the season’s unification of the Freeskiing World Tour, Freeride World Tour, and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding the one and only Freeride World Tour Champions will for the first time be crowned in Verbier. Drew Tabke (USA) – Ski Men, Sammy Leubke (USA) – Snowboard Men, Nadine Wallner (AUT) – Ski Women, and Margot Rozies (FRA) -Snowboard Women are all favorites going in to the finals but athletes like Julien Lopez (FRA), Aurélien Routens (FRA), Pia Nic Gundersen (NOR), and Elodie Mouthon (FRA) could just as well grab the title in their respective discipline.
1. Sammy Luebke, USA
2. Jonathan Charlet, FRA
3. Aurélien Routens, FRA
1. Elodie Mouthon, FRA
2. Anouck Mouthon, FRA
3. Casey Lucas, USA