Even following along online from afar, it was clear something unique was happening up in Revelstoke, B.C., last week, for the first North American stop of the Freeskiing World Tour. It went beyond just being the inaugural event since the two FWTs (the U.S.-based Freeskiing World Tour and Euro-based Freeride World Tour) announced plans to begin merging operations. But there were a lot of Euros on hand, people whose names we might not be able to pronounce but recognize from contests results in Europe over the years.
In a separate (but equal) event, sandwiched in between the skiers, there were also snowboarders—a nod to the Freeride World Tour’s tradition of big mountain ambidextrousness. But then there was a failed live feed broadcast, on Day 1 for skiers, Friday, Jan. 6, followed by three weather days in a row. This had the cumulative effect of making it all seem like the big final on the Mackenzie Face might never happen. But then it did, last Wednesday, in grand style, the likes of which may well enter the pantheon of big mountain skiing competitions of legend. (Time will tell there.)
The live feed for the finals worked, and you could see that the Mackenzie Face—huge (some 2,500-foot vertical), riddled with spines, cliff bands, gullies and chokes, and quite steep-looking in places—was buffed out with what appeared to be pretty good snow conditions, the kind worth waiting three days for. Good snow, after all, that missing ingredient in lots of places around Ski Country this season, has at times been lacking at a lot of Freeskiing World Tour contests in the past. But not this time.
We’re not going to rehash the blow-by-blow here. Instead, we’d like to show you. Photographer Bruno Long of the Freeskiing World Tour was up in a helicopter for the big final, and he came along with some banger stuff. Check out his 28-image gallery selected from the high resolution files and see for yourself. The FWT today also posted a video (below) of the top scoring runs, and you can even watch the entire webcast (imagine that?!) over on the FWT site, at your leisure. (Note: Find the final results here and recap here. And please do chime in if you know the names of any of the skiers in the gallery we couldn’t place.) — Tim Mutrie
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