The first stop of the Swatch Freeride World Tour on European grounds took our Riders Lorraine & Stefan straight to the legendary Mont Blanc and its vast range of steep “couloirs”. On January 19, both our Teamriders arrived at Chamonix – host to the second overall tour stop.
Weather conditions turned out to be really bad the next day, so instead skiing they decided to hit the gym and do some workout. Spinning, core strength and stretching – you have to be in the best possible shape to compete at this high level. During the opening ceremony it started snowing heavily but the atmosphere and the crowd in the riders village was just great. At the Bib draw the starting order was set: Lorraine was about to drop in 7th, while Stefan needed to go first – not the best of luck considering the weather conditions and masses of fresh snow.
The next day all the lifts in Chamonix were shut due to the heavy snowfalls and face inspection wasn’t possible at all. Eventually the “Les Houches” ski area was open, so they at least head there to do some skiing.
Early next morning the weather cleared up just as much to check the face for about 20 minutes, but they managed to take some photos to study their line for competition day. At the riders meeting Lorraine expected the snow conditions to be quite tricky: “I’m thinking of choosing a conservative line with a challenging feature at the end but I’ll take a good look at the venue tomorrow and decide on my definite line there.”
After a very short night Lorraine and Stefan got up early to prepare for their runs. Since Stefan was about to open the competition he considered himself as a test pilot for all the other riders. “Nobody knew how the snow would be. So I was kind of a test person on that run.” But he managed to ski his line well and was quite satisfied with his ride: “I was happy after my run but some other guys just managed it better.”
Lorraine, who had the chance to watch about one hour of the mens competition and talk to some of the forerunners about the snow conditions, decided to stick with her decision and went for a more conservative line. “I was very nervous at the start. My first 5 turns were fluid and sure but then I suddenly got too much pressure on my ski-tips and had a silly crash. I’m so disappointed and just can’t believe it!”
Cheer up, the freeride adventure goes on: "Next chance - Roldal!" We keep our finger crossed for Lorraine & Stefan!
If you want to read more about Lorraine or Stefan at the Freeride World Tour visit lorrainehuber.com or freeride.cc.