The Freeride Junior World Championships went off last night (NZT) with 61 of the world’s best young big mountain riders putting on a show in Kappl, Austria. Recent heavy snowfall and increased avalanche risk resulted in a late venue change. Competitors were treated to fresh powder and a blue bird day on a new lower elevation face known as Hausberg, a smaller although more playful venue running under a main chairlift, right in the heart of Kappl resort.
Snowboard men kicked the comp into action making the most of the blue sky and deep snow. NZ’s James Thompson (Wellington) put down a strong solid run, building his features throughout, before, unfortunately, coming unstuck at the bottom of the venue in a compression.
Snowboard women were next, followed by a standout performance from the ski women’s field, with the ski men rounding out the day, as the final category.
NZ twins Lach and Fynn Powell (Taupo) took similar approaches to their lines, both sending the biggest drop of the day, right at the top of the venue. Fynn, who started third, tossed a giant 360 but crashed on landing and lost a ski, resulting in a ‘no score’. Brother, Lach, who started in the middle of the pack, aired the same drop but was also unable to stick the flat landing.
“Regardless of errors, the vision of these guys shines through, allowing a glimpse into where they are heading,” said Kiwi Freeride World Tour competitor Sam Lee who, along with ex FWT skier Neil Williman, was in Kappl to commentate at the event .
“All up, the event went off smoothly, with creative, high energy lines across the board, the Freeride Junior Tour once again proving to be a valuable launchpad for young freeriders,” said Sam.
Joseph Leonardo (USA) took the top podium spot in men's ski with a very fluid run that included a big cork 360 off of the venue’s main feature, which he followed up with a nice air and stylish grab, then straight lined towards the finish throwing a massive spread eagle on the way. He earned a score of 87.67 to bring home the win.
Eliot Dänzer (SUI) defended his title in men's snowboard, taking the win with a score of 76.00. He threw a huge shifty just out of the gate, then continued down to the wind lip without hesitation making a big beautiful toe side turn. He finished off his stylish run with another big shifty.
Claire McPherson (CAN) scored 80.00 points for the win in women's ski, coming out of the gate with a beautiful air followed up by a small double, then a small air, and finally a last big clean air and a small spread eagle to cap off a solid and very fast fluid run.
In women's snowboard Zoe Macgeorge (SUI) took the win with a score of 71.33. Her nice run started with some smooth turns and beautiful air off of the upper wind lip, which she cleanly stomped. The deciding factor though was the small but cleanly executed double in the middle section that nobody else did.
Be sure to catch the FJWC event replay here
4 years ago