Last night the final event of this year’s SFR Freestyle Tour took place in Tignes. This event was also the FIS halfpipe World Championship final event, and so not only were the SFR Freestyle champions crowned, but also the overall winners of the World Championship took the coveted Crystal Globe trophy home with them.
Qualifying rounds took place on Sunday, and the final 10 men and 6 women took to the stage last night in front of a crowd of a few hundred spectators and supporters. Among the finalists were Tignes local Marie Martinod, and La Plagne’s Kevin Rolland and Benoit Valentin. There were a large number of supporters carrying French flags, and it’s fair to say the crowd went pretty wild for the three French competitors! That’s not to say that there wasn’t incredible support for the riders of other nationalities as well though. It was a fantastic event, and a great opportunity to get up so close and personal to such high level freestyle skiing.
Each rider has three attempts to achieve their winning score. They are judged on the technicality and performance of their tricks, and are given an overall score for each run. At the end it is their highest scoring run that counts.
Winners from the Women’s category as follows;
1st place- Cassie Sharpe (Canada)
2nd place- Ayana Onozuka (Japan)
3rd place- Marie Martinod (France)
Winners from the Men’s category as follows;
1st place- Alex Ferreira (USA)
2nd place- Taylor Seaton (USA)
3rd place- Kevin Rolland (France)
Here is footage of Alex Ferreira’s winning run.
Despite there being no 1st place victories for the French riders in this event, both Marie Martinod and Kevin Rolland took home the coveted Crystal Trophy for the accumulated points in the FIS World Championships, and Benoit Valentin took 2nd place, so overall it was a fantastic result for the French riders. And judging by the impressive reaction from the crowd a fantastic result for the French supporters too!
I asked supporters what thought of this event being held in Tignes. “It’s wonderful! It’s great to be able to see these athletes doing what we all wish we could do. And what a great atmosphere!” Said one French supporter while waving their Tricolor French Flag. “Kevin Rolland is my hero, and I love Marie Martinod and Ben Valentin too. It’s so good to be able to watch your heros in their home environment. And to support them.”
I only wish they kept the halfpipe as a feature all year round…think how that would inspire other up and coming riders!
“Since the X-Games are no longer in Tignes i think it’s really important for Tignes to have such a prestigious event like this here. Otherwise we’re kind of not on the map for freestyle events anymore.” A Tignes seasonnaire told me. “It would be such a shame for Tignes to lose that part of her identity. I only wish they kept the halfpipe as a feature all year round. Think of all the World class athletes we’d get coming here to train, and how that would inspire other up and coming riders!”