Freeride de Tignes 2009: European victory on the Grand Balme

After patiently awaiting the best conditions for the competition, the organizers and those from the Tignes resort provided an amazing playground for the world's elite to reveal their talent.

Nissan Freeride de Tignes 2009.  Foto: C. MargotThe French snowboarder, Xavier de Le Rue, took his first victory of the season reinforcing his top spot of the Freeride World Ranking. Among the first to head down the slope, the Freeride World Champion 2008 had an exceptional run recognized by the judges and spectators gathered at the foot of the magnificent Grand Balme face. The Austrian Max Zipser took second with a well-thought run after several podiums in Freeride World Qualifier events. Alex Coudray also impressed the media and spectators, thus was given the Media Judges Award.

Caroline Meynet also from France took her first major victory of her career. Using her technical talent, she was able to beat out the leaders of the Freeride World Ranking. With a powerful runs and perfectly mastered jumps, Marja Persson (SWE, 2nd) and Elyse Saugstad (USA, 3rd), Freeride World Champion 2008, were not able to steal the spotlight from Caroline.

In the men's ski competition, the young Austrian Matthias Haunholder also took his first victory on the Freeride World Tour after having had an impressive season at the qualifier level in 2008. This skier from Fieberbrunn won by a landslide ahead of Thomas Diet (FRA), who also achieved his career best result. From Val Thorens, Thomas finally revealed his talent climbing his first podium just ahead of the Freeride World Champion 2008, Henrik Windstedt (SWE). The favorite, Aurelien Ducroz, current leader of the Freeride World Ranking,
unfortunately fell after a perfect start.

In the women's snowboard competition, Geraldine Fasnacht (SUI), winner of the Nissan Xtreme de Verbier several times, made her comeback with a great victory. Granted a Wild Card after a knee injury in 2008, this snowboarder from Verbier chose the perfect line. She won ahead of Susan Mol (USA), winner of the Nissan Tram Face that took place just a few days ago in Squaw Valley USA.

Matthias Haunholder (Austria), winner of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes: "I spent a lot of time looking at the Grand Balme face, even until late last night. I knew I had to be brave to make the difference on this slope. I took a line with a landing in a steep spot, like the snowboarder Xavier de Le Rue. I was able to master the consecutive turns and jumps. I made it to the Freeride World Tour after having won a qualifier in 2008. The first stages of the Freeride World Tour gave me the confidence that allowed me to win in Tignes."

Caroline Meynet (France), winner of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes: "This victory is simply incredible and a surprise! This is my third competition of the season; and I already climbed the podium at the Nissan Xtreme de Verbier in 2007, but I have never won. I took an unusual line that no other woman attempted. I think it was just my day!"

Official results of the Nissan Freeride in Tignes:

Ski Men: 1. Matthias Haunholder (AUT), 2. Thomas Diet (FRA), 3. Henrik Windstedt (SWE)

Ski Women: 1. Caroline Meynet (FRA), 2. Marja Persson (SWE), 3. Elyse Saugstad (USA)

Snowboard Men: 1. Xavier de Le Rue (FRA), 2. Max Zipser (AUT), 3. Alex Coudray (SUI)

Snowboard Women: 1. Géraldine Fasnacht (SUI), 2. Susan Moll (USA), 3. Anniina Karvinen (FIN)

Christian Haller.  Copyright: raggieleonora

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Nissan Tram Face 2009.  Copyright: C. Margot

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