When Travis Rice charged down the mountain in Hakuba, Japan during the first stop of the Freeride World Tour recently, spicing his line up with a 720 up top and a backflip near the end, he nearly pulled off a feat that’s yet to be accomplished: a perfect score of 100 (he was awarded a 95).
Head Judge and Freeride World Tour commissioner Laurent “Lolo” Besse later said Rice basically missed out on the perfect score because he went too early in the lineup and there were still riders left to go.
So what would a perfect run on the Freeride World Tour look like then? Pretty much like Rice’s. I spoke with Besse to try to narrow it down.
First off, riders are scored on difficulty of line or line choice, control, fluidity, jumps, and technique. “For every rider, we start with 50 points,” Besse said, “and whatever happens the rider is just going to gain points or lose points.”
With judges keeping that average score of 50 in mind, riders gain points on a percentage basis, Besse says. Say for example a rider chooses a narrow ridge to execute really technical turns, points are added. Then in that same line the rider hits a cliff and pulls a 360 with style, points are added. Two 360’s in a run, one each direction to show more diversity in skill, points are again added on a percentage basis. To be perfect, the landings must also be perfect. On the opposite side, points are deducted as a rider makes mistakes. “The difference between the points you can gain and points you can lose is the points you lose are fixed,” Besse says. “So if you have a tumble during your run, you lose 40 points, straightaway.”
Again, Besse admits that riders that go earlier in the draw are less likely to get a perfect score as the scale is set. So the chances for a perfect run come when a rider executes the hell out his or her line, and does it after most of the field has already gone.
What exactly does a 100 point line look like? Well, that’s kind of like art: you don’t know until you see it. “If I were giving riders tips (to score a perfect 100),” Besse says, “It would have to be a great line, be fast, ride with loads of technique with no issues, do jumps and those jumps have to be big and with tricks and the landings have to be perfect.”
Basically, riders cannot falter at all during a run, they have to go big, and they have to do multiple airs with multiple tricks during the course of their line to show diversity (i.e. Rice’s 720 followed by a backflip further down the slope). Oh yeah, and they can’t mess the landings up at all. The closest was Rice’s in Japan, and skier Logan Pehota, who scored a 98 last year at the Kicking Horse stop. Both riders were nearly perfect, but as you can see, perfection is tough to obtain on the Freeride World Tour.