On a beautiful, bluebird day–albeit frosty–at Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, British Columbia, Salt Lake City’s Jacqueline Pollard and France’s Victor De Le Rue captured titles in women’s skiing and men’s snowboarding respectively during the Freeride World Tour’s second stop.
Pollard, who grew up with her brother Andrew at Alta Ski Resort and actually attended a one-room grade school at the resort, was coming off a disappointing finish in Japan but came out with her hair on fire Tuesday, throwing down a smooth, arcing run that was one of the most fluid of the day and included a tight, straight air double at the bottom of the face, known as “Ozone” in Kicking Horse parlance. “It felt really good,” she told us. “The last comp I definitely didn’t have much confidence. In this one, my brother just told me to trust my skiing and have fun.”
Family seemed to be a theme of the day as De Le Rue, whose brother Xavier is a Freeride World Champ, definitely stomped the most stylish run on the men’s snowboard side. After a supremely disappointing run during the Japan stop in Hakuba, De Le Rue was given some poignant hints from Xavier: “He reminds me, ‘okay don’t do a p**** line,'” De Le Rue said as the competitors gathered near the bottom of the course for the awards ceremony. “I just rode so bad in the first comp, so lame and I didn’t want to do that again. I talked to my brother and he’s like, ‘just send it.'” De Le Rue, 29, released his film Frozen Mind just before the new year and is the youngest of the De Le Rue clan that hails from the French Pyrenees.
France’s Marion Haerty won the women’s snowboarding division while New Zealand’s Craig Murray took the men’s ski with a gnarly line that included an absolutely gorgeous backflip (you can find the full results, here).
“Ozone” is a beautiful face on Kicking Horse’s northern boundary which will be opened to the general public for the first time this year after the resort gained the rights to the area from a local heli-ski company. The ski patrol told us it spent most of the late fall preparing the venue, mitigating avalanche danger by hiring volunteer boot packers to condense the snowpack as well as bombing the face with avalanche explosives. Snow conditions couldn’t have been better with cold temperatures and recent storms leaving the face in prime form.
Unfortunately, the live webcast was cut off in places during the day, which had fans up in arms on social media. The Tour told me the full show will be available on its Youtube and Facebook pages by the end of the day, however. Despite the rather large hiccup, the comp went off relatively smoothly. The Freeride World Tour competitive field has a different feel to it than other events as riders are required to hike to the venue and aren’t given a practice run so some athletes can be heard on cell phones after their runs calling fellow competitors at the top, relaying valuable information. At a gathering earlier in the week, Tanner Hall, who finished ninth, pretty much summed it up to perfection: “We’re all competing against each other, but at the end of the day, we all want to make sure we go home safely.”
Editor’s Note: We will add more video to this post as it becomes available.