Backstrom and Debari win the Revelstoke Stop of the Freeride World Tour

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Photos: © freerideworldtour.com/BillySwan

Revelstoke, BC’s Mackenzie Face played a foggy stage for the Swatch’s Freeskiing and Freeride World Tour Snowboard Finals on Thursday, a scene full of billy-goating and huge airs by some of the world’s best freeriders. The event was one rider, one run, one score, and all 23 athletes were flown by a Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing A-Star chopper to the starting point just below Mackenzie Peak. Squaw-based North Face rider Ralph Backstrom took the gold out of the seventeen men’s finalists, while Mt. Baker’s Maria DeBari took first out of six in the women’s finals. Rounding out a very tight podium for the men were Chamonix-based Johnathan Charlet at second and Crystal Mountain’s Blair Habenicht for third. Ralph won with a 92.67 out of 100, while Johnathan finished with a 91.67 and Blair a 90.00. All three medalists rode towards the end of the lineup, making for an exciting finish.

For the women, Maria DeBari finished handily in first with a 80.67, 25 points above the second place rider, Margot Rozies from the French Pyrenees. Margot scored a 55.00, while Snowbird-based Shannan Yates came in third with a 43.33. Shannan was the North Face Master’s champion in 2011. Maria, Ralph, Johnathan and Blair all were invited to the tour’s next stop in Chamonix, and Ralph earned a wildcard invite for Travis Rice’s Supernatural Selection contest at Baldface Lodge, BC.

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Photos and captions: Forrest Burki.

Crystal Mountain rider Forrest Burki, a North Face Master’s veteran and third place finisher last year, came in ninth. He said the snow wasn’t epic under flat light, but it was fast and kept people moving. Although it was his first visit to Revelstoke he was excited about the comp and the inclusion of riders from all over the world. “It’s a great thing for the growth of competitive freeriding,” Burki said. “Mountains Sports International brought in top finishers from the North Face Masters tour, including myself, to compete against the world tour regulars. I think we held our own, as did the northwest.”

It’s interesting to see the various tours bringing all their riders together this year and the results in Revelstoke were proof that the North Americans can hang with the European world tour heavyweights. It will be interesting to see what happens when the tour moves across the pond to Chamonix January 21-27. Until then, snow is in the forecast—let’s go freeride.

Main Image: © freerideworldtour.com/BillySwan.


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