Wanaka local Sam Smoothy showed his class with an awesome performance to take out the FWT VallnordArcalis event – the cliff line he picked out on entry is ridiculous!
Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra – February 13, 2015 – The competition in Vallnord-Arcalis today was held under blue skies but in tricky snow conditions. The chosen venue in Andorra was characterized by an unprecedented density of features on the face and a great variety of lines. With this contest the women skiers have completed their qualification for the next stop of the tour, which will only include the top 7 women in the overall ranking. The other categories only have two results so far. They still have the possibility of getting in a third result counting for the Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler-Alpen stop, restaged here in Andorra within the competition window ending on Thursday.
The man of the day was Sam Smoothy (NZL) who scored an impressive 91.25 and took the 1st place in men’s skiing. He picked the skiers right of the face as one of the only riders, linking the spread out snow pads with big air in excellent flow, keeping breath-taking action all along the face. A happy Sam, who sees his possibilities of qualifying for Alaska re-opening, found confidence to send it in the conditions that he said were close to what he knows from home in New Zealand: “Going into Andorra, I really needed a good result. I just felt right at home here. I’m super psyched – it was an all-or-nothing run and it worked for me.”
With bib number 2, Jeremie Heitz (SUI) set the standards for the day right off the bat with a score of 82.00. He laid out a fast, fluid run starting with a very technical jump into the steep couloir, impressing the judges right away. Only Sam’s spectacular line could beat that and left him with the second place.
Finally the stomp master, Reine Barkered (SWE), confirmed his podium from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc with a line close to Jeremie’s, giving him a score of 81.25 squeezing him in just ahead of Rodney George (USA) who had a score of 81.00 in a very tight top field.
Reine is now leading the current standings and said he is feeling more relaxed about the upcoming events: “Today I was actually not nervous at all in the beginning – and then I got up to the start and got really nervous for some reason. Surprised though, I had a pretty straightforward line I think – but of course you don’t know if you are going to ride it well. Snow was okay and I got most of my features in and landed clean I think and it went really fast so I’m super happy with a 3rd place here today. This of course, puts me in a really good position now for the Tour with a 2nd and a 3rd place it should be really good – I think – so it definitely takes a lot of pressure off for the upcoming events opening up so I can really go full charge, with a no holding-back-kind of riding.”