The Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch made an unexpected Italian start when it was staged in Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc on Sunday.
A strong field of freeriders were surprised by the quality of both the snow and the number of features. As a result, the north face of Mont Fortin produced high-quality runs that were fast and fluid with multiple airs.
The world's day that boasted an astonishingly high level of action. Although it was difficult to know what the conditions were going to be until they dropped in, riders reported they were really happy to find a face this good despite poor conditions throughout the Alps.
The 300-metre face was crowned by three different starting options and competitors described it as having loads of playful line choices, any of which could have produced the winning run.
In the end the day the competition was dominated by the French who took all three podium spots in men's snowboarding and the top two spots in men's ski.
It was Aurélien Ducroz's (FRA) fast, smooth line and big, cleanly stomped airs that enabled the Chamonix local to return to glory and put him in the lead to regain his 2009 Freeride World Champion title. Setting the tone of the day, Adrien Coirier (FRA) has returned to 100% after two years of back injuries and opened the day with fast, committed skiing. Coirier's line also proved to be a successful line for 3rd place Reine Barkered (SWE).
In the Men's Snowboard division, Freeride World Champion Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) threw down what many thought to be the best run of the day with a fast clean double drop to straight line at the end of his run. With this win, de Le Rue continues his dominance of the Freeride World Tour by extending his streak of consecutive FWT wins to four.
Although the women all started from the same starting gate their lines were varied with many ladies focusing on fluidity. However, it was the impressive combination of fast, smooth lines combined with a couple of cleanly stuck airs that distanced Angel Collinson (USA) from the rest of the pack.
Today, it was the wild cards who stepped to the plate when freestyler Anne-Flore Marxer (FRA/SUI), competing in her rookie season of the tour, proved that women snowboarders can rip world class faces with aggressive grace. Second place was also taken by wild card Ursula Wohlschlager (AUT) which puts a new face on the women's snowboarding division.