Freeride World Tour 2022: Event Two - What to Look Out For
Event Two of the FWT is upon us! Follow along with Ski Expert Mike Dobson as he overviews the conditions at Ordino-Arcalis and flags the skiers to keep an eye on.
Stop Two is already upon us, and now we head to Ordino-Arcalis in Andorra. Andorra is a tiny country nestled between France and Spain in the Pyrenees Mountains. Like Baqueira Beret, Ordino-Arcalis has a maritime snowpack very similar to the PNW of North America. The skies have been mostly clear and temperatures have been fluctuating above and below freezing for the last several weeks. Despite being fairly close to Baqueira Beret and sharing the same mountain range, Andorra hasn’t seen quite as much snow this season. Reported snow depths are currently between 120 and 180cm, with the latter at upper elevations. Andorra hasn’t had substantial snowfall since the second week of January.
The resort is currently reporting hard-packed powder conditions, so we can be almost certain to see similar, grabby, firmer conditions as we saw at Baqueira Beret (which will still probably be better than last year after the dust storm). The current forecast states temperatures for the 29th will barely get below freezing at night, and the day of competition could see temperatures near 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’ll be interesting what effect this potentially has on the freeze-thaw cycle and if we’ll see softer moist snow conditions in the more sun-affected aspects.
Athletes to Watch
Olivia demonstrated at Baqueira Beret that she is back to full strength and is here to win. Her playful aggressive style is well suited for Andorra, and after going down here last season on a run that would’ve easily landed her a spot on the podium, I’m sure she’s looking to prove to herself that she has what it takes. Olivia already has a 1st place finish under her belt this season along with the points that come with it which leaves her with plenty of room to take some chances and go big.
Hedvig set Andorra ablaze last season with her massive backflip that set the tone for the event. Her hard-charging aggressive style brings a special level of excitement to the tour, and with a stacked women’s field this season who all seem to push each other’s abilities, Hedvig is sure to be one to watch as Stop Two unfolds.
With a disappointing fall knocking her out of podium contention at Baqueira Beret, it’ll be interesting to see what the former champ has in store in Andorra. Elisabeth has a very relaxed perspective when it comes to competition, focusing on skiing the lines that she wants to ride, which she imbues with her signature fluid and playful style. It seems that this perspective often allows athletes to mute the noise and pressure from the outside and hone in on doing what they do best. And when Elisabeth does what she does best? Well, she can put on one heck of a show. A big win in Andorra could boost her points and put her right back in the running.
With her 3rd place finish at Stop One in Baqueira Beret, Zuzanna is already putting herself in an excellent position for a trip to the finals this season. Look for her to put down another run showcasing her technical prowess and control as she looks to continue her run of podium finishes and earn herself a spot in Fieberbrunn.
Juliette is a former ski racer who brings speed, fluidity, and control to the mountain each time she rides. Juliette was just outside the podium in Baqueira Beret but still put down a solid run that kept her within striking distance. Last year, Juliette finished second at both stops in Andorra and clearly has a good feel for the terrain at this venue. We'll see if she can step it up a notch and snag a first-place finish this time around.
After his stellar 1st place performance as a wildcard at Stop One, Max has earned himself a well-deserved spot in Andorra. Max has a deep bag of tricks and has clearly demonstrated that he’s here to win. Despite being a rookie, Max already has some experience with the course, having competed here on the junior freeride world tour. Andorra has lots of terrain suitable for playful riders to showcase their skills, so I’m very excited to see what Max has in store.
Having gone down in his run at Baqueira Beret, Ross is sure to be looking for redemption in Andorra. Ross is a talented skier and with his second-place finish overall last season, we know he’s capable of throwing down. Ross is one of those riders like Isaac Freeland and Max Palm that has serious freestyle chops and isn’t afraid to show them off in steep technical terrain. Ross came out swinging last season with a big first-place finish at the first stop in Andorra so we’ll be looking to see what he has up his sleeve this time around.
Turdell was fairly conservative in his line selection at Baqueira Beret, opting to dial in his 360 and backflip off smaller windlips, and seemed to be more focused on finishing a solid run rather than podium contention. His run would’ve probably kept him in the top 5 in the past but men’s skiing is stacked with heavy-hitting riders these days and if Turdell wants to remain in striking distance, he’ll need to up the ante and put down a strong run in Andorra.
Abel’s skiing at Baqueira Beret was nothing short of impressive and definitely garnered him some well-deserved attention from FWT fans (myself included). The intensity and aggression he brings to his riding along with his line selection are reminiscent of his fellow countryman Aymar Navarro which is a huge compliment, to say the least. Look for Abel to line up something big.
Reine had a rough start to his season this year, under rotating a backflip on his first air in Baqueira Beret, catching his tips, and going down hard. He’ll need a solid performance if he wants to remain in contention and qualify for the finals. Luckily, Reine is never one to shy away from a challenge and loves to go fast and go big. It’ll be exciting to see what Reine has in store in Andorra.
We have a lot of riders coming into the second stop with something to prove, and with such a stacked field on both the men’s and women’s side, you never know who will nab the first place spot. The season is very much still up for grabs as the riders try to score as many points as possible to secure themselves a spot in the finals in Fieberbrunn. The finals will be a bit different with a new format being implemented for this season. Check out FTW’s FQA for a run down on the changes being made and answers to all your other FWT questions!
Be sure to tune in live for Stop Two at Ordino-Arcalis in Andorra at freerideworldtour.com. You can also check out their YouTube channel for behind-the-scenes action and highlights from each stop.
Heavy snow is in the forecast for the East Coast and snowfall is finally returning to the West. Make sure you have the proper gear for whatever mother nature throws at ya so you can have the best day possible when you decide to hit the slopes. Reach out to one of the Curated’s Ski Experts like myself for all of your winter sports gear and apparel needs. We’ll talk you through your options and get you situated with the gear that is best suited for you!