Grandiose freeride finale at the X OVER RIDE
Bluebird Powderday for the finale of the AUSTRIAN FREERIDE SERIES. In imperial weather, the X OVER RIDE on the Kitzsteinhorn delivered what it had promised in advance: thrilling duels, ingenious lines and many beaming winning faces. Jacoba Kriechmayr (Obertauern), Julian Zenzmaier (Innsbruck-Salzburg), Manuela Mandl (Vienna) and Thomas Feurstein (Schruns) are the deserving AUSTRIAN FREERIDE MASTERS. But only Feurstein can also underline his title win with a victory today.
Just in time for the 12th edition of the X OVER RIDES in Zell am See-Kaprun, the sun shone on Saturday over the Face Lakarschneid, which presented itself freshly covered with snow and from its most beautiful side. In short, the perfect conditions for the grand finale of the AUSTRIAN FREERIDE SERIES. 71 riders from 15 nations followed the call of the legendary contest and the showdown at the X OVER RIDE at the Kitzsteinhorn was guaranteed not for the faint of heart. For many of the riders it was all or nothing at the grand finale after a total of eight Austrian contests. Accordingly, the lines shown were also top-class.
Salzburg’s Kriechmayr is the new Austrian freeride champion
In the women’s skiing, the duel between the two Salzburgers Sabine Schipflinger andJacobaKriechmayr reached new dimensions when Schipflinger, from Saalbach, gave her rival Jacoba Kriechmayr a good head start with a demanding line on the right, technical side of the Lakarschneid. Top favorite Kriechmayr had to pay tribute to the tension, with 10th place in the final classification of the X OVER RIDE, she ultimately saved a razor-thin lead over Schipflinger to the finish line, who was pleased with second place at the X OVER RIDE 2015 but another podium finish. Friend and competitor Jacoba “Jay” Kriechmayr, on the other hand, was jubilant about her first AUSTRIAN FREERIDE SERIES title, which probably can’t be valued highly enough in her comeback season: “I’m extremely happy. The title is the best thing that could have happened to me this season. I would have planned for more today for sure, but thank God I had enough cushion. I’m super happy.”
The victory at the X OVER RIDE goes to Claudia Klobasa from Vienna. The two-time Austrian champion on the freestyle moguls chose a speedy straight line with smaller drops and celebrated in her premiere contest season, her first victory at a 3*FWQ: “I had to pay a lot of apprenticeship money, this is the reconciliation for a season full of crashes. It’s simply awesome to be able to win here today in this atmosphere. For this time of year, the snow today was just awesome.”
Third place surprisingly went to Berber Semmelink from the Netherlands, who lives in Zell am See and knew how to use her home advantage.
Hollsten continues to win, Mandl is Austrian Freeride Champion
With a double drop, Vienna’s Manuela Mandl jumped to the second AFS victory of her career in Zell am See-Kaprun. The third place at the X OVER RIDE was enough for her today for the triumph in the Austrian series: “The AUSTRIAN FREERIDE SERIES title means a lot to me. It’s something you can really put on your resume and of course I’m going for the triple next year. The X OVER RIDE at the end of the season is also one of my absolute favorite events.” First place went to the dominant freerider of the season in the Freeride World Qualifiers series, Finland’s Mikaela Hollsten, who will compete in the Feeride World Tour next year. Bettina Pickl, based in Innsbruck, catapulted herself to second place with a technically strong line.
A small surprise in front of the home crowd was achieved by Siobhan Challis from Kaprun, who, thanks to a strong fourth place at the X OVER RIDE, was also able to quietly secure the runner-up title in the AUSTRIAN FREERIDE SERIES.
“Theking” new AFS Master, Sebastian Maier with second win of the season
The men’s skiers also took advantage of the perfect conditions on the Kitzsteinhorn to impress the audience with brilliant runs and tricks. From a backflip by the Swiss Max Vaquin to a cork 3 by the Tyrolean Clemens Bergmann, there was a lot that hardly kept the spectators on their deck chairs.
In the big showdown against competitor Michael Strauß, Julian Zenzmaier from Salzburg, who lives in Innsbruck, once again lived up to his nickname “Theking” and proved to have strong nerves: “I knew that Michi would step on the gas today and had to go one better. There was no safety run in it. I am super happy. I will certainly celebrate the title and try to defend it next year,” said the new Austrian freeride champion, for whom a fifth place at the X OVER RIDE in front of his mother was enough to win the first title of his career.
But the victory at the X OVER RIDE was celebrated today by a Tyrolean: The technically mature skierSebastianMaier from Erl in Tyrol secured his second win of the season on the Kitzsteinhorn thanks to another strong run, ahead of Sweden’s William Larsson, who caught a speedy line, and Germany’s Marian Lösch. “I would not have expected that in this strong starting field today even the victory would turn out. The X OVER RIDE is a brilliant event,” explained the Erler.
“Spiel.Satz.Sieg” for Voralberger Feurstein in the men’s snowboard competition
Also in the men’s snowboard event, the big showdown between Clemens Bergmann from Tyrol and Thomas Feurstein from Vorarlberg took place on the Kitzsteinhorn. Only 330 points separated the two opponents, yet the long-term leader of the Austrian Freeride Series, Thomas Feurstein, outshone everyone with his performance today and not only secured his third win of the season, but also his first AFS title: “From janitor to freeride champion,” grinned the man from Schruns: “Above all, it suits me that I was able to decide the X OVER RIDE in my favor today at my first appearance, a super feeling.” Marcel Loschin from Salzburg in second place and Franz Magdics in third place completed the all-Austrian podium in the men’s snowboard event.
The organizers of the 12th X OVER RIDES on the Kitzsteinhorn were also satisfied. For the first time, the riders’ runs were also broadcast live on big screen. The spectators didn’t miss a thing, including a video link to the Freeride World Tour finals in Verbier and last year’s winner Flo Orley. A dreamlike freeride day, which also pleased OC boss Chris Geissler: “Today is like a gift, we have of course closely followed the weather forecast and already feared that we would have to postpone. Then a weather window opened up and we were allowed to hope. But no one could have expected that we would experience a Bluebird Powderday today. Simply fantastic. A big thank you to all the helpers, to the riders and of course to all the sponsors and partners.”
Score X OVER RIDE:
- Sebastian Maier (AUT)
- William Larsson (SWE)
- Marian Lösch (GER)
- Claudia Klobasa (AUT)
- Sabine Schipflinger (AUT)
- Berber Semmelink (NED)
- Thomas Feurstein (AUT)
- Marcel Loschin (AUT)
- Franz Magdics (AUT)
- Mikaela Hollsten (FIN)
- Bettina Pickl (AUT)
- Manuela Mandl (AUT)
Overall ranking AUSTRIAN FREERIDE SERIES:
AFS Ski Men:
- Julian Theking (lives in IBK, born in Salzburg – Golling)
- Sebastian Maier (Erl, Tyrol)
- Michael Strauß (Lower Austria)
AFS Ski Ladies:
- Jacoba Kriechmayr (Obertauern, SBG)
- Sabine Schipflinger (Viehofen, SBG)
- Stefanie Noppinger (Hallein, SBG)
AFS snowboard men:
- Thomas Feurstein (Schruns, VBG)
- Clemens Bergmann (Fieberbrunn, T)
- Marcel Loschin (SBG)
AFS Snowboard Ladies:
- Manuela Mandl (Vienna)
- Siobhan Challis (Kaprun, SBG)
- Laura Perfler (Innsbruck, T)