Saas Fee Ride 2007 - Event Report
Saas Fee rides again, despite pre-event rain.
Conditions pretty good despite the pre-event rain
The Friday night before last Saturday’s Saas Fee Ride was tense in the resort. It was raining, and the glacier had been shut for two days because of the high temperatures and the adverse weather.
But with clear skies on Saturday morning things started to look up. The park shaping crew have been known to perform miracles in the past, and this year was no exception. In spite of the slushy conditions they had managed to keep the park intact.
The international competitor field soon went to work on the table top that was to be the setting of this years' Big Air. The standard was high; Arnaud Kugener (FRA) was pulling out some stylish spins, Henrik Harlaut (SWE) threw down a switch 9 effortlessly, while Brits such as the current national champion, Paddy Graham, looked strong as well.
The judges had a tough time reducing the field of 40 to ten male finalists and four women. In the end they reached a consensus and the best went back for another round.
The wind started to pick up and the snow was softening, but it didn’t seem to affect the competitors and it seemed they had been saving the best for last.
Murray Buchan overcame the slushy take off and stomped a switch nine with ease, Paddy Graham decided to get technical and pulled a corked nine tail grab to late shifty with so much style even the riders at the top shouted in appreciation. Stephane Vaillant (FRA) held his grab all the way to touch down on his switch nine, and Samuel Favnet (FRA) responded in kind with the biggest jump of the day stomping an enormous switch 720 half way down the landing.
Then Henrik Harlaut stepped up to the plate. Henrik was defending his Saas Fee ride crown, and with this guy it was bound to get interesting. There was an attentive, almost nervous silence as he dropped into the kicker switch. Flying off the lip, he tweaked a mute and sent a massive 1260 out of sight. When he popped into view seconds later everyone realised who this years' champion would be.
In the women’s, Virginie Faivre soon followed Henrik’s example, by claiming the woman’s title her title with a perfect cork 3 critical.
Another Classic Year
The night before it had seemed impossible, but everyone involved agreed that it had been another classic Ride Freesport event. The glacier had held up well, the park shapers had built a superb kicker, and as per usual the riding level was taken another step.