Photos: Andrew Strain
Haines, Alaska, is the mecca of big mountain riding. Storms rage for days on end, plastering the rugged slopes with snow that defies the angle of repose. The fluted spines that form attract an annual pilgrimage of film crews from around the world.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour staged their inaugural Haines competition last March, despite numerous logistical challenges. Typically held at or adjacent to a resort, dozens of heli loads are needed to mobilize the staff, athletes, and equipment required to run the event, and the remote Alaskan location wreaks havoc on communications.
In 2015, weather prevented the competition from running during the allotted 7 day holding period (it went on day 10); this year, a satellite issue blacked out the live broadcast. Still, the unique terrain in Alaska is the ultimate yardstick for freeriding, making Haines a mandatory stop on the FWT.
For 2016, the event again had a one week holding period of March 17-25. Thankfully, a brief window opened up and the comp was a go after (only!) four down days. With better than forecast weather on March 21, the riders slayed spines under bluebird skies.
Watch the full replay here: http://freerideworldtour.com/calendar/swatch-freeride-world-tour-haines-alaska-2016
1. Ryland Bell
2. Sammy Luebke
3. Flo Orley
1. Anne-Flore Marxer
2. Estelle Balet
3. Marion Haerty