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FJT 2017 SEASON CHAMPIONS RECAP

After a remarkable season with the largest field of competitors yet, these progressive riders were crowned FJT champions in their respective disciplines and represent the future of freeride.

Ski Men Champion – Tom Gratadour (FRA)

Originally hailing from the freeride paradise La Clusaz, Gratadour pulled off a stunning season which involved a run-off with Hugo Hoff (FRA) at the Verbier 3*. Gratadour came in second place after Hoff, which was still enough to earn him first place overall this season. After a strong season, Gratadour will move on to the Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) next year.

How do you feel about moving to FWQ and what do you expect?
"I'm so stoked about moving on to the FWQ, looking for some big venues allowing us to fully express ourselves. I think the main change will be the fear of going for bigger features and a high level of competition. I'm really happy to see my friends again on the FWQ and make new connections."

Who is your idol/role model?  Which FWT athletes do you look up to?
"I don't really have an idol on the tour, but many of them like Sam Anthamatten and Turdell are a real inspiration for me. The man I learnt the most from is Léo Taillefer, a real ski lover and the best person to ride with. I wish we'll see him one day on the tour, seriously you guys won't be ready!"

What is your plan for the summer and for the next season?
"I'm planning a month of riding this summer in New Zealand with the nicest people; the Kiwis. Looking forward to exploring a new land and train hard for next season. Why not also drop a sick video?"

How does a success story like the one of Leo Slemett inspire you as he came from the juniors and is now world champion? Or anyone else?
"Leo Slemett's victory is extremely well deserved.This man has worked a lot for it and Estelle can be proud of him. Craig and Carl are now both on the tour, following his steps, and their story are what I can hope for the most."

Photo: Jordi Saragossa

Ski Women Champion – Elisa Trappier (FRA)

Raised among the peaks of the Chamonix Valley in France, Trappier was in close contest with Eva Battolla (SUI) most of the season this year. She had top finishes at the Nendaz 3* and a second place finish in Les Arcs 3* which placed her on top of girls’ podium. She is 18 so will also be moving on to the FWQ next season.

How do you feel about moving to FWQ and what do you expect?
"Going to the FWQ is like a big leap in the unknown! I’m very excited about it, but I have a lot of apprehension. I expect the level is much higher than in the junior, and the issues are much more important. It goes the same for the venues, which will be longer, steeper and with higher jumps, but that’s what we like!"

Who is your idol/role model?  Which FWT athletes do you look up to?
"I ended up in freeride with the Young Riders Crew, a freeskiing structure based in Chamonix. When I started competition the YRC had already two guys on the FWT: Leo Slemett and Jordan Bricheux. So since the beginning they’re for me the model of who are freeride competitor. As they are huge riders and as they also have values of freeriding. Leo and Jordan are skiing with a lot of passion, strength and courage. They remind you that you have to work for years to reach such a high level, and even when you reach it you still have to work. You learn a lot from watching and listening at them!"

What is your plan for the summer and for the next season?
"I have to prepare my body and my mind for the next season. But as I’m a student my top priority for the moment is to find a job! I’ll also hope I could take the opportunity to try surf this summer. And for my first season on the FWQ I guess I will mainly focus on my ski. I’m not satisfied with my riding especially during the competitions. So for the moment, the goal would be to improve my technical and mental skills and to be able to ski faster and jump higher. I got a lot of work in front of me!"

How does a success story like the one of Leo Slemett inspire you as he came from the juniors and is now world champion? Or anyone else?
"Seeing Leo win the Tour this year was really awesome. I think it made us all very happy for him. To me, it’s also really important to pay attention to the women category, to look at their style, technical skills and their line choice, as they represent the highest level. And this year Lorraine Huber, Eva Walkner, and Arianna Tricomi had once again proved their talent! I guess my greatest inspiration is to give me the resources to reach the highest level like these riders, with pleasure, respect to the others, to the mountain, and its risks."

Photo: Dom Daher

Snowboard Men Champion – Finn Duffy (NZL)

Possibly the most decorated rider on the FJT, 17 year-old Finn Duffey has been absolutely killing it this year. With several first place finishes across the world and entry as an FJWC competitor, this member of the New Zealand Junior Freeride Team has one more year to go on the FJT.

Photo: Tim Lloyd

Snowboard Women Champion – Anna Martinez (FRA)

With two first place finishes this year, and also coming from the fabled valley of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Anna Martinez is not afraid to compete with the boys if there are not enough girl competitors to hold a competition. Anna has one more year on the FJT and is looking forward to shredding hard next year.

Who is your idol/role model?  Which FWT athletes do you look up to?
"My guy role model is Christophe Charlet because he lives in Chamonix and I have had the chance to train with him. I also follow all his results during the FWT seasons. I also look up to Marion Haerty. Thanks to her victory in Verbier she is a great athlete and a symbol for women’s snowboarding. As you can see, I look up to French athletes more than others!"

What is your plan for the summer and for the next season?
"During this summer, I will do a lot of physical preparation like running, hiking, biking in order to have good thighs for the next season. Next winter, I would like to do a lot more events, mostly in France, to be qualified for the world championship."

Photo: Tim Lloyd

STAY TUNED FOR THE UPCOMING SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE EVENTS AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR ON THE FWQ/FJT/FWT

Don’t worry, it won’t be long before riders will be back on their skis. After a successful 2017 winter season, don’t forget to stay tuned to FJT and FWQ social media and news as the season ramps up in the Southern Hemisphere in just a few months! Thanks for an awesome season!