Future freeride stars went huge today in Kappl, Austria.
The Freeride Junior World Championships returned to the Tyrolian Alps today, where the best young athletes took to the slopes and the skies in an inspiring display of competitive freeriding. Conditions were challenging for both the organizers – with spring-like snow and winds pushing 130 km/hour, prompting them to move the event from the Quellspitze to the Hausberg – and competitors, which ensured that the riders with the best tactics and versatile skills finished on top.
With junior world titles on the line, competitors held nothing back, and the talented field delivered a top-class display of technical freeriding. Here’s what went down today in Austria…
Teagan Rilee Turner (USA) took the win in style with a fast, fluid line from top to bottom, which included a huge air off the cornice out of the gates, and multiple smaller features throughout her run. Brooke Hansen (NZL) and Mia Jones (USA) – daughter of freeride legend Jeremy Jones – rounded off the podium.
I am so happy and glad that everyone had a safe run, and just so stoked to be here, surrounded by all these cool people; winning is a bonus.
Local legend Jana Häusl (AUT) – daughter of freeride pioneer Stefan Häusl – stormed out of the gates and completed the course in no time, showcasing both her freeriding prowess with some solid drops, and her freestyle moves, combining a flowy 360 and another air off the kickers. This title makes her the youngest ski women and first ever Austrian junior world champion. Elfy Rouiller (SUI) and Ida Feen (NOR) completed the podium.
It’s my first championship ever and I’ve only just turned 15, so I came here to have fun. It was such a cool experience, and I think it went quite well! I plan to keep on freeriding and having fun!
Reigning champion Kea Chretien (FRA) impressed the judges for the second year straight, taking home the top spot. He started with a huge air off the avalanche barrier, linking this with multiple airs and grabs, as well as a frontside 360 to bolts. Finn Eisenman (USA) finished in second place, and Leonardo Schweizer (GER) in third.
The snow was a little sticky, and I got a bit caught up at the second jump, but it was so nice to ride today. I was nervous to start with, but I feel so good now. Thank you to the FWT for putting together this event.
Young Canadien Lukas Bennett (CAN) started with a bang, launching a 360 over an avalanche barrier and never looked back, packing his run full of high-speed features and super technical 360s, spinning both ways to victory. Less than four points separated the athletes on the podium – showcasing the depth of talent – with Tyler Blocker (USA) and Michael Wheatley (USA) finishing second and third, respectively, each with runs worthy of the FWT.
This is the most insane feeling being here with all my friends – they’re like a family. I had to do a little bit of improv on my run, getting lost at the top, and I wasn’t supposed to go over the barrier. All the riders sent it today – anybody could have won; it’s insane.
These young riders continued to push the level of the sport, putting on a show to remember and assuring fans that the future of freeriding is safe and sound. Relive all of today’s action at www.freerideworldtour.com/junior, and stay tuned to the FWT social media channels for all the latest news as it drops.