Skip to main content

The North Face Frontier 4* Wrap Up by Mons Royale

The North Face Frontier 4* Wrap Up by Mons Royale von FWQWeek


The odds were against us leading into the 4* Event of The North Face Frontier with very challenging conditions.  During the 2* comp clear skies meant that competitors battled an absolutely bullet-proof snowpack. The sunshine at the beginning of the week quickly vanished into the depths of a wild storm that raged on through the 4* event window, worrying anyone with a brain that the weather might be too inclement for a freeride comp.

Riders: Manuela Mandl (2nd SNB Women) & Sabine Schipflinger

Luckily, the skies parted at the 11th hour, just in time for the most powder-filled event that The North Face Frontier has enjoyed for many moons.  20cm’s of cold, dry snow dropped on the formidable venue and a light wind buffed it into a cliff-stompers dream.

Head Judge Dion Newport was cracking whips from 7am on comp day because the clear weather window that we had to work with was extremely narrow.  With a wild storm at our fronts and one at our backs, the comp had to be run at the height of efficiency.

Sam Smoothy and Tom Brownlee kept the crowds and competitors entertained with their controversial commentary efforts and exceptional taste in faux furs.

Commentators Tom Brownlee and Sam Smoothy

Smoothy proposed that the Snowboard Women were the stand-out category on the day with home grown kiwi competitor Maria Kuzma taking out the win by linking together some hard-charging fall-line airs. 

New Zealander’s represented on the podium for every category, with NZ Ski Men featuring on not one, not two, but the three top spots in the category.  Hank Bilous took home the win by hanging it all out on the massive air dubbed HANK-TIME (1’35”).

Rider: Hank Bilous

Roland Morley Brown won the SNB Men’s category after taking a sporty line that had no room for a change of heart (45”).  Laia Casternallau (Ski Women 1st) kept it super fall-line with a fluid line that picked off some of the biggest airs in the Elevator Couloir (1’10”).

There were quite a few Mums and Dads in attendance on-snow at the event and on the dance floor at the after party.  This may have kept everyone in order, but more likely encouraged further debauchery.  Whichever way you look at it, Charlie and Craig Murray’s Mum does the worm better than you! 

Rider: Sabine Schipflinger