Wrap Up Revelstoke FWQ 4*
With the first 4* FWQ region 2 competition at Revelstoke, Canada in the rear view mirror, it’s time to take a look at what’s happened, what’s to come and what’s important. Here are three things that matter.
Holden Samuels Is Legit
Holden Samuels, a snowboarder out of Big Sky, Montana, made his mark as a JR athlete at the 2018 Freeride Junior World Championships at Kappl, where he finished 2nd. But as everyone knows, success at the Junior level doesn’t always translate to FWQ events, where young athletes come up against bigger, burlier venues and veterans who have “been there and done that”. We had a glimpse of Samuel’s talents when he won 2* events at Beartooth Basin, Montana and La Parva, Chile, earlier this season. He wasn’t able to repeat the win at Revelstoke, but his 3rd place finish proved that the young snowboarder is going to be a force to be reckoned with as the year unfolds.
Holden Samuels seems to have something when it comes to getting on the podium. Since his 2nd place finish at the 2018 Freeride Junior World Championships hosted by Kappl, Austria, he’s been a regular at the top of the heap, including wins at Bearthooth Basin, La Parva.
The Girls Rip
The growth and depth of competitors in the women snowboard category is going to be a huge story this year, and the 15-deep athlete field for Revelstoke proved that freeriding is gaining momentum for female snowboarders. The athlete roster in Canada was the deepest yet, with Canadian veterans Audrey Hebert (2nd) and Michelle Locke (4th) leading the charge. Other familiar faces included the USA’s Randa Shahin (8th) and Marissa Krawczak (12th). When an athlete like Shahin, who finished 2nd in 2018 at Kirkwood’s 4* event isn’t even on the podium, you know it’s going to be an intense season.
You know that the ladies’ snowboard field is staked when FWT veteran Audrey Hebert ends up in 2nd behind fellow Katie Anderson and FWQ veteran Randa Shahin has to battle her way into the 8th spot
USA Women Are Scary Talented
The lady ski division at Revelstoke was swept by a USA triumvirate of Mia Winans, Emma Patterson and Caite Zeliff, who finished 1, 2, 3, respectively. While Winans is relatively unheralded (her best finish was 8th in Revelstoke in 2018), both Patterson (2nd at the Kicking Horse Wrangle the Chute in 2018) and Zeliff (1st at the Nendaz Freeride 4* in 2018) are veterans who have already proven themselves at a high level, and have a fistful of podiums between them. Their domination at Revelstoke, along with USA athletes taking up the 5th through 8th places and the 10th through 14th spots showcases a depth of talent among the USA ladies that’s scary if you’re a Canadian trying to qualify for the FWT in 2019.
Could this be Caite Zeliff’s year? That’s anyone’s guess as she’s part of a stacked field of USA women ski athletes who made their mark in Revelstoke, taking 7 out of the top 10 places at the 4* event.