Kreibich holds off Kiwi rivals to win spectacular two-star event

There was skill, there was speed, but mostly there was a certain craziness at the two-star freeride event held at the Remarkables ski field yesterday.

More than 80 skiers and snowboarders from around the world descended the jagged cliff-face with as much skill and style as they could, to complete the ultimate goal of making the judges' jaws drop.

Some had more success than others.

There were some spectacular crashes as well as even more spectacular flips, spins, and huge cliff-jumps.

It was a long, nervous wait for eventual men's ski division winner Tao Kreibich, of Austria. He set the benchmark with a score of 93.00 early on and had to sit and watch as 30 other riders tried to best him.

In the end, no-one could - Wanaka freerider Sam Lee taking second place with a score of 87.00, and fellow Kiwi Julian Hampton taking third with 84.33.

Kreibich said he was nervous at the bottom but was pleased with the outcome.

``There were about four or five runs that were really really good ... but yeah, I made it.

``The snow wasn't too good in the morning so I wasn't too sure about my line and my run, but it worked out perfectly, better than expected.

``It's a perfect start to the season.''

Onlookers were blown away by some of the tricks pulled by Lee, but a near wipeout after one of them cost him top spot.

However, he said he was using it as training for tomorrow's four-star freeride event held at the ski field, that counts for qualifying points for the freeride world tour, which begins at the end of the year.

``I haven't done a lot of tricks in competition before, other than backflips, so my goal was just to use it as training ... just try and make it difficult for myself and see what I was capable of and I pretty much achieved that.

``For a two-star event, the level of riding and the stuff that people were trying was right up there with anything else. It was awesome, I'm stoked to be here to watch it and just see where the sport's heading.''

In the women's field, Swiss skier Martina Wyss claimed victory after her run scored 86.00.

She was followed by Sweden's Moa Warvik and Heidi Livran, of the United States, who scored 77.00 and 64.67 respectively.

It was an all-Kiwi podium in the men's snowboarding division, as Queenstown's Finn Duffy showed his freeride junior tour experience to take top spot with an outstanding score of 88.00.

He was joined on the podium by Benjamin Ewens and Rupert Smith, who scored 79.33 and 73.00 respectively.

In the women's division, last year's bronze medalist Nuria Castan Baron, of Spain, went two better this time around, laying down a standout run scoring 90.67.

American duo Christina Bruno and Randa Shahin came second and third with scores of 76.33 and 74.00.


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