Anna Smoothy checks back in from Verbier Freeride Week with a wrap up of the second competition of the frenzied freeride festival. Blessed with perfect snow and blue skies this time around, the second FWQ comp went off with a bang. With both 2* events now completed the focus turns to the hotly contested 3* comp…

After a long week of weather holds and postponements, the second event of Verbier Freeride Week was finally able to run under perfect conditions, and the fine nation of New Zealand dominated the podium in the Ski Men category for the  2* on Friday.  However Hank Bilous (2nd) and Sam Lee (3rd) came at the contest from two distinctly different angles.


Snowboard competitors practice their arm steeze before competition on friday. Photo:


For Hank Bilous, it all started with a sleep in. Despite being well behind schedule, he decided not to have just one bowl of frosties, but two. Bilous also had the forethought to pack a marmite (imported) sandwich in case of emergency. The anticipated disaster came much sooner than expected when Bilous found himself encased in a gondola of thwarted hopes and dreams. The cable was not moving, the doors were closed. And so, the little kiwi ate his marmite sandwich and mulled over the comment that head judge Dion Newport had made in passing: “I will be pretty bored today if I don’t see a 7.”  This was something Hank had contemplated the night before the competition but had tossed aside into the too hard basket. But with such encouragement from much important peoples, the too hard basket had been ripped open once again.

Hank made it to the venue in the nick of time *sighs of relief* and ripped into his run with a left side 3, a double cliff drop and then proceeded to clock his run with that elusive left side seven.
Sam Lee reminded us why he is referred to as the Ibex of New Zealand skiing with a sporty big mountain line that was truly unique to this competition and played to his hoovenly skiing style.


How NZ travels to prize giving. Hank and Sam on their way to collecting silver and bronze. Photo: Anna Smoothy


The winner of the Mens Ski category was Switzerland’s Max Vaquin.  This local heavy hitter had taken the premier title in the initial 2* earlier in the week so we knew we were in for something good.  He dealt out a phenomenal combination of a front flip, to another front flip, to a spectacularly laid-out-julien-lopez-style-fully-frogged-back-flip.


The categories of Men’s Snowboard, Women’s Ski and Women’s Snowboard were all championed by exceptional humans doing their good things down the playful venue in amazing snow.  But why read about it when you can check the photos (and videos soon) on the Freeride World Qualifier website and Facebook.


Womens Ski 3rd place Amy David racks up air and style points. Photo:


All eyes now turn to the premiere 3* event which is slated to go down on Sunday. With Freeride World Tour riders using the comp as a warm up, and hungry FWQ competitors out for points and glory it is sure to be a big one.




Mens Ski:
1. Max Vaquin
2. Hank Bilous
3. Sam Lee


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Womens Ski:


1. Sanna Mona
2. Juliette Willmann
3. Amy David




Snowboard Men:


1. Adam Bjork
2. Erkki Kuusiniemi
3. Angelo Werlen




Snowboard Women:


1. Marion Haerty
2. Tiphanie Perrotin
3. Ana Salvador Arguas




Full results can be found on the FWQ website.



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  • Australia

  • New Zealand


  • Switzerland

  • Rest of Europe


  • Canada

    United States