The Chamonix stop of the Freeride World Tour rocked the birthplace of extreme last week and Mons Royale was there to keep the people warm and entertained by throwing mad afterparties.
Anna Smoothy joined a few of our favourite freeriders to report on the shenaningans of Team Kiwi, who were out en force with smooth manoeuvres on snow and in the club. The French populous could not reconcile their feelings about these foreigners and so hit back with pepper spray and a win from local fave Loic Collomb-Patton…

Words & Photos: Anna Smoothy

With an ever expanding family of malnourished freeriders on the Freeride World Tour, Mons big dog Hamish Acland deigned it appropriate to take the team out for a fancy dinner before the event. A welcome reprieve from the inevitable slurry of road side burgers and grease, athletes enjoyed THE BEST food, a few yarns and the appropriate number of beers befitting that FWT lifestyle. What was also enjoyed immensely, was Ralph Backstrom’s pronunciation of Aubergine. The waitress was sufficiently humoured by this and went on to describe the colour, texture and flavour of this specific auberGINE. Turns out it was eggplant. Americans!


The Big Dog (Mons CEO Hamish Acland – far right), and malnourished little dogs Charlie Lyons and Craig Murray.

Ralph Backstrom and Sam Smoothy befuddled by fancy french menus.

Americans might not be so savvy with the fruity French ingredients but they certainly held down the lion’s share of podium spots in Snowboard Men. Backstrom crushed it with a few playful airs up top and some serious big mountain business down low on the Aiguille Pourrie face.

Podium gratification was elusive for our two merino clad country men. Charlie Lyons knew that the patches of blower pow were few and far between so he chose a low risk line and skied it like a boss. These variable snow conditions unhinged a hard charging Sam Smoothy. Sam was reaching for glory with a high scoring line choice that he skied with his typical tempo. Unfortunately, on his last and largest feature a sneaky piece of snow tipped the balance and he rolled a perfect punch-front on landing. While technically a crash, the front punch looked so smooth that judges professed that he thrown in a grab, they may have considered it an additional stunt.


Charlie Lyons (far left) takes the groms through a post-run debrief. 

Sam Smoothy guides Logan Pehota through the finer points of a mid-run punch front.

Things really kicked off for New Zealand the following day when Canterbury’s Craig Murray won the day at the Freeride Junior Tour 3* event. Congratulations to the youngest Murray and his petit bière toting fan club – 24 beers for only 8 euro! Always one to give thanks to his supporters, a win for Weazy is a win for the people.


The brothers Murray celebrate Charlie’s Win at the FJT event. 

Craig Murray with proud coach Hayden Seddon (left) and FWT judge extraordinaire Dion Newport (right).

The boat was pushed right out that evening at a variety of reputable and disreputable locales. The night was not incident free. Without glorifying that fact, I would like to point out that Team Kiwi were dynamic and employed some excellent team work to wipe the pepper spray from one another’s eyes, pulled some outrageous dance moves, made it through international borders without passports, and ensured that everyone got home safe.

Well done New Zealand. Vive le freeride life.



Mons Royale Merino Logo Square


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