Big mountain skiers and Quest students Martin Lentz and Lauren Cameron competed at the first stop of the Swatch Freeride World Tour in Vallnord, Spain on Friday morning. The Freeride World Tour is the highest level of competition for professional big mountain skiers, and consists of 5 comps at 5 locations across the world.
Because the fist stop of the Tour was in Spain, the live broadcast started at 11:30 p.m for viewers at Quest, and went until 3:30 a.m. Despite the inconvenient time, students gathered together late Thursday night to support Lauren and Martin, projecting the livestream onto the wall of a dorm room. Both Lauren and Martin are rookies on the tour this year, having qualified last year by finishing in the top 2 spots on the North America Qualifiers tour. It’s a big step up from qualifiers to the World Tour, and friends of the two student athletes were too excited to see how they’d do to worry about missing out on sleep.
One of the largest differences between the World Tour and the North American Qualifiers is the aspect of visual inspection. Riders on the World Tour rely on inspecting the venue for line choices, sizes of airs, and snow conditions entirely based on how it looks through the lens of binoculars. On the North American tour, riders have a chance to go and check out the venue on skis, which allows the to better understand how large an air will be, how much speed they’ll want going in to it, how flat the landing is, and how to best link up the features on the mountain.
The stoke was high at 12:30 when Lauren dropped in, and her solid line kept the momentum going all the way until 3, when Martin Lentz had his debut. Two more stops remain for both skiers to qualify for Alaska, and though that means two more late nights for the rest of us, we couldn’t be more happy.