After the Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi, the first Freeride World Tour stop in early January, the world’s best ski and snowboard riders will make history by competing for the first time ever on the infamous Tram Face: the mythical Squaw Valley venue which has remained strictly off-limits since the resort opened nearly 60 years ago.
The Nissan Tram Face event (27th Feb-5th March )is the second of four Freeride World Tour stops, the unique Ski and Snowboard professional World Tour. As Alpine, Ski-Cross and Freestyle skiers have their World Championships, so do the Freeride specialists thanks to a new circuit launched in 2008: with 4 major events and 10 qualifier events, the Freeride World Tour brings freeride competitions to the next level. After the Nissan Russian Adventure in Sochi-Russia, Nissan Tram Face, Squaw Valley-USA, Nissan Freeride de Tignes-France and the grand finale at the Nissan Xtreme Verbier-Switzerland, the 2009 Freeride World Champions will be crowned.
The Swedish skier, Sverre Lillequist, is the current Freeride World Ranking leader after his superb success in Sochi.
Sverre will be the favorite for victory on Tram Face but will be closely followed by American Cody Townsend, the Squaw Valley pro rider who will ski on home snow as well as Swede Henrick Windstedt, the 2008 Freeride World Champion. French freeride stars Aurelien Ducroz and Sebastien Michaud, respectively 2nd and 3rd in the Freeride World Ranking will also be seeking victory.
In the women’s ski competition, Jess McMillan from USA, the winner in Sochi, is leading the Freeride Worldranking. Jess is the favorite for the Nissan Tram Face alongside her compatriot Elyse Saugstad (USA), the 2008 Freeride World Champion, as well as Swedish skiers Marja Person, 8th in the Freeride World Ranking and Janette Hargin, winner of Fieberbrunn Freeride World Qualifier event. In the snowboard competition, current leader and winner in Sochi Cyril Neri (SUI) is unfortunately injured and out for the season. However, Aline Bock (GER) will again seek victory!
Saturday February the 28th: The historical Nissan Tram Face Freeride World Tour event
Located on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA became world-famous in 1960 as host to the VIII Winter Olympics. As host to the Freeride World Tour’s North American stop, the mountain will truly live up to its reputation as the world’s best natural amphitheater when the Freeride World Tour athletes compete on the resort’s infamous Tram Face.
In Squaw Valley’s 59 years of operation, the steep rock face below Tower 1 of the Cable Car (known as the “Tram Face”) has remained strictly off-limits. Its steep and seemingly un-skiable pitch, permanent closure, and tantalizing location in perfect view from Squaw Valley’s Village and base area, have made it a coveted descent among the freeride scene. History will be made this year when the world’s best get a chance to take a crack at it during the Nissan Tram Face – Squaw Valley USA.
Cody Townsend, Squaw ValleyUSA skier (5th of the 2008 World Freeride Tour) about the Nissan Tram Face event...
”The Tram Face at Squaw Valley is legendary terrain that many have dreamed to ride but few have dared to. Having the first ever competition on Tram Face is like the first time Monaco was raced in Formula 1, Teahupoo was surfed and the Masters was played at Augusta. Opening up the off-limits terrain for the competition is a dream come true for any person that has ever driven into Squaw Valley and seen the amazing Face that dominates the mountain.”
- Check out Cody Townsend video clip about Tram Face at: freerideworldtour.com.
4 riders won their spot for the Nissan Tram Face thanks to the USA Freeride World Qualifier & sister events.
Two Freeride World Qualifier events, sister events of the Nissan Tram Face, took place this winter, previous to the historical Freeride World Tour second stop at Squaw Valley USA. The winners of the North Face Masters of Snowboarding at Snowbird, USA (30 January-2 February 09) and at Crested Butte, USA (13-16 February 09) are directly qualified for the Nissan Tram Face.
Snowboard Winners and qualified men: Matt Annetts (Snowbird) and Clif Dimon (Crested Butte)
Snowboard Winner and qualified women: Shanan Yates (Snowbird) and Susan Moll (Crested Butte)
16 ‘Wild Cards’ have been granted for the Nissan Tram Face in Squaw Valley USA, second stage of the Freeride World Tour 2009
Joining the 36 best skiers and snowboarders already qualified to take on the mythical Tram Face at the end of February, the ‘Wild Cards’ are given to exceptional athletes for each of the Freeride World Tour events. These riders, considered part of the world’s elite, are selected by the organizers of each event. Often, they are athletes coming back after an injury or those that have not been able to participate in enough events to score enough points in the Freeride World Ranking to be qualified. Particularly important to note is the presence of exceptional snowboard riders such as Steve Klassen (USA), victory record holder of the Nissan Xtreme – Verbier and Jeremy Jones (USA), one of the world’s best and most influent snowboarders. Squaw Valley USA’s incredible skier JT Holmes, one of the Ski-BASE pioneers, will also compete on home snow while his friend and freeride star Shane McConkey (USA) should be judging the historical Nissan Tram Face event!
Complete Wild Cards list for the Nissan Tram Face- Squaw Valley-USA:
1. Richard Permin - FRA
2. Sverre LILIEQUIST- SWE
3. Griffin POST- USA
4. Thomas DIET- FRA
5. JT HOLMES- USA
6. Ted DAVENPORT- USA
1. KLASSEN Steve - USA
2. JONES Jeremy - USA
3. BACKSTROM Ralph - USA
4. BELL Ryland - USA
1. PERSSON Marja - SWE
2. ASHTON Jen - CAN
3. PAASO Jaclyn - USA
4. BURGE Jamie - USA
1. BOCK Aline - GER
2. HAGEN Charlotte - SWE
Friday 27th: mountain inspection (binoculars) & opening ceremonies at 4.30pm
Saturday 28th: competition is scheduled on Tram Face from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m
Prize Giving Ceremony at High Camp and at SquawVillage Fair
Spectators can enjoy the festive atmosphere with live music and ongoing events at The Village at Squaw Valley USA.
*In the case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed to an alternate date between February 29 and March 5.
The Freeride World Tour 2009
Since 2008, the Freeride World Tour has made sports history bringing together international freeriders. For the first time, skiers and snowboarders, men and women, travel the world seeking the Freeride World Champion title.
The stages of the Freeride World Tour 2009 (FWT)
20 - 25 January: Nissan Russian Adventure- Sochi, Russia
27 February - 5 March : Nissan Tram Face - Squaw Valley USA – New event
8 -14 March: Nissan Freeride de Tignes, France
20 - 29 March: Nissan Xtreme – Verbier 09, Switzerland
The Freeride World Qualifier 2009 events (FWQ)
30 January-2 February: the North Face Masters of Snowboarding – Snowbird (USA) –
Sister event* of the Nissan Tram Face Squaw Valley USA
5-15 February: Scott Big Mountain Fieberbrunn (AUT), sister event of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes (FRA)
13-16 February: the North Face Masters of Snowboarding – Crested Butte (USA), sister event of the Nissan Tram Face – Squaw Valley USA
15-19 February: Freeride de Chamonix (FRA)
19-22 February: Winter Mysticxperience (ITA) Monte Rosa
20-22 February: The Monster Golden Ticket in Squaw Valley USA,sister event of the Nissan Tram Face – Squaw Valley USA
6-8 March: the North Face Masters of Snowboarding – Kirkwood (USA)
4-7 March: Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships - Taos, New Mexico (USA)
13-18 March: Nendaz Freeride (SUI), sister event of the Nissan Xtreme – Verbier 09 (SUI)
31 March-5 April: Jasna Adrenaline (SK)
22-26 April: Röldal Freeride Challenge (NOR), sister event of the Nissan Russian Adventure - Sochi 2010
*A sister event is a FWQ which will qualify the winners of each category to participate in the FWT event to which it is linked