The best freeski riders broke the mould yet again at the renowned annual B&E Invitational competition in Les Arcs this weekend.
The B&E is unique due to its skatepark-inspired course of kickers and rails, the level and notoriety of the assembled riders and the fact that the events are judged by the skiers themselves. The competition was founded by two of the most influential freskiers of their generation – Swedish Henrik Harlaut and Canadian Phil Casabon – who invited 24 skiers to take part. The aim: To break the barriers of their sport in two days of free expression.
Among is year’s extremely impressive list of riders, the French legend Candide Thovex, made a noteworthy appearance after a very active winter full of shooting videos. Henrik Harlaut and Candide Thovex stepped up their game and, together, won the 5 prizes of the competition.
HENRIK HARLAUT & CANDIDE THOVEX WIN ALL THE VOTES
As the beats were supplied by Walshy Fire of Major Lazer and rapper Dillon Cooler, impressive tricks were landed one after the other.
Henrik Harlaut took home 3 of the 5 trophies: the Blue Tomato Best Style (rewarding style), the Les Arcs Best Overall (rewarding the skier that best used the course throughout the 2 days) and the Armada Best Trick (rewarding the best trick: double rodeo 1260 safety).
Candide Thovex proved yet again his informal title ‘freeski legend’ is not an exaggeration. He received the Beatcan Best Line, rewarding the choice of the best line (he also had a huge transfer, the only one of its kind seen in this competition, and topped it off with a double back flip at the bottom of the course). He was also awarded the E-Adrenaline Public Choice Winner, determined by the livestream viewers (540 participants, 160 votes) following the live feed from their homes. At the event, Candide said he was “very touched” to win these two prizes.
Special mention to American Torin Yater-Wallace who landed a spectacular double flat 12 safety and Jackson Wells (NZ) who nailed a double cork 9 while coming out of the bottom bowl.
SKATEBOARDING TO SKIING, WITH 60,000m3 OF SNOW
What has helped build the B&E Invitational’s reputation for the last 3 editions and won the respect of the “influencers” of the discipline, is the originality and the uniqueness of the zone on with the skier are invited to ski.
This year, the course was beyond anything the skiers could have imagined, with kickers, stair sets, rails, bowls, transfers, a mini halfpipe, and even a tunnel. Even more creative than in previous years, this struc- ture required 3 weeks of uninterrupted work by 12 shapers, 5 machines, and 60 000m3 of snow, giving the riders infinite options of lines to demonstrate the extent of their skiing talent.
Located on the snow front in Arc 1800, this true “skatepark in snow” was more creative than ever before, and even involved inventing features from the world of skateboarding, such as the “cradle”, a half-sphere of snow placed vertically. The event was watched by hundreds of tourists gathered around the park, the audience of 8 international TV channels broadcasting the live feed, and 50,000 internet users around the world.
All pics by David Malacrida