Freeskier Markus Eder, the first Italian skier on the Swatch Freeride World Tour presented by The North Face, made history with a first place finish on Tuesday at the Freeride World Tour's second stop of the season in Courmayeur, Italy.
Eder started with a surprising line choice skier's right of the more popular fall line couloir, which the majority of the first 29 competitors had ridden throughout the morning. He paired exposed drops with a mix of freestyle moves, including a 360 and backflip, through the lower part of the course.
"It was a surprise for me," said Eder, at 22, one of the youngest competitors on the tour. "I didn't expect it at all. I'm glad the judges liked it. I went somewhere that nobody else went. This face was way more mellow than the Mac Daddy in Revelstoke. It's kind of what I'm used to skiing back home, in the Southern Tyrol."
Eder, who's from the southern mountain region that stretches across the Austrian and Italian boarder, added, "It's a pretty cool feeling to win in Italy because people were really hyped for me as the first Italian skier ever on the World Tour. So yeah, I kinda felt the pressure and now all the pressure is off."
For second place finisher Jeremie Heitz of Switzerland, the pressure began back in British Columbia, where he earned the second place spot in the tour's first stop in Revelstoke, BC. On Tuesday, he sped down the fall line straight out of the gate and laid down tracks with a creative line over exposed terrain. His consistency earned him enough points to grab the current top spot in the overall tour ranking.
Sweden's Reine Barkered had a lucky bib draw of seventh and took full advantage of the mostly untouched terrain on the face, laying down a smooth and fluid run with speed for a third place finish.
The venue for Tuesday's men's only contest was steep, 45 degrees with exposed rocks littering the top section and a more open and playful zone in the lower section.
Next week, the Freeride World Tour will travel to the other side of the Mt. Blanc tunnel to Chamonix, France, for its third stop of the season.