Solid snowfalls boost excitement around next week’s Rip Curl FreeRide Pro and ThrowDown
Following the recent fresh snow dump, anticipation around next week’s Rip Curl FreeRide Pro and ThrowDown at Thredbo from August 17-19th is overflowing amongst the competitor and event organiser ranks.
The Rip Curl FreeRide Pro is a unique ski and snowboard event that makes use of Thredbo’s famous ‘Bluff’ run, which is recognised as Australia’s best natural terrain. It gives riders the opportunity to choose their own path down the mountain and hence showcase their freeriding skills.
After a relatively slow start to the season, event organisers welcomed last week’s epic snowfalls that blanketed Thredbo. The athletes are keen to hit the slopes next week and expectations around this year’s event are bigger than ever. Conditions are expected to hold up this week with more snow on the horizon.
The recent snowfalls have also given Thredbo Terrain Park Manager Charles Beckinsale plenty to work with. In its fourth year, the Rip Curl FreeRide Pro relies not only on the ‘Bluff’s’ natural terrain but also on Beckinsale’s vision and skill in bringing out the best parts of the hill.
With an international field of competitors already locked in, including former USA Olympian Andy Finch, young snowboarding prodigy Nate Johnstone and New Zealand’s free-snowboarding Olympian Mitch Brown the Rip Curl FreeRide Pro is sure to be a tightly fought competition.
Finch represented his country in the 2006 Torino Olympics, placing 12th in the half-pipe and is also the Rip Curl FreeRide Pro inaugural champion. Competing alongside the former Olympian is Nate Johnstone, the 2008/09 Rip Curl FreeRide Pro champion who qualified for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics but was forced to pull out at the last minute due to an ankle injury.
“Due to my injury at the beginning of this year I haven’t had a chance to do too much snowboarding, but I plan to just freeride, have fun and see what happens. If anything I think it’s made me keener to go snowboarding!” said Johnstone of his preparations for the event.
The Rip Curl ThrowDown Invitational is a specialty night event held on the Wednesday evening under lights at Thredbo Village, attracting a large crowd of spectators. The ‘one-night only’ big air structure is also built by the Thredbo Terrain Park Crew, and its annually changing features grant it a unique status.
The Rip Curl ThrowDown competitors will be announced next week in the lead-up to the event, invites are limited to those snowboarders and skiers with the ability to push the boundaries on the purpose-built park.
The Rip Curl FreeRide Pro and ThrowDown is proudly presented by Power Balance and is a part of the Thredbo FreeRide Series.