For Samuels family, the ski-snowboard season never ends
Big Sky locals claim top spots in South America
The first Freeride World Qualifying (FWQ) event of the year in the Andes was hosted by Chilean ski area La Parva recently, with Montana’s Samuels brothers making a big statement by winning both the men ski and men snowboard categories.
La Parva sits high in the Andes above Santiago (you can see the skyscrapers from the ski area), but is a world away from the urban charms of Chile’s biggest city. Here, on the edge of the Andes, the snow is cold and the air crisp and clear. The mountain—featuring open rolling terrain punctuated by hike-to steep, cliff studded zones above the lifts—was hosting the first FWQ event of the season for the Andes and the first FWQ event in the history of the ski area.
The competition was held on the “Triangle” venue. With a steep, hike-to zone opening, followed by a bowl with a variety of cliffs and rocks, the terrain was ideal for a FWQ 2* level competition: challenging but friendly enough for athletes competing for the first time to have fun and get up to speed.
Holden Samuels, 18, took the top spot in the men snowboard category with a fast, fluid line featuring a big backflip. The flip was enough to put him ahead of Argentina’s Tomas Castelli, with Swiss rider Walter Brughelli rounding out an international podium.
In the men ski category, it was older brother Chase Samuels, 20, with the win, edging out Chilean athletes Santiago Aparicio (2nd) and Matias Doherty (3rd) for the victory.
The international flavor of the event, which attracted athletes from eight different countries including Spain, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Great Britain and Australia along with Chile and Argentina, was also reflected in results for the ladies.
Austria’s Bettina Pickl ended up with the win for the women snowboarders, ahead of Chile’s Macarena Bravo, while Spanish rider Maria Soares completed the podium
For the skiers, it was Austria’s Birgit Ertl with the win while Argentine skier Dana Toso finished in second. Chilean athlete Sofia Clement came in third.