Holden Samuels is headed to the University of Colorado-Boulder. But first, he’s working to qualify for a chance to compete against the best riders in the world. Outside Red Lodge recently, he again made the grade.

Samuels wins Beartooth FWQ Freeride Comp

Samuels wins Beartooth FWQ Freeride Comp

Big Sky snowboarder Holden Samuels has just served notice that he’s a threat to qualify for the Freeride World Tour in his first season on the adult Freeride World Qualifier tour, taking the win on June 14 at Beartooth Basin.

     The competition—part of MadeMT, which features cultural, educational and brand showcases such as Shred-X (15-minute presentations by innovators, athletes and entrepreneurs)—was moved forward one day due to deteriorating weather. The move was enough to run all the categories except men’s skiing, and it proved to be the perfect decision for Samuels, who took advantage of soft conditions under mixed sun and clouds to claim the first adult win of his young career.

    “Samuels and Blake Moller (runner-up) were a cut above the competition today,” said the Freeride World Tour’s Tom Winter. “Holden in particular really stepped it up and he’s going to be one to watch this season. It’s not often that a rookie on the Freeride World Qualifying tour makes the move up to the elite FWT their first year, but I sure wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the leap.”

     Joining Samuels on the top of the podium was legendary snowboarder Julie Zell. Zell, who has competed around the globe and is one of the most influential riders of her time, came out of retirement at 50 years old to compete for the first time in years. The win was an unexpected punctuation on a career that includes seven Winter X Games, a victory at the Freeride World Tour finals in Verbier and numerous first descents of extreme terrain on mountains around the globe.

     For the ski women, California athlete Tracy Chubb took the win with a fast and fluid line through the complex headwall venue.

     “Austin Hart and his team did an exceptional job with the event,” added Winter. “They have a unique operational ecosystem up there, and face a lot of challenges, but hats off to them. They always find a way to manage things successfully and they do it with a smile and stoke.”

     The Beartooth event kicks off the 2019 FWQ season in the Americas, with the next events scheduled for July and August in the Andes.  –FWT


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