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Chatel Mountain Style 2010

The Chatel Mountain Style in its fourth year brought some big changes to the course, and I do mean big! When I first saw the 12 metre drop at the start I couldn’t quite believe that they were seriously going to be going off it. The drop in 2009 was massive, but they’ve built this new drop towering a good three metres above it. To make matters worse almost immediately after the landing there’s a shallow bermed corner followed by jump – this was going to get interesting.

Brandon Semenuk - the first to take the plunge

Brandon Semenuk - the first to take the plunge

The French attitude to health and safety really impresses me. This isn’t an event only course, they leave it up all season for the public to ride. They’re thinking is along the lines that if someone is stupid enough to do it, then it’s their own darn fault if they hurt themselves – don’t blame us. If this were in England or the States, you could bet that it would be dismantled immediately after the event in case someone bust themselves and sued the course builders.

Cam McCaul

Cam McCaul


Cam Zink mid backflip on the large step up

Cam Zink mid backflip on the large step up

Following a heavy storm during Saturday afternoon practice the 9am start time on Sunday seemed unlikely. No one likes to ride in the mud, but on a course this size it would just be suicide, so a fairly optimistic wait for the course to dry ensued. As the hours passed by and further clouds accumulated on the mountain tops concern grew that the organisers were cutting things a little fine with the timings.

The riders made the most of the wait by sussing out the big drop at the start. Lots of the pros were walking up to the end, looking off the edge, looking at each other and shrugging nervously.

Darren Berecloth pulling a 360 off the rock drop

Darren Berecloth pulling a 360 off the rock drop


Graham Agassiz doing a foot plant of the rock drop

Graham Agassiz doing a foot plant of the rock drop

Brandon Semenuk was the first to take the plunge, the whole crowd took a sharp intake of breath as he fell through the sky to the landing and somehow pulled it off. Not only that, but he then did a backflip over the huge step up that followed, starting what was to be the winning run of the day.

Ryan Meyer laying down some style


Sam Pilgrim on his way to 5th place

Once Semenuk had laid down the gauntlet the other pros realised that if they were to stand any chance of winning then they too would have to do the big drop. Even then, only three, maybe four people attempted it.

Other key moves of the day were Sam Pilgrim’s one footed backflip and Darren Berrecloth’s 360 of the rock drop further down the course.

The final results were:
1. Brandon Semenuk
2. Darren Berrecloth
3. Cam Zink
4. Alex Prochazka
5. Sam Pilgrim


Video is by Riders Retreat staff member Mark Smedley – I can only apologise for the music. You can follow his season on www.markinmorzine.blogspot.com

Get the latest news from Morzine and the Portes du Soleil on the Riders Retreat Facebook page – www.facebook.com/ridersretreat

Repo/Photos by Paul Tomas


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