Winning run Anna Orlova - Snowboard Women - Freeride Hakuba 4* FWQ17

Anna Orlova is the first in freeride

We devote the whole day to strong, athletic and motivating girls. One of them is Anna Orlova , the only snowboarder from Russia at the World Freeride Championship, winner of many freeride competitions. We spoke with Anna to find out how a fragile girl feels in such a serious and dangerous sport.

Brief information:
Anna Orlova
Discipline: snowboard
Achievements: multiple winner of international freeride competitions, rider of the Roxy Russia team, CEP, BCA and Abom. Participant of the Freeride World Tour 2018 World Championship.
Anna Orlova is the first in freeride

Photo: Kirill Umrikhin

Anna Orlova's professional path

- Anya, when did your freeride journey begin?
- As a child I went in for skiing. But one of our family friends was a snowboard instructor, and looking at him, I really wanted to try the board. In 2002-2003 I tried to go off-piste and ski, but they were too narrow. At the same time, I saw how cleverly all this works on snowboarding, and dreamed of changing the equipment.

The first time I tried snowboarding off-piste in 2007 in Priiskovoye, when I was 17 years old. For me it was the first and most real experience: we walked in the wild mountains, of course, without lifts. This adventure was unforgettable! After him, I began to ski more in the mountains, and after a few months I practically abandoned the institute. I started working in a sports store and spent all my money only on skiing.

- Why freeride? There are many other directions in snowboarding.
- I have tried almost all directions in snowboarding, but freeriding is unlike anything else. It is much more interesting, and every day of skiing is unique! In this sport, it is not enough to be a trained athlete - you need to be able to analyze snow conditions, weather, constantly look for new routes for skiing.

- What professional achievement are you most proud of?
- Last year I won the FWQ4 * (4 stars) stage in Japan and Austria, this year I got into the Freeride World Tour, after which I became the second in the Freeride World Championship in Canada.

Anna Orlova is the first in freeride

Photo: from the personal archive of Anna Orlova

Freeride World Championship

- How did you manage get a wild card to qualify for the World Cup?
- I tried to win the Freeride World Qualifier for three years in a row, but I was only second. The results grew every year, but it wasn't enough. I competed in Europe, Asia, North and South America, won or was on the podium in almost all starts.

Wild Card - a special invitation to the competition for an athlete who has not passed the general qualification

- Why are you now the only representative andfrom Russia, who received the World Tour Wildcard?
- Wildcard is given not by country, but by sporting achievements. As soon as other athletes from Russia start winning the FWQ qualification series with the highest 4-star rating, which I have won 4 times, 5 times the second, 4 times the third, they may also be noticed. So far, our riders do not have a sufficient rating to perform in such starts and are fighting for points of 2 stars. Last time FWT gave a wild card to Russian athlete Ivan Malakhov precisely for his impressive performances in the qualifying series in 2014.

- What is your main dream?
- To become world champion in freeride! But the immediate goal is to win the stages in Andorra and Austria and gain a foothold in the tour.

How to start freeriding?

- What tips can you give for beginners?
- Only confident skiers and snowboarders who have fully mastered the technique of skiing and have extensive experience on red and black tracks should go to freeride. Ideally, it is better to enroll in a freeride school, where beginners in this business will be taught how to use mandatory avalanche equipment and explain the basics of avalanche safety. Off-piste skiing should take place in the company of a mountain guide.

- What is the difference between freeride equipment and ordinary snowboarding equipment?
- Mandatory avalanche equipment appears in freeride - avalanche sensor, probe , shovel. A longer board is also recommended, depending on the riding conditions - -10 or -15 cm from height. The rigidity is also selected for specific conditions: for those who ride more often in the forest, it is better to take a soft board that will be rolling and easy to control. If you are going to ride in high mountains, you need to take a hard board that will keep the arc at high speeds and a blown slope.

Clothing is also more carefully selected, because freeriding is often associated with walking. When you sweat a lot, it is important that moisture evaporates through the layers of thermal underwear and the jacket membrane. In addition, skiing often occurs in harsh conditions - heavy snow and wind, so a membrane of 15k and higher or Gore-tex is recommended.

Personally, I have been riding in a snowboard for many years Roxy outfit. This season I have chosen the Torah Bright Stormfall model. The 15K jacket is made with the support of Roxy Team rider Torah Bright. She added useful nuances that only those who skate know.
Anna Orlova is the first in freeride

Photo: Andrey Britanishsky

- How to protect yourself during freeriding?
- You need to realistically assess your capabilities, it is not as easy as it seems. You should not ride if you feel tired (physical or mental), it is very important to have a fresh head in freeridingwoo.

Being able to read the terrain and assess snow conditions is an important part of freeriding. If it is not possible to look at the slope from the side, you can estimate the route on the map, estimate the snow by driving along a similar exposure. In any case, you need to drive slowly on each new route, learning it gradually.

Off-piste skiing cannot be safe. Not a single guide and the most first-class athlete can guarantee one hundred percent that there will be no avalanche. We can only reduce the risks of getting into it, relying on our experience, as well as on the experience of avalanche services that provide avalanche reports: they assess the situation on the track every day using the analysis of the sun, wind and slopes around. By increasing our level of skiing, we increase the chances of escape from an avalanche.

My favorite place for Catania - Courmayeur. This is the Italian side of Mont Blanc, where I have been training for five years now, and it was on these slopes that I managed to raise my level to the world championship. In Russia I love Sheregesh - in November it is the best place to roll out before the season.

Run Anna Orlova - 2nd - FWT18 Xtreme Verbier Switzerland

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