Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fourth Stop of the 2017 Freeride World Tour Took Place in Haines, Alaska

After several competition delays, riders were finally treated to epic powder on the stunning terrain of the most coveted freeride peaks on the planet.
The remaining qualified twenty-seven athletes of the Swatch Freeride World Tour competed today on the so-called “dream stop” and last competition before the season finale in Verbier, Switzerland. Always a highly anticipated event due to the renowned terrain and remote nature of the competition site, the level was exceptionally high today as riders exploited their final opportunity to earn points before the final.
Unsettled weather marked the days preceding the event but this morning the skies cleared and revealed nearly perfect snow conditions on the 760m vertical meter (2493ft) Alaskan face. Riders and spectators were treated to one of the most spectacular competitions in FWT history.

Ski Men

The story of Haine’s ski men field was the showdown between Frenchmen Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) and Léo Slemett (FRA). Collomb-Patton opened the men’s field with a powerful run, taking a large double-set into an impressive 360 high on the venue. Only two riders later, Slemett dropped into a similar line but executed a smoothly stomped backflip and finished strong in the lower venue. As a result of these finishes, the overall ranking features an unprecedented three-way tie with Kirstoffer Turdell (SWE) whose day ended in a crash.

Ski Women

Competing among a field of strong skiers, phenom Arianna Tricomi (ITA) commenced her line with big airs and continued with enough style to nudge Lorraine Huber’s (AUT) similarly confident line into second place. Eva Walkner (AUT) skied a playful line which kept the overall ranking in close contention for the finals in Verbier.

Snowboard Men

If anyone could give top snowboarder Sammy Luebke (USA) a run for his money, it was local favorite and wild card Ryland Bell (USA). Bell opened up the day’s competition with a stunning line featuring two spins off big airs. Bell’s Alaskan experience was not enough to dethrone Luebke’s artful run of stomped airs and a smooth 360. Earning first place in Haines was enough for Luebke to claim the title of world champion one stop before the end of his nearly immaculate season.
"I am pretty fired up that all this waiting time paid off. Conditions were blower and the safety seemed to be good; no avalanches, nobody got hurt, and everybody is happy!", said Sammy Luebke, 2017 World Champion Snowboard Men.

Snowboard Women

Shannan Yates (USA) is one step closer to the title today as she tapped into her experience and linked several airs in a more technical part of the venue, earning first place. Despite being close on Yates’ tail, Marion Haerty (FRA) was not able to secure the coveted title of world champion today and settled for second place position.
"I just found out that I won. I am ecstatic! This is such a beautiful day. There were a lot of questions about the weather and what would actually happen; we had the fog and the waiting game and the snow was so so fantastic! I skied my line where I was planning on going. I may not have done it as smooth as I would have liked, but I had fun", said Shannan Yates, 1st Snowboard Women:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017. Haines Alaska Competition Confirmed

The snow storm that has been hitting Haines for the past few days is finally over and some good weather is forecast for today Tuesday March 21st. aiming at a Live Webcast start at 9:45AM (Local Time).
Everyone will witness riders become their inner hero as they push their limits on the fantastically vast Alaskan terrain – but riders need to keep their feet on this earth if they intend to make the last cut for the finale in Verbier.
Take a look at last year's Competition:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Andre Myhrer Wins Last Race of The Season, Marcel Hirscher Claims 6th Overall Title

In a repeat performance from last season's finals, Andre Myhrer of Sweden claimed victory in the last slalom of the year for his first podium finish since St. Moritz in 2016. Felix Neureuther skied a blistering second run to move from sixth into second place. Austria's Michael Matt held on for the final podium spot in third.
Andre Myhrer has struggled this season with back problems and has not been on a World Cup podium since his win at Finals one year ago. At the end of a long season, the Swede is ready for some much deserved R&R after some spring ski testing.
"The course was, of course, tough in the second run, but it held up good", Myhrer explained. "You have to stay in the track on a day like this to really get the speed going. I had a good feeling from first run to second run and was a little bit nervous at the start, but I tried to charge it and managed to go out with a win, so I’m really happy about that; it’s been a tough season for me and it’s nice to end it this way and get some motivation for next season".
Marcel Hirscher led after the first run but fell back to fourth place, still he collected his fourth career slalom globe. It capped off a career-best season for the Austrian technical ace with two World Championship titles, two discipline globes, and his sixth consecutive Overall title.
"It is amazing. You know, we are often thinking about it – how many years it will be possible to ski on this high level – but at the moment it’s a lot of fun", said Hirscher. "Well, I’m hoping for it [to get even better] because otherwise then it’s better to stop at the moment. But anyway, it will be a challenging summer for me and for the whole team to be in shape for next season".

Italians Sweep Final Podium, Tessa Worley Wins Giant Slalom Title

On the final day of World Cup racing in the 2016/17 season, Federica Brignone led an Italian podium sweep in the GS – the first time the Italian women have done so in World Cup racing since 1996. She was joined on the podium by Sofia Goggia in second and Marta Bassino in third. All season the Italian women have proved they are the strongest team in the discipline.
Federica Brignone celebrated her third World Cup win of the season and the fifth of her career. The Italian earned her first-ever career podium at Aspen in 2009, and in total has podiumed at the venue five times.
"I tried to attack from the first gate to the finish in the first run and even the second run", Brignone shared. "I was really stressed before the first run. I know I like the slope so much, but then it’s always not easy, and there were many, many changing gates, so it was short sometimes and long, and turny and not turny, so you had to stay on the line and stay on the rhythm always".
The podium sweep was the ultimate way for the Italians to end the season.
"This is, I think, one of the best days of my life, being on the podium with these two girls and two Italians", Brignone said. "It was amazing. It was really, really, really fun. But I didn’t know they were in front actually. I didn’t know nothing. I just went down and skied for myself and gave my best and when I crossed the finish line, I saw that I was in front, but I didn’t see who was second or third at the beginning. And then, I just heard the speaker saying, ‘Oh, second place Goggia, third Bassino,’ and it was amazing".
For Goggia, the podium finish was the cherry on top of her best season yet. The Italian earned 13 World Cup podium results this season across four disciplines. Her season also included two wins at the test events in Jeongseon, South Korea–the venue where next year’s Winter Olympic Games will be held. Just three hundredths behind her was Bassino. At 21 years old, she has three World Cup podiums to her name–all in giant slalom, and she was in the top 10 in seven of the nine World Cup GS races she started.

With a fifth-place finish, Tessa Worley earned her career-first discipline globe, besting Mikaela Shiffrin by 85 points in the standings. Worley secured the first GS globe for a French woman since 1993.
"It was tough. Truly it was. I mean, I really wanted to ski with my heart, but my mind was always taking over sometimes. And in the second run, I knew I didn’t have a choice so I just went for it, kept it simple and I’m just really, really happy with the season. It wasn’t a dream! I mean, it’s true", said Worley with the globe in her hand. "I mean this season like I said it was a dream. Everything went so well. We worked really hard, but now I have it and the whole team has it, so I’m just really, really proud. There were some tough moments, but I made it, so I’m so happy".

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017. Haines Alaska Teaser

Date: March, 2017; Location: Haines
The Swatch Freeride World Tour Haines Alaska remains On Hold. Next call tomorrow for a potential competition on Tuesday 21st.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Petra Vlhova Wins The Slalom Race in Aspen, Mikaela Shiffrin Grabs Crystal Globe

Petra Vlhova held onto her first-run lead to claim her first race victory in a season. Mikaela Shiffrin, who secured the slalom title last week, pushed hard in the second run but ultimately finished in second. Frida Hansdotter rounded out the race podium in third.
The women of the World Cup took the Aspen slope in spring conditions. Temperatures hovered around 60 degrees at midday, and by second run, the snow was slushy. As each woman descended, fans could see the groove grow next to the gates. That did not stop first run winner Petra Vlhova of Slovakia from building on her lead to take the final win of the season with a combined time of 1:32.00.
"This victory, I needed it", Vlhova said. "Because after Squaw Valley, I was really upset because I know that I am fast, but sometimes I do some mistakes and if you want to win, you have to ski without mistakes".
Petra Vlhova was on the podium two other times this season in Levi, Finland, and Zagreb, Croatia. The Slovakian has one other victory to her name from Are, Sweden, last season.

Mikaela Shiffrin finished the day in second place, 0.24 seconds behind Vlhova, and while the result was not the win that she was likely looking for, she enjoyed the day.
This marked the 44th World Cup podium finish of her career.
Before today's race American Mikaela Shiffrin had already mathematically secured the 2016-17 World Cup overall globe–the first of her career–as well as the slalom globe.
"It’s beautiful", noted Shiffrin. "I love racing at Aspen and I love racing in front of a home crowd. It was a good day." She has yet to fully process the accomplishment of the Overall title. "No, I don’t know if I’ll ever process [the Overall globe]. It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was five years old, and it’s really difficult to understand something that finally happens after 20 years".
Frida Hansdotter was in third place, 0.35 seconds away from the win. Hansdotter was ahead of Shiffrin after the first run, but was unable to maintain her lead.
Veronika Velez Zuzulova in second and Wendy Holdener in third completed the slalom standings podium.

Marcel Hirscher Ends GS Season With a Victory in Aspen

Marcel Hirscher won his third giant slalom race in a row to cap off the season where he held onto the discipline title despite advances from a number of competitors. In the come-from-behind race victory, Hirscher took down first-run leader Felix Neureuther – who ultimately finished second – by 0.53 seconds and third-place finisher Mathieu Faivre by 1.19 seconds with a spectacular second run.
This season was Hirscher’s fourth career GS title and was able to fend off some incredibly fast skiing from his rivals, particularly that of Pinturault, who held the lead in the season standings until Hirscher took advantage of Pinturault’s finishing struggles."You know today’s race was very tough but you’ve known me for quite a long time and for me every race is very serious and I want to win it if it is possible", said Hirscher, referencing both his competition and warm temperatures. "I’m super, super happy protecting the globe from Alexis Pinturault this season. It means a lot to me because at the beginning of the season he was unbelievably fast, so I proved myself to be pretty good during the season".
Felix Neureuther managed to battle through back, knee, and equipment issues this season and was very happy to end his GS season with a second-place finish. No doubt that the German will be eyeing the top step of the podium again on Sunday in the slalom.
Faivre’s third place was enough to vault the Frenchman into second place in the GS standings. With his maiden win under his belt this season, look for big things not only from Faivre, but the rest of the incredibly strong French giant slalom team in the coming years.
"I am very happy about my race; today was the last for me. I am happy to finish this one on the podium and, of course, in second pace for the GS standings. I try to not check the points, but it’s impossible to not know. I just did my skiing and had a lot of fun, and I’m happy about the result today. The only thing I want to do is always improve my skiing and my physique, and I’m happy to finish this season better than the last season".


Friday, March 17, 2017

Sweden Wins Nations Team Event in Aspen

It became tradition that the World Cup Finals host an Alpine Team Event on the transition day between the speed and the tech races. In Aspen, The swedish team of Frida Hansdotter, Emelie Winkstroem, Mattias Hargin and Andre Myhrer took down the German team of Lena Duerr, Marina Wallner, Stefan Luitz, and Linus Strasser three points to one in the final round. In the small final for third place, the French team of Adeline Baud Mugnier, Coralie Frasse Sombet, Jean-Baptiste Grange, and Julie Lizeroux was victorious over Italy’s team of Chiara Costazza, Irene Curtoni, Patrick Thaler, and Giuliano Razzoli.
A total of eight teams were registered for the parallel event: Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Norway, Germany, Slovenia and Sweden. Starting in the quarter-finals, four teams managed to qualify for the semi-finals and battle for the podium spots.
Italy met France in the small final for the third place, where Adeline Baud Mugnier, Coralie Frasse Sombet, Jean-Baptiste Grange and Julien Lizeroux all laid down a faster time. After winning the gold medal in the Alpine Team Event at the World Championships in St. Moritz, France claims another podium in the discipline.
The big final saw Sweden battle against Germany. With Frida Hansdotter winning over Lena Duerr, Stefan Luitz unable to finish giving the win to Matthias Hargin and Marina Waller finishing behind Emelie Wikstroem, the last heat with André Myhrer and Linus Strasser could not change the feat: Sweden earned the win in the Alpine Team Event, giving Sweden a second World Cup victory in this season, after Hansdotter’s success in Flachau.

The Nation’s Team Event is due to join the Olympic Program in 2018, making every one of the competitions between now and then an important test for the newest Olympic event.The compact knockout format race features two male and two female racers per team with the best combined time advancing to the next round.
The race is a dual paralel slalom with pro jumps—pitting a racer from one country against another. With times coming in between 22 and 24 seconds, athletes squeaked out wins by hundredths of a second.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hannes Reichelt Claims Final Super-G in Aspen

Hannes Reichelt walked away with the hard-fought win with a time of 1:08.22 seconds. Joining the Austrian on the podium was Wednesday’s downhill winner, Italy’s Dominik Paris, in second, 0.11 seconds back, and a tie for third between Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Swiss Mauro Caviezel, 0.33 second off of Reichelt’s pace.
Ever the tactician, the 36-year-old Reichelt credits his years of experience for his form in the twilight of his career. After starting the season late due to a back surgery in September, the veteran didn’t miss a beat once he returned and was quickly among the fastest racers on tour.
"I’m really happy about the end of the season with the victory", he said. "The beginning of the season was not easy for me; I had the surgery in September and my goal was to get in shape for the World Champs. The World Champs were not so good for me, but after World Champs in super-G, I really get in good shape".
It’s a good thing for Kjetil Jansrud that he secured the globe two weeks ago in Kvitfjell. His three wins at the beginning of the season and good performances allowed him to claim the 2016/17 super-g title. It’s the third career globe for Jansrud, and the sixth super-g globe in a row for Norway.
"It’s tough going first, but the reason why I did it was to send a message up to the start to Kilde to try and get him some info starting three and maybe let him grab a win at the end of the season", Jansrud said. "It’s been six years now, before that, Austria had a period where they maybe took six or seven in a row. I think it’s a mix of me being focused on speed disciplines, of course, but also doing a lot of technical training, doing a lot of giant slalom, and I hope it continues".

Race and Super-G Title for Tina Weirather in Aspen

Tina Weirather claimed both the race win and the globe today in Aspen, Colorado.
Tina Weirather and Ilka Stuhec were the only candidates for the super-g season title, with the Slovenian having a 15 points lead over the athlete from Liechtenstein. With bib number 5, Weirather laid down a very solid run, one that no one after her would be able to beat. Even Stuhec, who topped two super-gs this season and earned the downhill globe yesterday, crossed the finish line +0.35 off the pace, to claim second place and offer the discipline season title to Weirather. The daughter of Hanni Wenzel and Harti Weirather can now complete the family collection and bring home her first career globe. Her mother Hanni Wenzel claimed seven crystal globes in her career while Tina’s father Harti Weirather earned one. They became the first mother-daughter pair to both win crystal globes. Weirather is also the third skier from Liechtenstein to ever win a crystal globe.
"I was so nervous", said Weirather, holding back tears. "I knew there was a lot on the line. I don’t know what to say. It’s just incredible".
Ilka Stuhec, who had already won the alpine combined and downhill globes coming into the super-G, missed earning her third small globe by 0.35 seconds.
"It’s definitely amazing what’s been going on for a whole season", Stuhec said. "Today was another day to really enjoy the race, to show my best. It’s great conditions and super weather. Nothing to be upset about with second place today".
Rounding out the podium in third place was Federica Brignone. The Italian really found her flow in the second half of the season, earning five podium results in three disciplines between Jan. 24 and March 16. She was just one hundredth of a second behind the Slovenian.