Monday, January 31, 2011

Making Fresh Tracks: Nissan opens up the slopes early to give skiers the VIP treatment

Nissan Europe is set to offer skiers and snowboarders at some of Europe’s best-known ski resorts an exclusive, money can’t buy experience this season – the chance to ski on fresh snow, without the crowds. The innovative offer – called "Fresh Tracks" – will open the slopes early for the first time at four of Europe’s most exciting ski resorts (Avoriaz, French Alps; Verbier, Switzerland; Livigno, Italian Alps; and Formigal, Spanish Pyrenees), to give a select group of people exclusive access to the slopes for up to a full hour before they open to the general public.
And for those who need to brush-up on their skiing skills, Nissan is offering, free, daily coaching clinics, run by their team of professional instructors. To book a Fresh Tracks experience or coaching session, all readers have to do is register at www.nissan-extremegrip.com.
Nissan is offering Fresh Tracks for free as part of its Winter Sports Program, which also sees it sponsor the Freeride World Tour, where the World’s best ski and snowboard freeriders will visit some of the world’s most renowned ski resorts to compete for the world title.
Vincent Wijnen, VP Marketing Nissan in Europe said: "We’ve created Nissan Fresh Tracks to allow people to get the feeling of skiing or snowboarding on fresh snow. It’s a unique experience that we’re sure skiers and snowboarders of all levels will find exciting. Just as the ALL MODE technology on the Nissan Juke, Murano, Qashqai and GT-R offers extreme grip on the road to allow the driver to feel more confident and safe, our Fresh Tracks sessions and coaching program is designed to make people feel safer and more confident on the slopes".

Matt Annetts Winning Line Video at the Nissan Freeride Engadin St. Moritz

In the Men’s Snowboard competition victory belonged to Matt Annetts (USA) who launched his run with a nice jump followed by a good three-meter drop that had taken out the skier just before him. He then hit the middle of the course with fast smooth style before finishing with another clean air at the bottom. "I really like this face. It's long and there are lots of things to do on the way down. For not having been snowing in the region for quite some time the snow was amazing. I had a fairly safe run. I wanted to stay on my feet. I knew there were a lot of flat landings. If you would go too fast on that face today you would hit the landings too hard", Matt Annetts.

Henrik Windstedt Winning Line Video at the Nissan Freeride Engadin St. Moritz

In the Men´s Ski competition at the Nissan Freeride Engadin St. Moritz Henrik Windstedt (SWE) threw down a jaw-dropping line that included several cleanly stomped airs that boosted him to the top of the podium.
Despite his victory Windstedt was not in the podium for the official photo. FWT Organization reported that following his run he went straight to hospital where he was diagnosed with three broken ribs. The fact that he won the event in this condition is further testament to the strength and focus of the Swedish skier.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Henrik Windstedt and Matt Annetts Took Victory in Engadin St. Moritz

Henrik Windstedt (SWE) and Matt Annetts (USA) took advantage of a feature-filled Corvatsch north face to post amazing runs that put them at the top of ski and snowboard categories.
Going into today’s event all eyes were on Frenchmen Aurélien Ducroz (FRA) following his win in the first event of the Freeride World Tour 2011. However, Henrik Windstedt (SWE) threw down a jaw-dropping line that was fast, smooth and included several cleanly stomped airs that boosted him to the top of the podium. Second place was wildcard Torgrim Vole (NOR) who took the lead early and held it until Windstedt, starting third from last, edged him out. Just after Windstedt crossed the finish line, perennial favourite Seb Michaud (FRA) dropped in and charged one of the most creative lines of the day including several nice airs and a cleanly stomped backflip at the end, which was enough to secure third place.
Local riders told Freeride World Tour athletes they had rarely seen the north face of the Corvatsch in such great condition for the contest. The steep (45˚-60˚), 550meter face included two starts and what head judge Martin Winkler (AUT) described as "myriad opportunities for winning lines including broad open faces, plenty of goat lines and loads of features of all sizes". Once on the face riders found a variety of conditions from knee-deep powder to thinly-covered landings and grippy snow that made it difficult to maintain control through the high speed finish.
Snowboard’ event showed that seemingly-invincible Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) can, in fact, be beaten as the three-time Freeride World Champion seemed to have an off day. Rather, the day belonged to Matt Annetts (USA) who launched his run with a nice jump followed by a good four-meter drop that had taken out the skier just before him. He then hit the middle of the course with fast smooth style before finishing with another clean air at the bottom. "I really like this face. Its long and there are lots of things to do on the way down. For not having been snowing in the region for quite some time the snow was amazing. I had a fairly safe run. I wanted to stay on my feet. I knew there were a lot of flat landings. If you would go too fast on that face today you would hit the landings too hard. I’ve had a few podiums on the tour but it feels good to finally be on the top!", said Matt Annetts. Filling the remaining podium spots were Mitch Toelderer (AUT) who took the lead early with a fast, fluid run that included several drops. His run was just enough to push him past third place finisher Flo Örley (AUT) who is returning to competition after taking a year off.
Today’s results at Engadin St. Moritz open up the overall race in both men’s ski and snowboard events with any number of riders still in contention for the title of Freeride World Champion.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

20 New Lifts For 2014 Olympics Include World Record Breaker

The scale of development ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, is becoming increasingly apparent with the world’s leading lift manufacturer, Doppelmayr revealing that they are in the process of completing 20 new lifts connected with the Games in time for 2014.
The biggest project is for a new world record sized sized ‘3S’ or ‘tri-cable ropeway’ – a kind of ultra-stable, high-capacity, high-speed lift the combines the benefits of cable cars and gondolas – famous examples including the Peak2Peak lift at Whistler Blackcomb. The large cabins hand beneath two track ropes like a cable car for maximum stability and are pulled by a haul rope, but rather than stopping and starting like a conventional cable car, there are multiple cabins moving around continuously like a gondola.
The new lift, Doppelmayr’s 100th installation for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) links the main Apline sports venue at Krasnaya Polyana to the Laura ski area where the Nordic competitions of the 2014 Olympics will be staged.
The lift will rise 1,000 vertical metres from 600 to 1600m above sea-level over its 5,383m length – a new world record for this lift type and for any type of continually moving cable lift. It will take only 11.25 minutes to make the 5km+ ascent in one of the 43 30-passenger cabins which will together be able to transport 3,000 people per hour. Work is due to commence this May with completion in 2013.
The value of the order by Gazprom has not been disclosed but the company remarked it decided on the lift because of, "Doppelmayr’s high professional competence and the spectacular references for 3S installations".
Set between the golden shores of the Black Sea and the soaring snow-capped Caucasus mountains, Sochi is a treasure among winter sport enthusiasts, who can discover here a paradise of alpine valleys and skiing trails. Beautiful weather and an abundance of powdery snow are enough reasons to travel to Sochi.
The Caucasus Mountains, which form a backdrop to Sochi, are one of the few large mountain areas in the world that have escaped significant human impact. Extensive tracts of undisturbed forests, from the lowlands to the sub-alpine zone, are unique in Europe. The mountain scenery of high peaks, wide valleys, mountain lakes and 60 remnant glaciers will be an unforgettable but undisturbed backdrop to the most celebrated winter sporting event in the world.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Grasgehren to host next FIS World Cup Ski Cross Event

The fifth Ski Cross Race on the FIS Freestyle World Cup calendar will take place next Saturday in Grasgehren/Obermaiselstein (Germany). The skicross run in Grasgehren, with a total length of 1200 meters, is the longest one in the World Cup. "The track is very long, very exhausting! As World Cup leader, I will surely have pressure on me for being the favorite. I am happy about this role, and I look forward to meet my thoughest competitiors here, my teammate Patrick Koller included", said Andy Matt (AUT), current leader of the overall World Cup.

Crans-Montana 2011 Alpine Junior World Ski Championships

The 30th FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships (JWSC) will take place in Crans-Montana from 29th January to 6th February 2011. Lying on a high plateau at 1500m, Crans-Montana is keen to take its long track-record on the ski circuit to even greater heights as it welcomes the more than 250 young racers and about 400 accompanying persons from some 45 nations. On 7th January 2011, it was one hundred years since the English skiing pioneer Sir Arnold Lunn organized the world's first timed downhill ski race, on the high Valais plateau from the Plaine Morte glacier to Mollens. Crans-Montana has so far hosted more than 20 FIS European Cup and 19 FIS World Cup competitions, two World Cup Finals (1992 & 1998), the European Cup Finals 2009, and the unforgettable 1987 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Crans-Montana has seen massive investments in recent years - in cable-cars, ski-lifts and pistes, with more planned for the future. Four million Swiss Francs were spent on updating the legendary 'Piste Nationale' where the final section of the Nationale was re-modeled, providing a spectacularly renewed slalom and giant slalom slope. The re-building of the 1987 ladies' World Championship Mont-Lachaux piste, begun summer 2010, means that the Junior World Ski Championship slalom and giant slalom competitions can be held on this piste, and the downhills and super-Gs on the Nationale.
The Alpine Junior Worlds 2011 in Crans-Montana will feature a single finish area for all eight races, and everything is close to hand: car parks and cable-car with an additional six-seater chairlift for quick access to the start points, the Regent Congress Hall for team captains' meetings and media center, hotels, an ice-rink for the opening ceremony, and, adjacent to the finish area, a large marquee with catering and relaxation facilities for the competitors and the delegates. The organizers' key focus: 'Providing a wonderful festival of ski and a celebration of youth'!
The opening ceremony takes place on Sunday evening, 30 January at 18:00 local time on the ice rink Ycoor in Montana. The organizing committee is presenting an attractive musical show program, which should be appealing to the youth. Of course there is also an official part including the arrival of the delegations and the welcome speech by FIS Council Member Eduardo Roldan Osés.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Freeride World Tour 2011 Moves to Snow-Covered Engadin St. Moritz

After an amazing kickoff to the 2011 season last weekend, the Freeride World Tour moves to the Corvatsch ski resort in Engadin St. Moritz for the Nissan Freeride Engadin St. Moritz by Swatch, the second of the six-event tour for the men.
The athletes of the Freeride World tour are heading to Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland for a brand new stage of the newly-expanded Freeride World Tour 2011. Engadin St. Moritz, in the southeast corner of Switzerland is famous as an exclusive playground for celebrities. However, it also offers outstanding freeriding that is easily accessed from the extensive lift network.
The event will be held on the north face of the Corvatsch where the riders will reach the venue by a rappel down from the gondola station followed by a short hike to one of three starts at the top of the face at 3127m above sea level. The 550-meter face features an inclination of 45˚-60˚, which makes some of the highest and steepest riding of the tour.
This event also marks the first time a telemark skier will compete in a Freeride World Tour event. Joonas Karhumaa, a Finnish native now living in Andermatt, Switzerland has scored one of the highly-coveted local wildcard spots.

Sestriere to Host the Ladies Alpine Ski World this Weekend

Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Sestriere with two events. The Downhill race will take place on Saturday 29th and the Super Combined on Sunday 30th. The speed races will bring the athletes down on the Kandahar Banchetta Giovanni Nasi Olympic slope from the top of the Motta mountain for almost 3 km with a maximum gradient of 55% and a vertical drop of 800 metres.
The ski resort is located in the Piemonte region at 2,035 metres on the Col of Sestriere at the foot of Mount Sises and is surrounded by Mount Banchetta and Mount Fraiteve. Sestriere is a popular skiing resort, together with the villages of Claviere, Sauze d'Oulx, Cesana Torinese, San Sicario, Pragelato and the French Montgenèvre, it makes up the Via Lattea skiing area. It offers more that 200 skiing connected courses, that is a linear extension equal to 400 Km, whose altitude ranges from 1350 metres in Cesana to 2800 metres on top of the Motta course. 60% of the skiing area is covered by the planned snowmaking system net.
Sestriere regularly hosts Alpine Ski World Cup events, and it hosted the World Championships in 1997; it was a main venue during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, hosting the men's alpine skiing competitions and being the site of one of the three Olympic Villages.
The history of Sestrire goes back to the 1930s when senator and FIAT's founder Giovanni Agnelli commissioned the building of two towers to use it as Hotels on the huge meadows of the village's hill. In this place were also set up the first two cableways directed to Banchetta and Sises mountains.

The Kandahar, Men's Alpine World Cup in Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Next weekend Chamonix valley celebrates a new edition of the Kandahar event on the mythical piste of La Verte in Les Houches. Created in 1928, it was the first international alpine competition to combine Downhill and Slalom events. This legendary race has become the main sporting event in Chamonix and is one of the reasons for the valley's celebrated skiing reputation. Today it is among the greatest downhill courses alongside Wengen and Kitzbuhel.
The Downhill event, which is on the World Cup circuit, will be held on Saturday January 29 and the Super Combined (Downhill and Slalom) on Sunday January 30, 2011.
The Verte is part of the historical heritage in the valley of Chamonix Mont-Blanc. A legendary piste at the heart of the Mont Blanc range, it is lined with pine trees. The surrounding green environment and orientation of the sun often make the piste an icy green color, hence its name. In reality it is a black run of 870meters in vertical height and 3343 meters in length.
Chamonix offers a multitude of slopes for all levels in three ski areas : Brévent/Flégère, offering south-facing slopes and exceptional views of the Mont-Blanc chain, the Grands Montets, high altitude north-facing slopes which dominate the village of Argentière and the Balme area, wide open slopes at the top of the Chamonix valley, bordering on Switzerland. The resort of les Houches lies at the opposite end of the valley.

Fresh Snow News - More Snow For Eastern Alps and North America

It’s almost déjà-vu with a similar snow report to a week ago. There’s been more heavy snow in Western North America, which continues to boast the best conditions in the northern hemisphere; and also fresh snow on the Eastern side of the Alps in Austria and Germany, but with little or nothing on the French side. Despite this, conditions on the piste on higher slopes are generally good thank to the accumulated base from last autumn and low temperatures. Off-piste skiing is severely limited. Elsewhere conditions are still reported to be good in Scotland at all five areas and Winter is having a comeback in Belgium. As temperatures go down, new snowfall is reported from the Hautes Fagnes, to be exactly around Belgium’s highest ground Signal de Botrange at 693m. Last night (Tuesday 25th)13cm of snow where reported with more expected in the coming week.
In Germany, where Garmisch will soon be hosting the biggest competition of winter 2010-11, the bi-annual Alpine Skiing World Championships, the nearby Zugspitze has the most snow in the country with 230cm and has had 102cm of new snow in the past week, no other German ski resort had more powder.
The snow is back in Austria and in the last seven days there’s been 95cm of new snow in Zauchensee and the Zugspitzplatt Ehrwald reported 75cm. The country’s resorts issued poweder alrms on Friday, Monday and yesterday (Tuesday 25th) when Saalbach reported 25cm of new snow. The country’s biggest snow depths are reported with 219-260cm in Sölden , Pitztal and Mölltal. St. Anton has 195cm of snow on upper slopes. The popular resort has 85 ski lifts and 280km of slopes open. More snowfall is predicted for the next few days, especially in Kitzbühel and Salzkammer and indeed there’s lots of snow in Austria again today (26 January) with 15 Powderalarms by 9am including Kitzbühel (25cm), Innsbruck (30cm), Tannheim (20cm) and Zell am See (20cm).
Unfortunately there’s been very little change in France where only the Pyrenees and the Vosges regions can boast of having received some snowfall during the last week (on Friday and Saturday in the Pyrenees and yesterday in the Vosges). Only two weeks before the start of the winter holidays, ski resorts are still faced with a rather low snowfall and all are waiting future snowy disturbances. Falls have been 10 to 15cm on average, but as much as 30 to 50cm at Formiguères and Peyragudes in the Pyrenees. Sadly little new snow is forecast for the next few weeks. The snowiest ski resorts are always those located above 1800m altitude in both the Northern Alps such as La Rosière: 210cm, Alpe d'Huez: 195cm, Flaine: 190cm and Chamonix: 180cm and in the Southern Alps Isola 2000: 194cm, Les Orres:180cm and Orcières 1850:180cm.
Italy still has some of the best snow cover in Europe with Passo Tonale claiming the continent’s deepest snow on its glacier with 4.5m (15 feet). There’s been fresh snow around the country in the past week with Abetone in the Apennines reporting 50cm and Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley claiming a small coup when the Chamonix leg of the Freeride World Tour had to be moved to their Italian side of Moint Blanc at the weekend to find the best powder. Accumulations in the Dolomites and Alps have been smaller than in the Apennines, typically 10-20cm.
Switzerland received fresh snow at the end of last week with 14 powder alarms on the day with resorts reporting 20cm or more of new snow in the previous 24 hours. Some resorts have reported snowfall between 40cm and 64cm during the last week including Meiringen and Engelberg. Engelberg has the most snow in the country with 320cm (nearly 11 feet) of snow cover, Andermatt follows with 220cm and Lenzerheide has 216cm.
The Pyrenees have seen an improvement in snow conditions in the past week with one resort on the French side of the southern European mountains claiming a metre of new snow in the past week. In Andorra falls at the weekend were in the 15-20cm range, greatly improving conditions and taking average slope depths to 70-100cm.
Snowfall has slowed in Scandinavia this week with the biggest accumulation down to 35cm (just over a foot). Narvik in the north reports 20cm. Here’s a list of all snow depths in Norway.
Snowfall in Canada has slowed a little in the past week but conditions remain superb in Alberta after the big falls in mid-January and British Columbian ski areas seeing the most of the new snow of the past week with Revelstoke, the area with North America’s biggest lift-served vertical getting the most with 44cm while Sun Peaks had 30cm fresh snow.
The US continues to enjoy an excellent season on both East and West coasts. Although Mammoth still leads the world for snow depth with more than 5.4m (17 feet) lying following the huge storms at the end of last year. In the past week Colorado has stolen the thunder though as consistent winter storms have brought incredible powder to skiers and snowboarders. Vail has received more than a metre of snow in the past week and reports more than 6.8 metres of snow has fallen at mid-mountain this season to date. So far this is the fourth best season-to-date snowfall in Vail’s history (records exist back to the 1963-1964 season) and snowfall this season to date is at more than 50 percent - or nearly 2.5 metres - above Vail’s 47 year average at the top of the mountain and more than double what it was at this time last year at mid-mountain.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Moves to Calgary

Next FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event will take place in Calgary. A great opportunity to watch some of the world’s top freestyle skiers take to the slopes for Aerial and Mogul skiing. The Canada Post Freestyle Grand Prix at Canada Olympic Park, presented by Ernst & Young, is the 2nd Canadian stop on the 2010-2011 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Tour and will be held January 27-29, 2011 at WinSport Canada’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta.
The best Freestyle Skiers in the world return to Winsport Canada's Canada Olympic Park this January after 20 years. This will be the first FIS Freestyle World Cup in aerials and moguls on the new year - and one of the final qualification events for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Friday and Saturday night will be especially dramatic as back to back mogul events will be held under the lights; and Sunday afternoon will feature the thrills of aerials.
WinSport Canada’s Canada Olympic Park was home to Freestyle Skiing during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games and is now a world-class training facility for Freestyle Skiing as well as Snowboarding, Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton situated within the city limits of Calgary, Alberta.
From the beginner to the high performance athlete, Canada Olympic Park offers the best winter training and family fun experience in Calgary. The Canada Olympic Park is a world leader in introducing people of all ages to winter sport with access to a variety of activities in one great location. Our Discover Skiing and Snowboarding programs can help anyone develop the skills they need to have a lifetime of fun on the slopes. With experienced pros and the only superpipe in Canada within city limits, COP is a great place for advanced skiers and snowboarders to sharpen their skills and enjoy winter sports without leaving the city.
The Province of Alberta is home to some of the best skiing in Canada. Skiing in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is an unforgettable experience with dramatic mountain vistas, dry powder and thousands of hectares of terrain for all levels of skiers. A vacation in Alberta during the winter is the perfect get away for the avid skier seeking challenging terrain, the couple looking for a luxurious get away or a family enjoying a fun filled vacation in the Banff or Jasper National Parks.

2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships

The 2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships will take place from 30th January to 7th February 2011, and will include aerials, moguls, dual moguls and ski cross competitions at Deer Valley Resort and ski halfpipe and slopestyle competitions at Park City Mountain Resort. The two resorts are located within 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) of each other.
The fast-paced action sport of Freestyle Ski slopestyle, which is being considered for inclusion in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games along with Ski halfpipe, was added to the program following the successful event at the Junior World Championships in Wanaka (NZE). The slopestyle title competitions will be carried out on Thursday, 3rd February 2011, with qualification runs taking place a day earlier on Park City Mountain Resort's King's Crown run, home of one of the resort's popular terrain parks.
The 2002 Winter Olympic and 2003 FIS Freestyle World Championship sites will once again be utilized for moguls, dual moguls and aerial events at Deer Valley, whilst the ski cross venue used during the 2008 FIS Freestyle World Cup will host the ski cross event. The halfpipe will be staged at Park City Mountain Resort, the venue for the 2002 Olympic Snowboarding halfpipe and the 2009 FIS Freestyle World Cup halfpipe events. Both venues have a wealth of knowledge and experience in producing world-class competitions.
"We have the technical knowledge, the experience, a highly trained and talented group of volunteers and staff, a world-class venue and most importantly, the passion to host one of the highest levels of ski competitions in the world", says Bob Wheaton, Resort president and general manager. "We are so honored to have been awarded the Freestyle World Ski Championships for a second time and since hosting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. From having hosted the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in 2003, we know that we are ready for the challenge. Every World Cup we've hosted since 2003 has provided more practice and experience in preparation for hosting this amazing event. We're looking forward to a great competition. We encourage all ski enthusiasts to come out and watch the best athletes in the world perform right here in Park City".
Park City, Utah's historic charming Main Street located in the heart of Park City, and conveniently located between both Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort will be the home to the opening ceremonies and celebrations for the World Championships on the evening of Wednesday, 2nd February 2011. Both venues also look to host live entertainment and family fun activities throughout the competition week, promising fun athletic competitions and celebrations for all to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Men´s Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Austria

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues today in Schladming, Austria, with the Slalom race. The nightrace has become one of the classics in alpine ski. More than 50,000 fans will go to Schladming’s Planai to see their stars.
Schladming is located in Styria, 60 minutes from Salzburg, between the magnificent southern walls of the Dachstein Massif and the peaks of the Schladminger Tauern.The Schladming-Dachstein Ski Paradise (Planai & Hochwurzen, Hauser Kaibling, Reiteralm, Fageralm, Stoderzinken und Ramsau am Dachstein) offers 223 kilometres of slopes and 109 ski-lifts including the Dachstein glacier. The Schladming-Dachstein Ski Paradise is a member of the Ski Amadé, Austria’s biggest ski alliance: one ski ticket for 5 ski regions with 860 km of slopes and 270 lifts.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Best of Nissan Freeride de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch

The Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch went off in Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc yesterday. The world’s best freeriders kicked off the official Freeride World Tour in the Mont Fortin. The peak 300-meter face was crowned by three different starting options and competitors described it as having loads of playful line choices, any of which could have produced the winning run. Freeriders were surprised by the quality of both the snow and the number of features. As a result, the north face of Mont Fortin produced high-quality runs that were fast and fluid with multiple airs.

Xavier de Le Rue Winning Line Video at the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc

In the Men’s Snowboard competition, Freeride World Tour Champion Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) threw down what many thought to be the best run of the day with a fast clean double drop to straight line at the end of his run. With this win, de Le Rue continues his dominance of the Freeride World Tour by extending his streak of consecutive FWT wins to four. "I wanted to start off cool and easy and my choice of line did not seem too hard. Finally it was much more dramatic than expected! I was quite careful at the top as the visibility of the line was poor and above a lot of sluff coming down. The first contest is always difficult, I havn't ridden a big line or dropped anything big recently. I had cotton legs before the start. And it was out of question that I would fall as I did last year in Chamonix".

Anne-Flore Marxer Winning Line Video at the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc

In the Snowboard Women Competition it was the wild cards who stepped to the plate when Freestyler Anne-Flore Marxer (FRA/SUI), competing in her rookie season of the tour, proved that women snowboarders can rip world class faces with aggressive grace. Second place was also taken by wild card Ursula Wohlschlager (AUT) which puts a new face on the women’s snowboarding division. "The last three days have been very stressful and I’ve been really tense. But when I got to the top of the course I I realized that is what I usually do! I regained my confidence and rode without hesitation. I’m especially glad that tomorrow is my birthday - I’ll have two reasons to celebrate tonight!".

Aurélien Ducroz Winning Line Video at the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc

It was Aurélien Ducroz’s (FRA) fast, smooth line and big, cleanly stomped airs in Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, that enabled the Chamonix local to return to glory and put him in the lead to regain his 2009 Freeride World Tour Champion title. "As I was one of the last riders on the start list, I chose to ski a different line that had not yet been ridden to get good snow. It all turned out perfectly. It was pretty tricky at some places where I could not see much of the line (as it was so steep) but I was confident after my thorough inspection yesterday. I started off badly last year in Chamonix so this year I really wanted to win at home grounds and minimum finish 5th. Today I could handle all the pressure better", said Aurelien Ducroz.


Angel Collinson Winning Line Video at the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Although Women all started from the same starting gate their lines were varied with many ladies focusing on fluidity. However, it was the impressive combination of fast, smooth lines combined with a couple of cleanly stuck airs that distanced Angel Collinson (USA) from the rest of the pack. "It was amazing! It’s the third time only that I visually inspect a face before riding it. A very different experience and difficult to know exactly where you are on the face. Everyone is such a good skier you really need to ski your best. It is very cool with the mix of snowboarders and skiers, great social dynamics!".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

French Riders Dominate First Stage of Freeride World Tour 2011

The Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch went off in Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc today.
The world’s best freeriders kicked off the official Freeride World Tour in Courmayeur during a day that boasted an astonishingly high level of action. Although it was difficult to know what the conditions were going to be until they dropped in, riders reported they were really happy to find a face this good despite poor conditions throughout the Alps. The Mont Fortin 300-meter face was crowned by three different starting options and competitors described it as having loads of playful line choices, any of which could have produced the winning run.
At the end the day the competition was dominated by the French who took all three podium spots in Men’s Snowboarding and the top two spots in Men’s Ski.
It was Aurélien Ducroz’s (FRA) fast, smooth line and big, cleanly stomped airs that enabled the Chamonix local to return to glory and put him in the lead to regain his 2009 Freeride World Champion title. Setting the tone of the day, Adrien Coirier (FRA) has returned to 100% after two years of back injuries and opened the day with fast, committed skiing. Coirier’s line also proved to be a successful line for 3rd place Reine Barkered (SWE). "As I was one of the last riders on the start list, I chose to ski a different line that had not yet been ridden to get good snow. It all turned out perfectly. It was pretty tricky at some places where I could not see much of the line (as it was so steep) but I was confident after my thorough inspection yesterday. I started off badly last year in Chamonix so this year I really wanted to win at home grounds and minimum finish 5th. Today I could handle all the pressure better", said Aurelien Ducroz.
In the Men’s Snowboard competition, Freeride World Champion Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) threw down what many thought to be the best run of the day with a fast clean double drop to straight line at the end of his run. With this win, de Le Rue continues his dominance of the Freeride World Tour by extending his streak of consecutive FWT wins to four. "I wanted to start off cool and easy and my choice of line did not seem too hard. Finally it was much more dramatic than expected! I was quite careful at the top as the visibility of the line was poor and above a lot of sluff coming down. The first contest is always difficult, I havn't ridden a big line or dropped anything big recently. I had cotton legs before the start. And it was out of question that I would fall as I did last year in Chamonix".
Although Women all started from the same starting gate their lines were varied with many ladies focusing on fluidity. However, it was the impressive combination of fast, smooth lines combined with a couple of cleanly stuck airs that distanced Angel Collinson (USA) from the rest of the pack. "It was amazing! It’s the third time only that I visually inspect a face before riding it. A very different experience and difficult to know exactly where you are on the face. Everyone is such a good skier you really need to ski your best. It is very cool with the mix of snowboarders and skiers, great social dynamics!".
Today, it was the wild cards who stepped to the plate when Freestyler Anne-Flore Marxer (FRA/SUI), competing in her rookie season of the tour, proved that women snowboarders can rip world class faces with aggressive grace. Second place was also taken by wild card Ursula Wohlschlager (AUT) which puts a new face on the women’s snowboarding division. "The last three days have been very stressful and I’ve been really tense. But when I got to the top of the course I I realized that is what I usually do! I regained my confidence and rode without hesitation. I’m especially glad that tomorrow is my birthday - I’ll have two reasons to celebrate tonight!".

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Last Medals at La Molina 2011 FIS World Snowboarding Championships

The eighth and final day of the 9th La Molina 2011 FIS World Snowboarding Championships, was a spectacular event, with four world champions in one day and incredible public attendance at La Molina.
Due to delays on Friday because of strong winds, the male and female finals for the Parallel Slalom (PSL) coincided with the finals of the Slopestyle Competition (SBS). Therefore, there were four titles which were given, one to the Austrian, Benjamin Karl (the star of the event with two gold medals) the Norwegian, Hilde-Katrine Engeli, in the PSL, the Belgian, Seppe Smits and the Finn, Enni Rukajarvi, in the SBS.
The SBS has undoubtedly been one of the major events, today and of the entire Championships. Thanks to a last minute inclusion (November) in the competitive program and the obvious public success (8,000 spectators), the FIS has a strong argument to make Slopestyle a triumph at the upcoming Olympics. Today, the two finals brought the freestyle spectacle everyone expected, on a circuit, where the rider had to face different challenges in the air, on rails and boxes.
Belgian Seppe Smits, bronze medalist in Barcelona’s Big Air, perfomance was incredible. Smits, having already 26.7 points in his hands, ventured into the second run pulling off a remarkable performance that included a perfectly executed Backside 1260 earning him an incredible score of 28.7. Swede Niklas Mattsson won silver and Bronze went to Finnish Ville Paumola. "There was no wind this time and the track was perfect. I risked a lot in my second run and everything was perfect. This gold medal means a lot to me, because in the Big Air I only won bronze", said the first SBS world champion Smits. "The Slopestyle track was perfectly prepared and i think we well deserve to be included into the Olympic agenda", he added.
The Ladies final was dominated by Enni Rukajärvi from Finland, who already in her first attempt, made quite a statement by scoring 26.6 points. Closest came Czech Sarka Pancochova (23.2) and Shelly Gotlieb (21.6) from New Zealand.
There were four gold medals handed out today, one of which crowned Austrian, Benjamin Karl as the superstar of this games, after he added his Slalom title to his Giant Slalom title. The main rival for Karl was the Swiss, Simon Schoch, world champion in 2007 and Olympic runner up in giant slalom in 2006. But Phillip’s brother couldn’t keep up with the quality of the Austrian. In the first heat Karl, for the first time, was left behind by 4 hundredths of seconds, but in the second run the great favorite pulled ahead by almost three seconds. Karl, who also leads the Overall World Cup, was again accompanied on the podium by Slovenian Rok Marguc, who won bronze today after silver in the giant slalom event a few days ago.“I don’t have words to express how I feel right now. This is my second gold medal in these championships and the third in my career. I’m leaving La Molina more than satisfied with my triumphs and really happy with how everything went here,’ declared a very content Karl. “It wasn’t as easy as it looked, because in the semi finals I only won by a bit against my teammate, Andreas (Prommegger) and Simon (Schoch) has beaten me in the first run of the finals".
Contrary to the male category, the women’s number one in the Giant Slalom, the Russian, Alena Zavarzina, didn’t make it into the slalom finals. This opened the door to the finals for the Olympic Champion, Dutch Nicolien Sauerbreij and Hilde-Katrine Engeli from Norway. Engeli, although having a rather weak season, dominated today’s races throughout the whole day, losing not a single run from the quarters on. Therefore only silver was left for Sauerbreij, who fought hard but finally couldn’t stand a chance. The bronze medal was decided between two Austrians, Claudia Riegler and Heidi Neururer. Riegler, who already won silver in the PGS on Wednesday, returned to the podium and showed everyone that at 37 years, she’s still one of the best on the circuit.

FIS' World Snow Day

This Saturday marks one year until the inaugural World Snow Day which will be staged on 22nd January 2012. As part of the international FIS Campaign "Bring Children to the Snow", the World Snow Day aims to encourage a large number of children, their families and friends to participate in an annual snow festival involving various activities taking place simultaneously on a single weekend throughout the world.
Following the motto of "Explore, Enjoy and Experience", it will offer the chance to discover something new, time to have fun in and on the snow and a way to generate great memories and the inspiration to continue with snow activities well into the future.
The concept for World Snow Day is being developed by FIS in consultation with other organizations involved in snow sports, such as the National Ski Associations, their ski clubs and event organizers, ski schools, ski industry, tourism organizations, mountain lift associations and many more, in order to tackle the general decline in youth participation in snow sports. The World Snow Day aims to support and encourage involvement from children and families alike with the goal of creating a new channel to reach the younger target groups and to bring newcomers to snow whilst offering something special to those who already participate.
FIS will provide a central online platform at http://www.world-snow-day.com/ with ideas and promotional opportunities to communicate the various stakeholder activities and to promote the sport towards the younger generation and families. For Organizers of World Snow Day activities, it offers the chance to be part of something international which embraces all players in snow sports. It is a chance to invest in the future and to help create momentum for snow sports.
"Bring Kids Back to the Snow" international marketing and activity campaign, the first of its kind in the Federation's history, was approved by the FIS Council in November 2007. The first milestone for the "Bring Kids Back to the Snow" campaign was a presentation to the 46th International Ski Congress hosted in Cape Town (RSA) in May 2008. The FIS Congress discussed FIS's plans for a multi-year international campaign entitled "Bring Children to Snow" designed to generate passion for snow activities among the younger generations. The marketing and activity campaign will be focused on enabling and enhancing the family experience in the snow and with snow activities, together with partners from various sectors including but not limited to the sports movement, ski industry, ski tourism, tourism associations, non-governmental and governmental organizations. "Bring Children to the Snow" campaign has been divided into two dimensions: an International Communication Campaign and a National Activity Campaign with different projects and programs depending on the country.
The main aim of the FIS campaign is creating a pool of lifetime skiers and snow lovers among small children. The campaign is about bringing newcomers to snow and keeping those with initial experience there. At the same time, it is not focused on generating competitors for any particular FIS discipline in the first instance.
"This project - Bring Kids Back to the Snow- is crucial for encouraging children and families to spend more time in the snow", said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper (18/12/2007). "Our partners in the ski industry have already pledged their support for making snow activities more appealing and accessible to families and kids and youngsters. Playing in the snow is one of the best ways to make children and the youth more active in winter time. It is also a great family experience and we must make sure more children and youngsters experience the joy of playing in the snow".

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Halfpipe Gold for ‘aussies’ Holly Crawford and Nathan Johnstone

The fourth title decision of the 9th FIS Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain, was dominated by riders from Australia.
On a sunny, cold and windy day, Nathan Johnstone, knowing he’d be already victorious with its initially scored 26.8 points, did not risk anything in his second run, but received hard hugging from his coach and fellow Australians. The series of jumps that earned him the gold was: fs 10 indy, cab 7 lien, fs 9 indy, back 9 lien and a huge fs air. Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov, after scoring 26.2 points in the first attempt, wanted more in the second. He entered the half-pipe at high risk and started with a series of risky tricks, but unbalanced the landing of his second jump and fell hard on his chin. One could see he was in pain as he almost couldn’t talk to reporters. The bronze, by quite a gab, went to Markus Malin from Finland, one of a few who did improve in the second heat, with 24.3 points.
"I'm really happy because the truth is I was not expecting to win this. There were many good opponents and I had to show my very best if I wanted to claim gold. I haven’t expected this historic result", said Johnstone, 20. "My absence at the Olympics in Vancouver, due to a ankle injury was very hurtful, so it’s awesome to take gold with me".
It was Johnstone’s first victory in La Molina, however for Holly Crawford, it was her second triumph, repeating her 2009 victory in the World Cup, which took place here in La Molina in another pipe. The ladies podium was rounded out by Swiss Ursina Haller as runner-up and 2009 World Champion Jiayu Liu from China.
"This is the greatest success of my career", said the 26 year old. "Why are the Australians so good in the Half Pipe? Because we’re together all year, working and improving our skills. As well, we train a lot during the year, in the summer in New Zealand and in the winter in Colorado".

Courmayeur to host First Freeride World Tour Event

The Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch confirms the event will happen at Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Despite difficult snow conditions, the mountains surrounding Chamonix-Mont-Blanc provide such an amazing amount of diverse terrain that FWT competitor representatives, judges and mountain guides have found, and agreed to move to, a new location that meets the high standards for which the FWT has become known.
Despite low-tide snow conditions throughout the Alps, the high elevation of the Mont Blanc range has enabled a good snowpack without the deterioration found at lower levels.
The event will be held at Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. The 300-meter north face tops out at 2800 meters and features multiple entries and loads of great features which the riders will use to express their full range of skills.
"A big part of the success of the Freeride World Tour is the criteria that each competition face must meet. Not every event will be a powder fest but we can say that we work very hard to make sure each venue is suitable for an elite competition and is safe for the riders", said Nicolas Hale-Woods, FWT Founder and Director.
It’s important to note the event will not happen on Saturday, 22 January. The start date and time will be confirmed at 12:00 on Friday.

Fresh Snow News - Eastern USA Gets Best Of The Week’s New Snow

It’s East Coast North America particularly New Hampshire that’s seem the most snowfall of the past week, with Jiminy Peak topping the table with 1.65m (5.5 feet). In Western North America Kicking horse in BC, Canada reports the most with 1.15m (just under four feet). Nearby Revelstoke has had a metre of new snow.
Norwegian resorts, particularly Voss, have seen the biggest snowfalls in Europe again this week, adding a metre of new snow. Snowfall in the Alps has continued to be rather limited with little or nothing new in France and Italy. The biggest falls of around 40cm (16 inches) in seven days from the Zugspitz in Germany and Davos and Engelberg in Switzerland. More snow is expected in the next 48 hours however and as we got to print it’s reported to be snowing in Austria this morning.
Conditions in Eastern Europe remain challenging. Reports from Bansko in Bulgaria indicate only limited terrain is open and that more snow is needed. World Cup races in Slovenia were cancelled at the weekend due to too warm temperatures resulting in deteriorating snow conditions.
In Scotland temperatures have risen a little and the snow and ice that had gripped the Highlands down to valley level for seven weeks finally lifted at the weekend. However there has been more fresh snow on the hills, where temperatures remain generally below freezing, and all five ski areas remain open.
Since last weekend there’s been little new snowfall in Austria and this week began quiet in terms of new snow. The last big snowfalls in the country were reported on Thursday when Ischgl and Serfaus issued powder alarms for 20cm+ new snow. Many other popular resorts also reported 10cm of fresh snow then including Obergurgl, Montafon and Hochkönig. St. Anton and Lech Zürs got their last fresh snow on Saturday both resorts accumulating 20cm in the past a week. Only Sölden and Weißsee have reported more - 30cm/a foot.
There’s been almost no snow in the past week in France. Only half a dozen resorts reported any new cover, with Chamonix the most at 10m, Les Arcs say 5cm. La Rosiere, Flaine and Alpe d’Huez have the deepest snow depths in the country at around two metres (seven feet).
Like France, there’s been very little new snow in Italy over the past week, Folgaria reports 10cm, Val Gardena 3cm (an inch). The Presana Glacier has the most snow in Europe still with 4.5m (15 feet), Arabba has 3.3m (11 feet) then a dozen or more resorts have around two metres lying including Cervinia, La Thuile and Bormio.
In Switzerland Laax hosted Europe’s biggest snowboard event last weekend and had reported big snowfalls just before. Due to a 22cm-snowfall within 24 hours a powder alarm was issued on Thursday. On Saturday the snow fell again in the popular Swiss resort, leaving the overall snow depth at 160cm. Davos, the highest town on the continent, had 37cm of new snow in a week. The last snow in the famous winter holiday destination had fallen on Saturday (10cm). Engelberg had 40cm of new snow in seven days and claims the biggest snow cover in Switzerland (270 cm).
Just like the rest of the Alps, Switzerland has not seen much new snow yet this week but some snowfall is predicted for the next few days.
Snow cover in the Pyrenees remains challenging in places with most resorts in Andorra reporting an, at best, 60 – 90cm base, so it is not yet a vintage season. However two of Spain’s largest resorts, Baqueira Beret and Formigal, issued statements in the past few days, in the latter’s case saying that although conditions were challenging and not all terrain was open (around 80km in Formigal’s case), the slopes that were open were extensive and maintained in a good condition. "With current temperatures, Formigal still offers a great range of skiing to its clients by having 83 Km open today", said the resort’s commercial director, Jose Luis del Valle. Sierra Nevada in the south of the country is still reporting a four metre (13.3 feet) base.
Norway has once again seen some of the heaviest snowfall in Europe on its slopes, with Voss again reporting more than double the amount of snow any resort in the Alps has had, and the biggest accumulation in Europe this past week, with another 87cm (three feet). Geilo in second place has had 55cm (nearly two feet). Voss’s snowbase of 2.3m is not only now one of Europe’s deepest but also has the freshest snow and best powder. Here’s a list of all snow depths in Norway.
Western Canada has seen the most snow of the past week with Lake louise, Banff, Revelstoke and kicking Horse among the Alberta and BC reports reporting some of the world’s best powder conditions this week. Mount Washington on Vancouver island has the world’s second deepest snow depth with 5.08cm (17 feet).
There has been snow across the US this past week with every state except Florida getting some. The result was travel chaos in places but great skiing at many areas too. New England did especially well and in New Hampshire Loon Mountain (picture attached), recorded 19 inches (48cm) of fluffy stuff over 48 hours, with near neighbour Waterville Valley picking up 17 inches (43cm). Cannon Mountain, nestling amidst the stunning scenery of Franconia Notch, was another major beneficiary with 24 inches (well over half a metre) of snow falling on its slopes in just two days.Across in the Mount Washington Valley, Cranmore Mountain, very popular among ski holidaymakers due to its proximity to the hotels and shops of North Conway, reports 14 inches (35cm) over the same period, whilst just a short drive further north 20 inches (50 cm) has bedecked Wildcat Mountain in its beautiful National Forest setting.

Shapes in White. Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl

During the 18th Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl, international artists made their snow sculptures, several meters high. The massive sculptures were placed throughout the entire skiing area, where skiers can admire them on and next to the slopes.
This year's theme was Vampires. The whole story revolves around the history of Edward Cullen, Count Dracula and their fascinating but biting fellows and runs from 10 to 14 January 2011. Professional sculptors from throughout the world sent their designs to the jury in Ischgl ahead of the competition. The ten best were invited to the elimination stage and to realise their creations. The selected ten artist pairs had just five days to hammer and carve super-tall vampire sculptures in the snow of Ischgl and convert the Tyrolean ski metropolis into a large open-air gallery. Due to guaranteed snowfall, the biting creatures are sure to continue in "life" until the beginning of May, giving you the opportunity to marvel at the princes of darkness throughout the Silvretta Arena ski slopes at a close – but safe – distance.
Vampire fans and snow enthusiasts had the chance to be there, live, and watch the artists at work. The awards ceremony for the sculptures took place last 14th January. The winner was the sculpture named "The turn of a friendly vamp" made by Ralf Rosa Ger and Peter Fechtig Ger from Germany.

FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Moves to Lake Placid

Next FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event will take place in the USA. The Nature Valley World Freestyle Cup, a part of the 2011 World Cup calendar will take place on January 21 - 23, 2011. You can watch some of the world’s top freestyle skiers take to the slopes for Aerial and Mogul skiing in Lake Placid and Wilmington.
Ski fans will have only one chance to see the world’s best Freestyle skiers compete in the United States when the FIS Nature Valley Freestyle World Cup begins tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 21, in Lake Placid, N.Y. The event, scheduled through Sunday, Jan. 23, is the only World Cup in the United States and will also serve as a qualifier for the U.S. ski team’s world championship squad. The three-day competition features more than 140 athletes from 19 countries.
The World Cup will move over to Whiteface, in Wilmington, N.Y., and the Wilderness trail for moguls, both Saturday and Sunday. Competition begins both days at 9:15 a.m., with live music to follow, at 3 p.m., in the Cloudspin Lounge.
Lake Placid is a village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County, New York, United States. The village has a population of 2,600 and is near the center of the Town of North Elba, 52 miles southwest of Plattsburgh. Lake Placid, along with nearby Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, comprise what is known as the Tri-Lakes region.
Lake Placid is best known as the two-time site of the Winter Olympics, in 1932 and 1980. In the United States, the village is especially remembered as the site of the 1980 USA-USSR hockey game the Miracle on Ice, when a group of American college students and amateurs upset the heavily favored Soviet national ice hockey team 4-3 and two days later won the gold medal. The victory is often ranked as the greatest in American sports history. It is also the site of the Olympic Oval, where Eric Heiden won his five Olympic gold medals. Lake Placid also hosted the 1932 Winter Olympics. Along with St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria, it is one of the three places to have twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games. Lake Placid was the first location in North America to host two Olympic games. Los Angeles became the other when it hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time in 1984.
Lake Placid is well known among winter sports enthusiasts for its skiing, both Alpine and Nordic. Whiteface Mountain, in nearby Wilmington about 21km from Lake Placid, offers skiing, hiking, gondola rides, and mountain biking, and is the only one of the High Peaks that can be reached via an auto road. The area has one of only four bobsled rides in the western hemisphere, and is one of the few places in the contiguous United States which offers dogsled and sleigh rides. Many people use Lake Placid as a base from which to climb the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains; those who complete these climbs may join the Adirondack 46ers.

Kreischberg to Host First Halfpipe World Cup Event

The very first World Cup in Halfpipe is taking place in Kreischberg (AUT) on Friday January 21st. On the way to the World Ski Championship in 2015, Kreischberg/Murau experience a premiere: when the Halfpipe previously was reserved for snowboarder, the fight in Kreischberg will be the first time freestyle skiers compete for World Cup points. 11 nations has signed up for the event, with a total of 32 men and 6 ladies, so far.
The building of the pipe is a huge task. 20.000 m³ of snow were produced in December, the shaping of the pipe took several days. Since last week the pipe is ready. Austrian and Norwegian team already had some training units in the Worldcup pipe and are found of the perfect conditions. The Halfpipe in Kreischberg has a length of 120 meters and a gradient of 17 %. The pipe is 5,40 meters high and the distance "lip to lip" is 18 meters.
Supported by the Province of Styria as well as the Styrian and Austrian Ski Association Kreischberg/Murau region will host the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships and FIS Snowboard World Championships in 2015. This would probably make Styria the only region in the world to have hosted all FIS World Championships at least once (Alpine world ski championships in Schladming, Nordic world ski championships in Ramsau, grass skiing in Gaal, snowboarding and telemark in Kreischberg/Murau.
Kreischberg/Murau has a long tradition of being a venue for major international events: the first Snowboard World Cup was held here in 1997. It was followed by 6 further Snowboard World Cups and the 2003 World Championships. With two Ski Cross World Cups already under its belt the Kreischberg organising committee also has experience in hosting freestyle skiing events.
Telemark was presented as an attractive discipline to a wide public in Austria with the staging of the 2008 World Cup and the 2009 World Championships. The Kreischberg organising committee has plenty of experience and grassroots support: up to 200 voluntary helpers from "Sportunion Kreischberg" and the "Kreisch Indios" offer their services at various major events for free. Their efforts are complemented by the full support of Kreischberg Lift Company, the local authority and the tourist board.
In Kreischberg/Murau ski area you can find 40 kilometres of ski runs connected by 13 cable cars and lifts.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Austria’s Benjamin Karl and Russia’s Alena Zavarzina, Triumph in the PGS at La Molina

The third gold medals were handed out at the 2011 FIS Snowboard World Championships with the greatest Paralel Giant Slalom (PGS) racers on the circuit today. The "Pedro Hill", located in the Snowpark Alabaus zone in La Molina, witnessed the triumph of Austrian, Benjamin Karl and Russia’s, Alena Zavarzina.
In the male competition, everyone tried to take home gold and inherit the throne from the now retired Canadian Champion, Jasey Jay Anderson. Surprisingly a few big names in PGS, like Swiss double Olympic champion Philipp Schoch, the Canadian Matthew Morison and current second placed in the Overall World-Cup Andreas Prommegger, didn’t make it through the qualification. This being the case, World-Cup leader Benjamin Karl was a likely favorite in the finals. The reigning Slalom World Champion (PSL), today, surpassed his PGS first title and beat the Slovenian, Rok Marguc. The Italian, Roland Fischnaller took the bronze medal.
"I’m really happy. I had a great time in all of the races, it’s really incredible to be a World Champion again", said Karl. "I hope to do it again in the PSL". This is the 6th title for Austria in the PGS, a discipline, which has been dominated for quite some time by the champions, Siegfried Grabner (2003), Mauela Riegler (2005), Heidi Neururer (2007) and Marion Kreiner (2009).
Also, the female side witnessed the world’s crème de la crème. Amongst them the favorites, Olympic champion, Dutch Nicolien Sauerbreij, the runner-up in Vancouver, Russian Ekaterina Ilyukhina, the current world champion, Marion Kreiner, 2007 champion Russia's, Ekaterina Tudegesheva and the rest of the strong Austrian side with Claudia Riegler and Doris Guenther.
Zavarzina, 21-years old and born in Novosibirsk, impressed in the quarter- and semi-finals by safely defeating Maegert-Kohli and later on taking advantage from an early crash by Doris Guenther, hence bringing her to the grand final. Her opponent in the finals became Claudia Riegler, the 37 year old routinier in her final season, did advance to the finals after closely beating Tudegesheva and making a thrilling comeback in the second run against Kober. The final was decided due to mistakes by Riegler which she made in both runs leaving her with no chance for gold. In the battle for third place, another Austrian, Doris Guenther, took bronze, by just four hundredths of a second against Amelie Kober.
"I could honestly not be any happier! I didn’t really expect to win, since so far I’ve only won one World-Cup race", commented Zavarzina. "I will definitely celebrate this gold medal, after I could only drink tea when I won in Telluride in 2009. I invite all of you to celebrate with me in the La Molina Space", she added with a smiling face.

Ladies' Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Ladies' Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Cortina d'Ampezzo with three events. Cortina Classic Races kick off Friday with super G (replacing the canceled race in St. Moritz and in Val d’Isere), followed by the Downhill Saturday and another SG on Sunday. The races will take place on the marvellous Olimpia delle Tofane slope. One of the most spectacular settings on the World Cup, surrounded by the jagged Dolomites and atop a gorgeous town where high-end clothing stores are intermixed with ancient stone churches, the Olympia della Tofane downhill course starts at an elevation of 2,320 meters and the Super G begins at 2,160. The finish area sits at 1,560 meters.
Cortina d’Ampezzo made its debut on the FIS World Cup with Men’s Downhill in 1969 and became a fixture on the Women’s Downhill tour for three years beginning in 1975. After a long hiatus, the venue has been an annual stop on the Women’s World Cup since 1993, hosting downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom, which is not on the line-up for the first time here this season.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most charming ski resorts in Italy. Located near the north-eastern border with Austria, and surronded by the imposing peaks of the Tofana, the Monte Cristallo and the Sorapis Dolomites, Cortina is known as the "Regina delle Dolomiti". The resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski Ski Paradise. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200 kilometres of maintained pistes served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket. Cortina offers, with the purchase of a Valley Skipass, the chance to ski in the skiing area Cortina d'Ampezzo, Auronzo-Misurina and San Vito di Cadore with a total of 140 kilometres of pistes served by 51 lifts and linked by buses. Snowmaking was increased to cover 95 per cent of the slopes.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the twelve resorts belonging to the european association "Best of the Alps", which get together the most exclusive and well known destinations in the Big Five Europe's Alpine countries.

Kitzbühel to host Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

The 71 International Hahnenkamm Race is one of the highlights of the ski racing season. On the weekend of 21 to 23 January 2011 Kitzbühel hosts four events of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup: Super G, the famous Downhill on the Streif one of the most demanding runs of the FIS downhill calender, Slalom and Combined. With a total prize money purse of 550,000 Euros and nearly 80,000 spectators expected during the weekend, the Hahnenkanmm races are by known as the most prestigious during the World Cup season. The Kitzbühel races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the “Five” downhill classic sites in the alps”, Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA).
Kitzbühel is one of Austria's best known and fanciest winter sport resorts. The city is situated along the river Kitzbühler Ache, and the car free historic centre is spectacular with cobbled streets and lovely medieval buildings.The Kitzbühel Ski Paradise located at 800 meters above sea level, is conveniently embedded in the Kitzbüheler Horn, Bichlalm and Hahnenkamm mountain ranges offering 55 modern lifts, managed by the Bergbahn AG Kitzbüheland, serving 170 kilometres of ski runs (91 kilometres snow-covered) for all levels and abilities and 33 kilometres of signed ski routes.
The Hahnenkamm-Race is one of the highlights of the annual ski-racing calendar. Over 40 TV stations cover the race and it is a priceless event that captivates even those who do not usually follow ski racing. Only the best win on the hardest Downhill in the world. The names of past winners read like a who’s who of ski racing, from Killy, Sailer, Schranz and Collombin, to Klammer, Read, Zurbriggen, Heinzer, Aamodt, Strobl, Maier, Eberharter, Walchhofer, Rahlves and Cuche.
From the breathtaking start at 1665 metres (5465 feet) above sea level, racers plunge down the
slope’s vertical drop of 860m (2822 ft) at speeds up to 150 km/h (93mph), covering the 3312
metres (10,866 feet) of the course in less than two minutes before dramatically crossing the finish line in the spectator-packed finish area. Yet the Hahnenkamm-Races are more than simple statistics, and behind these numbers lies the greatest ski spectacle in the world. The Downhill on Kitzbühel’s almost impossibly difficult slope, the Streif, leaves one continually searching for superlatives that could adequately portray it. The simplest way to describe this drop down the most fearsome slope on the World Cup tour is simply: "The Race". What Wimbledon is for Tennis and Monaco is for Formula 1, "Kitz" is for ski racing.

Alex Pullin and Lindsey Jacobellis claimed the gold medal in the Snowboardcross Finals

The first medals in the 2011 FIS Snowboard World Championships taking place from January 14th to 25th in La Molina were not handed out for nothing. One could see thrilling runs with hard man-to-man combat when all four competitors raced down the challenging track at high speed. With all favorites at the starting gates, 32 male and 16 female participants raced for medals. The men fought four KO-runs, the women had one battle less to stand. Finally Alex Pullin from Australia and American Lindsey Jacobellis made themselves champions.
Again a warm day with bird-blue sky brought exciting races to a unanimously praised SBX-track at the Alabaus Snowpark, 650 meters long with a vertical drop of 120 meters. Hard battles produced inevitable falls, some dramatic and painful. One of them saw the Austrian Markus Schairer, reigning world champion, dropping his 2009 men's crown at the last jump in the quarterfinals. Until then, the alleged SBX cream of the cream had arrived fairly safely at the finish line. Including double Olympic champion Seth Wescott (USA), the X Games champion Nate Holland (USA), Alex Pullin (AUS) and the current runner-up in the Overall World Cup, Frenchman Pierre Vaultier. But, the underdogs kept pushing hard, like young Italian Luca Matteotti, who performed amazingly well in his first World Championship appearance. Vaultier’s hopes fell into pieces when he couldn’t land a jump in the semifinals, a run he clearly dominant until then. Leaving all doors open for Wescott ahead of a struggling Pullin, making an amazing comeback after he messed up the start. The second semis brought an unleashed Matteotti and routinier Holland into the final. In the big final, the Australian did mark his territory from start to the finish line, when he blasted down the track leaving both US-boys without options for gold. Seth Wescott placed second pulling of a save performance that left him ahead of Nate Holland that couldn’t catch up after Matteotti crashed in front of him.
"I could honestly not be any happier. I’m stoked, since it is my first major title and i can share the podium with two of my idols. I had a fantastic time here in La Molina and i must state that the track they have mounted here is excellent", said the 23-year old Pullin."The most difficult race for me was the semifinal, because I got stuck in the door. Fortunately, I could catch up in time. This title is amazing for Australian snowboarding because we are a very small but excellent team".
In the ladies competitions, not much harm was done to the favorites in the first round except for French Deborah Anthonioz, one of today’s first quarter final victim’s that had to pack up alongside both underperforming Austrian riders. Finally, Olympic champion Maelle Ricker, her compatriot Dominique Maltais, this year’s World Cup dominator, French Nelly Moenne Loccoz, and Lindsey Jacobellis reached the final. Jacobellis, Olympic silver medalist in Turin 2006 and X-Games winner, although having a rather weak season this year, did like Alex Pullin, dominate her final run leaving her opponents behind. Favorite Maelle Ricker did position herself well after the first two jumps, but crashed after exiting a steep curve leaving all Canadian option for silver solemnly to Maltais. But the young French did well in keeping ahead of Maltais and consistently pressuring Jacobellis, leaving her with a well earned silver medal.
"I am very pleased with this title because my season has not being very good so far", said Jacobellis, 25. "I prepared for this games surfing on the coast of California for a couple of days. The SBX-circuit in La Molina is very quick and barely leaves you time to think. The track just comes right at you and any little mistake can be crucial. We must applaud those who made this race possible, because it seems impossible to do so at these temperatures. The scenery appeared almost artificial, like a picture painted in green with white dabs in it".

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Killers to Close Winter Season in Ischgl

The Killers, the American band that first made their name in the UK, will be the stars of the season-closing Top of the Mountain concert in the Austrian resort of Ischgl on Saturday 30 April. One of the best-selling bands of this century so far – their Day and Age album was in the Top 10 of best albums – The Killers have stacked up a huge list of awards since forming in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2001.
In the UK, their single Mr Brightside has been voted the second-best song of the decade and the album Hot Fuss spent a record 173 weeks in the UK Albums Chart. The band have sold more than 5million albums in the UK and 15million albums worldwide.
The Killers follows in the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. Fourteen years ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and Alicia Keys. This season's opening concert was performed by Beth Ditto and her Indie rock band Gossip at the end of November 2010 to an enthusiastic crowd of 20,000.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Freeride World Tour 2011 First Event at Chamonix Mont-Blanc

On 22 January 2011, the best freeriders in the world will know if their rigorous training and mental preparation leading up to the first event of the Freeride World Tour (FWT) season has paid off when they drop in and give it their all at the Nissan Freeride de Chamonix Mont-Blanc 2011 by Swatch.
Chamonix Mont-Blanc is the world's unofficial capital of Freeriding. Its unrivalled steeps, tree lines and powder prove irresistible year in year out to the world's freeride community. It comes as no surprise therefore that on 22 January, Chamonix Mont-Blanc will host the opening event of the FWT's fourth season, which this year gets bigger and better with a series of six events.
The world’s top 52 freeriders will be tackling the spectacular "Pentes de l’Hôtel" face at the Brévent ski area. The elite field includes 2010 Freeride World Champions Candide Thovex (FRA, men ski), Aline Bock (GER, women snowboard) and Xavier de Le Rue (FRA, men snowboard). Other big name riders include Henrik Windstedt (SWE, men ski), local and former world champion Aurelien Ducroz (FRA, men ski) and the indomitable JT Holmes (USA, men ski). French freeskiing phenomenon Candide Thovex comments: "For 2011 my objective is to defend my title. I’ll be under a lot of pressure but more than anything else I’ll be competing on the Freeride World Tour because it's something I really enjoy and that’s how I improve".
During the same weekend as the elite level FWT competition, the first of three Junior freeride competitions in 2011 will also take place - Freeride Juniors de Chamonix Mont-Blanc by Dakine. This new event provides young riders in two different age categories - 12-14 and 15-17 - with the unique opportunity to compete, meet and learn from pro-riders and grow their overall awareness of mountain safety.
There’s a whole lot more happening over the course of a Freeride World Tour weekend than just the competitions. Other features include a contest village, street fair, prize giving ceremonies, freeride film nights, rider autograph sessions, freeride with a pro and of course the official FWT party.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stunning Opening Ceremony and First Snowboard World Champion

The 2011 FIS Snowboard World Championships taking place from January 14th to 25th in La Molina, have had an extraordinary start at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona with a vibrant Opening Ceremony and the first of six battles for medals: the Big Air (BA). The Palau Sant Jordi, converted into a small outpost of the Pyrenees with its a 31 meter ramp inside, brought together fifty of the best snowboarders and more than 8,400 spectators enjoying two shows: the opening ceremony and the BA. The ceremony was attended by, amongst others, Gianfranco Casper and Jordi Hereu, Mayor of Barcelona, which opened the 9th edition of the FIS Snowboard World Championships.
This afternoon the Big Air, the only discipline held in these championships with an exclusively male participation, saw 45 riders hitting the big ramp in order to qualify for the final twelve ranks reaching the medal decision.
Once the official part ended, the competitors were released to show proper sports. After the ramp got prepared for the twelve finalists, all of them had to perform three jumps. The best jump out of the first two and the final third jump determined the podium. The finalists included the Austrian Clemens Schattschneider, Belgian Seppe Smits, Swiss Gian-Luca Cavigelli, the Dutch Rocco van Straten, Canadas Zachary Stone, Slovenian Marko Grilc, Frenchman Mathieu Crepel and no less than five Finns: Petja Piiroinen, Ville Paumola, Aleksi Partanen, Roope Tonteri and the defending champion Markku Koski.
After the first two heats, the provisional leadership was held by Frenchman Crepel, already a 'veteran' of the circuit at the age of 26, with a score of 28.4 points ahead of Cavigelli and Grilc. A bit behind Piiroinen, Smits, Partanen and Stone lurked for their chances before the final heat. Surprisingly the winner of today’s first qualifying heat Clemens Schattschneider and also Koski shredded all their chances by underperforming both their initial jumps.
The decisive third jump brought a thrilling change to the ranking as Crepel, coming out last, took a gamble by pulling of a Switch Double Cork Backside 1080º, but couldn’t land it well which left him with an insufficient score of 13.2 points for this run. So the way was paved for the 19 year old Finn Petja Piiroinen, who in the end got rewarded for his consistency by showing two good jumps worth 25.5 and 26.2 points, and solemnly exceeding the 50 points barrier. The Canadian Zach Stone took silver by stomping a massive third jump earning him a 27.7 which brought him ahead of the Belgian Seppe Smits, level in score. For Smits, bronze is the second medal after winning silver just two years ago.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Les Contamines to host a FIS World Cup Ski Cross Event

Next FIS Freestyle World Cup Ski Cross event will take place in Les Contamines (France) on Sunday. For the 9 th consecutive year, the resort of Les Contamines-Montjoie has been selected to host a FIS Worldcup Freestyle Ski Event in 2011. Rendezvous on the 16th January 2011 for an exciting Ski Cross Race on the Montjoie slope, entirely remodelled this summer.
Located at the heart of the Mont Blanc region, Les Contamines is an authentic village resort of Haute-Savoie. Nestled in a majestic setting, this charming village has become an active tourist attraction through the establishment of a vast and diverse area that offers skiing activities, while conserving its welcoming architecture. Les Contamines is immensely popular among mountain lovers and board-sport addicts. There are 120 kms of piste at Les Contamines with 24 lifts to service 46 groomed trails. Les Contamines has a snow record on a par with conditions in the higher altitude resorts due to a favourable weather corridor. There are also 2 terrain parks (Half-Pipe, Boarder Cross, Big Airs, Rails, Tables...) and good slopeside facilities.