The riders have all arrived in Chile, some coming weeks in advance to train for the elite competition that is just on the horizon. Those who arrived early found up to a meter of recently fallen snow, the product of two large winter storms to have recently impacted Valle Nevado. The first possible day of competition is Saturday, September 1, and with sunny skies forecasted for the next several days and a storm blowing in before the event wraps up, conditions look to be ideal.
Some updates have been made to the team rosters in the past weeks. Mark Abma (CAN), slated to be the Team Americas captain this year and hungry for payback after losing to Team Europe in the 2011, was unfortunately forced to withdraw from his captain's duties at the last minute due to a nagging knee injury. Abma, who will act as a judge, is handing the reins over to none other than Swatch Proteam's Cody Townsend from Squaw Valley (USA). With Townsend's extensive experience filming in Alaska and his years competing on the Freeride World Tour, Team Americas is in good hands. In addition to Townsend, Team Americas welcomes aboard three other new riders, Drew Tabke (USA), Riley Leboe (CAN), and KC Deane (USA). On the other side, Team Europe standout and event co-founder Kaj Zackrisson (SWE) passed his spot to Mathieu Imbert (FRA) who will add his valuable competitive experience and stylish backcountry skiing to Team Europe's arsenal.
The diverse roster of athletes makes the Swatch Skiers Cup a competition with a distinctively progressive twist. The event is a virtual laboratory, mixing riders from different backgrounds and expanding the boundaries of what is possible on skis. "One of the best parts of the Swatch Skiers Cup is bringing top-tier riders from different backgrounds into a single team. We get inspired from each other and surprise even ourselves with what we can do on the mountain", said Sverre Liliequist, this year's Team Europe captain.
Two action-packed days of competition will go down during the event's nine-day weather window -- Backcountry Slopestyle and Big Mountain. Backcountry Slopestyle is an ideal spectator event, with the athletes throwing down in the Valle Nevado ski domain on a spectacular course designed by terrain park shaper David Ny. On Big Mountain day, helicopters take the competitors deep in the mountains for a freeride showdown in the spectacular arena of the High Andes. Specific dates for each event will be announced in the coming days.
Final Riders List
|TEAM EUROPE - DEFENDER||TEAM AMERICAS - CHALLENGER|
|Sverre Liliequist SWE - Captain||
Cody Townsend USA - Captain
|Jacob Wester SWE||Chopo Diaz CHI|
|Markus Eder ITA||Chris Benchetler USA|
|Mathieu Imbert FRA||Dane Tudor USA|
|Paddy Graham UK||Drew Tabke USA|
|Richard Permin FRA||KC Deane USA|
|Sam Smoothy NZL||Oakley White-Allen USA|
|Tom Leitner GER||Riley Leboe CAN|