Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Epic TV: Another Day in Paradise, Ep. 6

Having travelled all over the world making freeride movies, pro freeskiers and movie producers Matthias 'Hauni' Haunholder and Matthias Mayr decided to make a film at home in their personal paradise - Austria.They invited some of the world's best freeskiers and snowboarders to join them in making a series to document the life of a freerider - deep snow, bright sunshine, tight friendships, big mountains and even bigger goals. The message of the movie is simple - Paradise can be anywhere, you just need to recognise it.




What's paradise if there's no one to share it with? There might be 'no friends on a powder day' but in the Spring there's plenty of time for your mates to hike into the remaining dregs of snow together and do some spring skiing on dirt, in shorts. Bliss! The past five ski video episodes brought you almost everything we could dream of in 'Paradise' - Snow, Sun, Girls, Breathtaking Big Lines and some of the Steepest Lines ever seen. But what would all this be, if nobody else but you could enjoy it? It would be pretty depressing, and sad. That's why on Day 6, the most important part of 'Paradise' shows up. Your friends. The best powder day is nothing if you can't share it with your friends. And on the worst days, in shitty conditions, you can still have great fun as long as your friends are skiing and snowboarding with you. No Friends On A Powder Day

Epic TV: Another Day in Paradise, Ep. 5

Having travelled all over the world making freeride movies, pro freeskiers and movie producers Matthias 'Hauni' Haunholder and Matthias Mayr decided to make a film at home in their personal paradise - Austria.They invited some of the world's best freeskiers and snowboarders to join them in making a series to document the life of a freerider - deep snow, bright sunshine, tight friendships, big mountains and even bigger goals. The message of the movie is simple - Paradise can be anywhere, you just need to recognise it.



There's steep, then there's STEEP, then there's just skimming the snow with your skis as you fall past! Thought it couldn't get better than the last episode? Well, it could get steeper. Swiss Freeski Legend Phil Meier and snowboard Vice World Campion Flo Orley accompany Matthias 'Hauni' Haunholder on his mission to ski one of the steepest and at the same time, most beautiful, faces in Austria. 'Albonaska' is one steep face in Austria that could definitely win an Alaska look-alike competition. If you didn't know, it'd be hard to tell. These are definitely three of the most fascinating ski and snowboard lines ever ridden in the Alps.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Between the Lines, Season 2, Episode 1: FWT 14 Newcomers

The "Between The Lines" series is back!
Check that three newcomers portrait ready for this Freeride World Tour 2014: Estelle Balet (SUI), Sascha Hamm (GBR) and Michael Bimboes (FRA).



The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (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.
The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and  Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

Aksel Lund Svindal Takes Victory in Bormio

Aksel Lund Svindal celebrated his 25th World Cup victory  skiing a fantastic run and posting the fastest time. He crossed the finish line in 1:54.08, finishing 0.39 seconds ahead of last year’s winner, Austrian Hannes Reichelt and 0.51 seconds ahead of Erik Guay (CAN) who won the last Downhill in Val Gardena.
Svindal, who has never before won a World Cup downhill race in Italy but was third in Bormio last season was very satisfied with his run.
"Bormio is a tough race. Usually it is decided on the last section; when everyone is tired you have to try and push that bit extra. The top part this year was bumpy and soft so it was quite hard to be precise in those conditions and Bormio is a slope that is as tough as the conditions make it. It might not be as spectacular as some of the January Classics but it can sure be as tough", Svindal said after his victory.
Reichelt has very good memories of Bormio, having celebrated one of his biggest successes at the Italian venue.
"I am really fond of this slope", a very happy Reichelt said. "I earned my super-G title in 200 with a victory and shared a victory with Paris here last season. I really had some great moments on this slope and I hope they keep coming. It has been a great 2013 and I am looking forward to what 2014 will bring….But now it’s time to turn my mind to the January Classics, I like those races and am looking forward to them after a short break".
It has been two great weekends for Guay as he kept his momentum going after the Val Gardena victory.
"I skied very well today and I think that I took the necessary chances. Maybe I even tool a bit too many of them in the bottom section and made some small mistakes which cost me some time. I feel confident as I can see my form going up", Guay said. 
Before preparing for the January races, Guay has only one priority – getting home to his family.
"I can not wait to fly back home and spend some time with my wife and daughters. It was hard to watch the girls open their Christmas presents on Skype so I can not wait to be back home with them for a few days", he said. 
Svindal has somewhat different New Year’s plans. "I am going south to do some windsurfing and relax on the beach for four days over New Year’s. I want to have some fun before the World Cup continues in January. It’s healthy for me to walk barefoot on the beach and relax a bit after being in the cold all the time", he said.

Schild Sets a New Record in LIenz

Marlies Schild took the lead in the second run showcasing some outstanding skiing. She then watched her rivals fail to match her time. Schild finished in a combined time of 1:55.63, with Mikaela Schiffrin, who led after the first run, ending in second place, 0.41 seconds behind. Maria Höfl-Riesch settled for third, 0.63 seconds off the pace.
Schild equaled Vreni Schneider's record of 34 World Cup Slalom victories in the last slalom race in Courchevel. With her 35th victories today, she is now the lone holder of the record. Schild also is the second woman in World Cup history to win 35 or more races in one discipline after Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pröll, who won 36 World Cup downhill races.
"It is just amazing", she said. "I didn't really expect it after my first run that was far from perfect. Even after crossing the finish line in the second run, my feeling wasn't that good. I thought that was not going to be enough for the win. The upper part didn't work out the way I wanted but I pushed in the lower section and it paid off. Tying the record in Courchevel took some pressure off. But I was still very nervous today. It is always special to race at home. I can't say more that I am extremely happy right now".
Shiffrin landed her second podium this weekend in Lienz after placing third in Giant Slalom. "Two podiums in two days was really exciting for me", said the 18-year-old. "I'm having a lot of fun skiing slalom and giant slalom. Both days were good. Lienz is a great stop for me. I made my first podium here two years ago. The crowd is crazy here, the atmophpere is very special (...) I know my best skiing is enough for a podium. I am going to work harder now and try to win the next race. But having Marlies next to me on the podium is great".
After the disappointment in Courchevel where she straddled in the first run, Höfl-Riesch climbed onto a Slalom podium for the second time this season.
"I am very satisfied with the result today", she commented. "Overall, I am also happy about my season so far, even if there are a few ups and downs. If I can avoid making mistakes and get some more consistency, then it would be even better. I'm looking forward to the next races and hopefully will get good results before going to the Olympics, the big goal of the winter".

The Wonder Reels, S2: Episode 5 - The Enchanted Woods

Secret trails, old man's beard and hidden lairs are all part of the pint-sized discovery in Whistler Blackcomb's Family Certified Zones. Enchantment lives in these deep dark woods and a hidden tree fort waits to be explored.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anna Fenninger Wins World Cup Giant Slalom in Lienz

Anna Fenninger picked up her first World Cup win of the 2013-2014 season with two brilliant runs in a combined time of 2:17.00. She posted the second fastest time of both runs to finally overtake Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, who was in the lead for a mere 0.02 seconds after the first run. The Swede took second place, 0.50 seconds off the pace, while USA's Mikaela Shiffrin landed her second season podium in Giant Slalom.
Anna Fenninger has been in blistering form at this time of the year for the last two years. She won her first World Cup race here in Lienz in 2011 and won again in Semmering last year. Including today's victory, they all happened on the same day, December 28. Anna Fenninger becomes the first to win two giant slalom races in Lienz.
"I really love Lienz and the slope", said the 24-year-old. "I can't explain why I am successful on that specific day. It's just amazing to win again. I have good memories of my fist victory here and if helps a bit for sure".
In the last three seasons, Anna Fenninger has finished in the top eight in all 18 World Cup Giant Slalom races that she has completed, with four DNFs during that time.
"I was a bit disappointed with my last Giant Slalom results. We had a lot of speed events recently and I didn't get much time too train my giant slalom skills. I didn't know I could be able to win today but I was ready to give it all out. It is just great it turned out to be such a big day for me. Wining in front of a home crowd makes it very special for sure".
Jessica Lindell-Vikarby is having her best giant slalom season with one victory and three podiums out of five races.
"I am glad to be on the podium and to keep the giant slalom red bib", said the runner-up of the day. "In Val d'Isère I finished 6th and was a bit frustrated with myself because of the mistakes I made. Today was different, I am very happy".
Placed fourth after the first run, Mikaela Shiffrin put a strong second run together to climb onto the podium for the second time of the season after Beaver Creek.
"I am excited because I am getting closer to the first place in giant slalom, that is a good a feeling", said the 18-year-old. "The last time I raced here I finished last or even didn't qualify for the second run. One can say I've improved a bit", she concluded smiling.

FWT14 - Courmayeur Mont Blanc Teaser

Courmayeur is the second stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face. On the 18th of January, the best riders on the planet will battle it out on the Tête d'Arp - Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy for the second contest of the FWT 2014 season.

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Goes to Bormio

Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Bormio with the Downhill taking place on Sunday. The slope "Stelvio" is the perfect venue for the annual men's downhill race. By unanimous opinion, alongside Kitzbuhel, this is absolutely the most spectacular and technically difficult course. The "Stelvio", which is almost 3,230 metres long with a 986-metre difference in altitude and a maximum gradient of 60%, is a notoriously unforgiving track and is the only one where the finish area can clearly be seen from the starting gate.
This year, due to the heavy snowfalls which occurred on the top section of the Stelvio, a decision was made already on Thursday to lower the original starting position and focus on getting the slope in shape from La Rocca. This proved to be a great call and the training took place today as scheduled.
A big storm hit Bormio as preparations were ongoing for the race and while it snowed on top, the lower section was hit by rain, creating a very different surface in that section. The main worry was that if it remained warm, it might be slushy for the training run but a clear night helped and according to the racers it was nice to ski on.
Bormio hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1985 and 2005, as well as the World Cup Finals in 1995 and 2000.

Stelvio Downhill. Thecnical Overview

Epic Race Winners Announced

After 28 days and 26 resorts in four countries, 10 lifetime Epic Passes were awarded to the winners of the Vail Resorts’ Epic Race to Ski the World. The Epic Race is a season-long adventure to ski and ride all 26 resorts spread across 4 countries on the Epic Pass, while capturing and sharing specific elements of their journey. The reward: The top 10 participants to complete the adventure win skiing and snowboarding’s ultimate prize – an Epic Pass for life.
"The Epic Racers are the most passionate skiers and riders I have ever seen. They embraced the spirit of the race as an adventure of a lifetime, had fun along the way and formed new friendships. Congratulations to all of the finishers who will be receiving a free 2014-15 Epic Pass", said Vail Resorts Chief Marketing Officer Kirsten Lynch.
There are still hundreds of skiers and riders who will continue the quest to visit some of the world’s most iconic ski destinations on one incredible season pass. They also will receive 2014-15 Epic Passes when they complete their journey as well as weekly prizes from Helly Hansen and GoPro.

The top 10 standings:

  • Nick Annis of Loveland, Colorado, a student at the Colorado School of Mines.
  • Scott Annis of Loveland, Colorado, who wanted to create lifetime memories with his son Nick.
  • Cory Heintz of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, who couldn’t say “no” to the chance to ski France.
  • Brittany Heintz of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, who grew up skiing the hills in the Midwest.
  • Joe Jensen of Denver, Colorado, cancer survivor who legally ran for President of the United States and first learned to ski at Afton Alps in Minnesota.
  • Steve Sacco of Denver, Colorado, former meteorologist who found the race to be his perfect storm.
  • John Victor of Denver, Colorado, spent many holidays skiing Vail and was on Vail Ski Patrol for three seasons after graduating from college.
  • Michael Lahey of Longmont, Colorado, a fifth generation native who has been saving airline miles for years to ski in Europe.
  • Devin Rhinehart of Denver, Colorado, an engineer and member of "Team Fun" with Greg Hydle and Ashley Cooley.
  • Greg Hydle of Golden, Colorado, with his trademark red beard, he was often mistaken for German rapper MC Fitti while skiing at the European resorts.

When asked who had taught him how to ski in his inaugural season – prior to the race – Minnesota transplant Joe Jensen replied, "I taught myself. I’ll get a lesson after the Epic Race".
After the final day in Brides-Les-Bains was complete, Vail Resorts threw a true European après party to celebrate everyone’s effort. Racers had even more cause to celebrate at the legendary on-mountain après party venue, La Folie Douce, than skiing the world. Hawaiian racer Kela Pinto proposed to his girlfriend of eight years, Krista, and she said yes. After an epic adventure and having made so many friends throughout the race, Kela could think of no better way to pop the question and share the moment in front of his fellow racers. "This has been an unbelievable experience", Pinto said.
To see the complete leaderboard, get updates from Epic Host and former U.S. Olympian Kaylin Richardson, or to see all the contestant photos and videos, visit http://epicrace.epicpass.com. To watch the latest Epic Race episode, visit EpicLifeMag.com. For high resolution images of the race and the après party, visit our Dropbox and click into the Epic Race folder.
To compete in the Epic Race, each racer had to ski or ride all 26 resorts on the Epic Pass (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps, Minnesota; Mt. Brighton, Michigan; Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria – St. Anton, Lech, Zürs, St. Christoph and Stuben; and Les 3 Vallées, France – Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle). Epic Racers were required to document and share their experiences at each resort to be eligible to win.
The Epic Pass is the world’s most popular pass, sold in all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries around the globe. It features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Epic Pass holders also have five free days at the renowned mountain resorts of Verbier, Switzerland, five consecutive free days at Arlberg, Austria and five free days at Les 3 Vallées, France.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sochi 2014 Presents the Official Spectator Guide for the Olympic Games

The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee has released its Official Spectator Guide for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. The Guide provides important information for sports fans, enabling them to easily plan their once in a lifetime trip to the Games in Sochi.
Clicking on the link «Spectators» in the «Games» section of the official website for the 2014 Games www.sochi2014.com/games/spectator/ or downloading the official mobile app, will give fans access to the competition schedule of events, practical advice and interesting facts about Sochi, plunging them into the unique atmosphere of the greatest sports event on the planet.
The Spectator Guide comprises six sections providing information on the Olympic Games, athletes, and information on how to buy tickets and obtain the spectator pass, as well as the transport system in Sochi during the Games, accommodation, and leisure. The Spectator Guide will be regularly updated between now and the Games, so please visit sochi2014.com to make sure you have the most up-to-date version.
The Sochi 2014 Games
This section offers interesting facts about the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, in addition to a Schedule of all Olympic events and details on how to travel to the Games. To visit the Games in Sochi, spectators living in the Russian Federation must buy a ticket, get a Spectator Pass, and, if necessary, book accommodation and arrange transport to Sochi.
On the way to the Games
From December 1 2013, a simplified system for issuing visas to foreign tourists arriving for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi has been introduced. Visa requests will be accepted through the "Olympic windows" in Russian consular headquarters around the world. A Russian visa may also be applied for without having to wait in the main line and without having to provide verification of hotel arrangements. Visa applications will be reviewed as quickly as possible.
When applying for visas, foreign spectators should confirm that they plan on attending sporting events and/or the Games ceremonies. To do this, they must present a ticket for a sporting event or electronic confirmation (email) of a ticket purchase issued by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee or an Authorized Ticket Reseller, or a Spectator Pass.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Russian consular offices will issue visas to tourists attending the Games without prior accommodation arrangements.
Foreign spectators who come to the Games for less than 7 days do not need to apply to the registration authorities (local migration legislation, detailed information is available at the Sochi 2014 web site in section for spectators). If the spectator is planning to stay for more than 7 days, registration at local migration authorities is necessary. For those staying at a hotel (B&B, cruise ship, resort, holiday home, hostel, etc.), there is no need to contact the Federal Migration Service authorities at all: all details relating to registration (taking into account migration) will be dealt with by staff at their accommodation.
Competition Tickets
People living in the Russian Federation can buy tickets for the Olympic Games in Sochi at the official website tickets.sochi2014.com, as well as at official ticket offices in Moscow and Sochi. Fans from other countries can buy tickets from Authorized Ticket Resellers or through the National Olympic Committee in their country. A full list of Authorized Ticket Resellers is available attickets.sochi2014.com.
To visit the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2014, all ticket holders must obtain a Spectator Pass from pass.sochi2014.com .
Transportation
There are several ways of getting to Sochi: by plane, train, car or boat. It is not recommended to drive to the Olympic host city.
During the Games, special transport for spectators will run between the sports venues and main districts of Sochi. Transport for spectators will include a network of railway and bus routes, as well as cable cars. Transport will be free for spectators who have a valid ticket for a competition on that day.
The transport system will have nine transport hubs where you can transfer from one type of transport to another. The hubs are located at major residential points and at venues in the Mountain and Coastal clusters: Sochi, Matsesta, Khosta, Kudepsta (bus station) as well as Adler, the Airport, Olympic Park, Esto-Sadok, Krasnaya Polyana, and Rosa Khutor.
Venues
This section provides important tips for spectators going to the sports venues. It describes the security check procedure when entering the venues and the list of items that may not be brought into the venues. Here, you can also find detailed maps with the location of the Coastal and Mountain cluster Olympic venues, as well as a map of the Olympic Park. You can find out the approximate journey time to the Olympic stadiums and which services are available at the venues.
Atmosphere
This is one of the most interesting sections. It describes where and how the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, medal, award and flower ceremonies will be held. In this section you can also learn about the activities of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad, and the Live Sites - unique places of celebration with huge screens and stages where thousands of people will be able to watch the Games together and celebrate the wins of their favorite athletes in Sochi.
Around the Games
This final section contains brief information on Sochi 2014 Ambassadors, on the Olympic Torch Relay and Sochi 2014 volunteers. It also says where you can obtain official Sochi 2014 licensed merchandise.
The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place between February 7, 2014 and February 23, 2014 encapsulating 17 days of competitions. 98 events will be held in seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh).
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC
 Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007.

Carpe Diem: Ep. 1 Canada.

The 1st episode of "Carpe Diem" a new video project featuring FWT rider Aurelien Routens.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay Returns to Europe from Asia

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay made the symbolic crossing from Asia back into Europe last week, as it traversed the river Ural on a tram decorated with the Sochi 2014 colours during the 11th week of the 123-day relay.
The Olympic flame then also completed a tour of Russia’s largest steelworks, in Magnitogorsk. Against a dramatic backdrop of giant cast-iron boilers and kilometres of pipelines, the Torch was carried through the plant, which produces 13m tonnes of steel each year.
During this, its third day in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, the Torch was borne by Olympic rowing champion Igor Kravtsov and hockey players Sergei Golomyako and Evgeniy Koreshkov. During a tour of the city’s Central stadium, biathletes Ivan Kalyanov and Pavel Borisov skied with Olympic flame in their hands.
Later, Oksana Borzilo rode a snow-white horse along the street then handed the Torch to motocross champion Viktor Korzhov, who transported it on a quadricycle.
The day ended with Viktor Rashnikov, president of Metallurg hockey club, lighting the Olympic Cauldron following festivities at the Arena Metallurg Ice Palace.
The Torch had arrived in Magnitogorsk from the region’s capital, Chelyabinsk, where six-time Olympic skating champion Lidia Skoblikova and governor of the Chelyabinsk region Mikhail Yurevich lit the Olympic Cauldron in the ‘Tractor’ ice arena.
During its two-day stay in the city, the Torch was carried on skis, skates, by motorcycle – and even on a camel, a creature that is depicted on the Chelyabinsk coat of arms.
Riding the camel – called Barsik – was motocross athlete Eugene Zemskov, while the flame was transported on skis in the hands of Olympic biathlon gold medallists Svetlana Ishmuratova and Alexander Tikhonov. Motocross champions Alexander Platonov and Vitaly Tonkov completed their leg of the Torch Relay by motorcycle.
Taking to the ice with the Torch on its final day in Chelyabinsk was Innsbruck 64 bronze medallist Tatiana Sidorova. She skated with the flame in the ‘Ural Lightning’ Ice Palace skating venue, with the event culminating in an ice disco.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is now set to visit Ufa, capital of Bashkortostan, as it continues its journey across Russia on its way to the Opening Ceremony of Sochi 2014 on 7 February 2014.
The route has been designed to ensure that around 90 per cent of Russia's population will be within an hour of the Relay at some stage, allowing approximately 130 million residents to participate in the event.

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place between February 7, 2014 and February 23, 2014 encapsulating 17 days of competitions. 98 events will be held in seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh).
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tina Weirather Wins World Cup GS in Val d'Isere

Tina Weirather spent the perfect weekend in Val d’Isère, clinching her first Giant Slalom World Cup victory while seizing the reins in the race for the overall big globe. In a combined time of two minutes and 24.10 seconds, the Liechtenstein’s skier bagged her second win of the season after last week’s super-G in St Moritz and will spend Christmas with the overall red bib on her back.
"It’s a great Christmas gift. To me the World Cup lead is not that important. It’s only December. But to win a giant slalom means a lot. GS has always been the discipline in which I wanted to do well", she said.
The 24-year-old all-rounder, who is on 595 points, will take a 27 points lead to Lienz for a weekend of technical events on December 28.
On the OK piste, seldom used as a GS course, she upstaged her closest rival in the race for the big globe, team-mate Lara Gut, who finished 0.73 seconds adrift. Winner of the Sölden opener, the Swiss restored some confidence after failing to complete her last two giant slaloms in Beaver Creek and St Moritz.
"It’s nice to be back on the podium but I was not too worried after going out in those two races. I knew I was skiing well", she said.
Third place went to Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner, who saw her most consistent giant slalom season to date rewarded by a first World Cup podium in the discipline. A GS world silver-medallist at home in Are in 2007, she trailed Weirather by 0.95 seconds.
"We worked on my GS skills with the coaches this summer, to push more on the skis and let them go and it obviously paid off", she said.

Hirscher Takes Victory in Alta Badia

The Gran Risa is considered one of the toughest Giant Slalom courses in the world. This comes as no surprise once you look at it’s technical data – 448 meters vertical drop, 1255 meters length and 53% of maximum inclination make it clear that in order to win in Alta Badia one needs to have both skills and stamina.
In today’s racer one racer showed he had plenty of both, Marcel Hirscher skied a fantastic race and proved mainly to himself that he could win even when Ted Ligety has a very good race. He made it look easy, coming down last, as he clocked the fastest combined time of the day. The two skiers which managed to finish the closest to Hirscher were the same ones from the first run – Alexis Pinturault claimed his second podium of the season (he was second in the Season Opener in Soelden) while Ted Ligety finished third, making it his 33rd Giant Slalom podium. He is now tied to Benjamin Raich, in third place on the all-time list. Only Stenmark and Von Grünigen, have achieved more, 72 and 46 respectively.
After winning the last World Cup Giant Slalom race in Val d'Isère, when Ligety skied out in the first run, Hirscher walks home with the best present he could have asked for.
"It’s was an awesome, race", a thrilled Hirscher said right after today’s victory. "If only you knew how bad my skiing and my feeling were yesterday.  I doubt anyone would ever believe I could win today. Somehow I still showed some really good skiing in the end and I couldn’t be happier".
This victory also comes as an important boost of confidence for Hirscher: "It was really, really important for me to win when Ted is competitive. I have done everything I possibly could to get closer to Ted and its tough to get faster ad faster but it was worth it", he explained.
Alexis Pinturault was very pleased with his performance today; adding a podium at one of the Classics is a great achievement at his age.
"I am very happy and very proud about this podium, it’s a great feeling knowing I can compete with the best. I didn’t do any special preparation for today but after Val d’Isere I did some tests with the material. I was not very happy with my setup in Beaver Creek and Val d’Isere and I finished just off the podium, we changed a few things and today it worked so I hope to continue on this path", Pinturault said.
"Normally the Gran Risa is so icy and this year the snow was so easy that it was hard to push. That’s what I trained for", Ligety said. "Still, I think I could have pushed a bit more especially in the first run but its ok, it’s how it goes. You need to be able to be both quick on your feet and make quick judgment calls and my judgment call was a little bit off today. Any podium is a great podium, even though today was by some two seconds off from what I normally do but it’s still something to be happy about", he explained.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2014. Event Trips

Discover the true freeride spirit and live the competition in the most exceptional manner with one of the event trips!

Discover the 2014 Event Trips at a glance:





The 2013-14 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face will take place at the same six stops as the previous season. Each stop has a five to eight day weather window designed to provide optimal competition conditions.

Competition Calendar:

1. Swatch Freeride World Tour Revelstoke by The North Face®
Location: Revelstoke, CAN
Dates: Dec. 18, 2013
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

2. Swatch Freeride World Tour Courmayeur by The North Face®
Location: Courmayeur, ITA
Dates: Jan. 18, 2014
Disciplines: Men's Ski and Snowboard

3. Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc by The North Face®
Location: Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA
Dates: Jan. 25, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

4. Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal by The North Face®
Location: Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT
Dates: Feb. 1, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

5. Swatch Freeride World Tour Kirkwood by The North Face®
Location: Kirkwood, USA
Dates: March 1, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

6. Swatch Xtreme Verbier by The North Face®
Location: Verbier, SUI
Dates: March 22, 2014
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden Wins Val d'Isere Downhill

Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden came of age in Val d'Isere to earn her maiden World Cup victory and surprise the favourites on the piste on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Swiss, who had considered giving up skiing a couple years ago, already showed promising signs after finishing second in Lake Louise two weeks ago, but she was the only one this time to fully master the tricky middle section of the slope to win in 1:47.28. It was only the fourth World Cup podium for the all-rounder from Grabs, who was downhill junior world champion in Quebec in 2006.
"I really don't know why it started going well in Lake Louise. Here I expected more because it's like a second home for the Swiss, but I certainly did not expect to win".
Of all the big names at the start, World Cup champion Tina Maze was the only one to fully deliver, finishing second 0.29 seconds adrift on a sunny day at La Daille. It was the Slovenian's best result this season after two third places in Levi and St Moritz and a sign that the big globe holder is improving steadily.
Third place on a surprise podium was up-and-coming Austrian Cornelia Huetter, who made the best of starting with the number one bib on her back. At 21, the promising skier from Kumberg earned her very first podium placing, two weeks after her first top ten spot in Lake Louise.
The race was stopped a number of times due to skiers falling, the most seriously injured being France's Marie Marchand-Arvier, who was carried away on a stretcher with a bruised shoulder.
The show goes on in Val d'Isere with a Giant Slalom race tomorrow.

Guay Takes Victory in Val Gardena

The Val Gardena Downhill has been marked in the past year by extreme un-cooperating weather, but this year the Saslong’s luck finally changed, just in time to celebrate the 50th men's World Cup Downhill race.
This morning teams woke up greeted by a clear and sunny sky, providing the perfect conditions for one of the most exciting downhills on the Tour.
Since the World Cup began in 1967, only Kitzbühel has hosted more men's World Cup Downhill races than Val Gardena (54). Therefore, the Saslong is considered one of the Downhill classics and is known as one of the courses with the most terrain and most airtime. Its most famous characteristic are the seven big rolls which, due to the limited amount of snow this year made for more air time than in the past.
Erik Guay counts only one Downhill victory until today, when with a flawless run he conquered the Saslong.
Four times is how often Erik Guay was on the podium in Val Gardena/Gröden, but never had he won. Which explains his excitement with today’s victory. His time of 1 minute, 56.65 proved too fast to beat for the rest of the field and he walked away with his fifth podium at the Italian venue, and first victory.
"It’s incredible for me to win today", a very happy Guay said. "After all I have gone through this summer, and knowing that I have had knee surgery only this August makes today amazing. I had no training until November but Val Gardena has been good to me, I was third here last year and I knew I could do well again. With Jan’s podium yesterday and my victory  today this has been an awesome and fun weekend".
With a fourth and sixth place in the training runs, Kjetil Jansrud showed he could be one to watch in today’s race, and today he sure was. He skied a fantastic run and led the race for 11 numbers, until Guay beat him by a mere 0.12 seconds. Jansrud started as a GS specialist but quickly developed into an all round skier, winning the super-G in Kvitfjell last year and earning two Downhill podiums in 2012 (Kvitfjell and Beaver Creek).
"I am very happy with my skiing, especially how I did on top. I probably shouldn’t have been so defensive in the bottom part, I really lost too much time to Erik but I am very happy with my second place. After a year of injuries there is nothing to complain, I now have two downhill podiums and that feels great", Jansrud said after his run.
Johan Clarey was very hesitant to join Guay and Jansrud at the leaderboard as Val Gardena is one of those venues where it is not unusual for higher numbers to come down and mess the leaders’ celebration plans. But this year Clarey had no reason to fear as his time proved too fast for the back of the pack and he remained third, 0.24 seconds behind Guay. It’s the second career podium for Clarey who celebrated his only other one at this venue in 2009.
"I was worried this podium might not happen for me today", a smiling Clarey said after realizing he would remain on the podium. "In the past I so often got bumped off the podium and I was worried until almost the very end. I am relieved for once things went my way!".
The speed session is over and it’s time to move over to the next valley, as there is no time to waste, on Sunday the traditional Gran Risa giant slalom, the last race before a short Christmas break will be taking place in Alta Badia.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Svindal Grabs the Super-G Triple in Val Gardena/Gröden

The Super-G dominator of the last decade has once again confirmed his exceptional talent in this specialty by winning his third Super-G gold. The other victories were captured in 2009 and 2012.
With a time of 1:35.82, Svindal’s time proved too fast for the rest of the field, with only two skiers finishing within the second of it. Canadian Jan Hudec was the most successful among them, clocking a time only 0.58 seconds slower than Svindal. In third place, a very happy Adrien Theaux finished 0.91 seconds behind.
Apart from celebrating his record number of victories in Val Gardena, Svindal had an additional reason for happiness – he earned Norway it’s 100th men’s World Cup victory, making it the seventh country to reach triple digits.
"I’m vey happy but it was a tough race. There was a lot of action on the course today due to all the terrain. You had to do a good inspection and make a good plan to be fast today", Svindal said. "The snow is always great here and I like the preparation.  It’s always perfect and you can tell by all the guys with high numbers making their way to the top of the rankings. Val Gardena has always been good to me, in 2002 I was 6th here in the first World Cup SG I ever started, it was my first top 10 and it marked my big breakthrough".
It has been two seasons full of ups and downs for Jan Hudec, who celebrated his last victory in the Chamonix Downhill in 2012 and has been struggling to find a strong finish in super-G ever since his second place in Crans Montana the same year.
"I’m stoked I was able to ski the way I wanted to ski. I finally have no pain and that gives me great confidence to push hard and ski to my full potential. I was super focused today and I avoided any mistakes, which I made in Lake Louise and Beaver creek. Also my skis were perfect today, I knew that without major mistakes I could be on the podium".
Theaux started the season with a great third place in the Lake Louise downhill race, but was not able to keep his momentum going and kept finishing outside of the top 15 until today.
"I hope this means I am back on track, on the way to where I want to be. It was difficult to ski even though the course set was easy. You had to make your turns in the right places. I was not happy with the downhill training but it’s an opportunity to learn and I am happy today I used some of those lessons".

Val Gardena - The Last Speed World Cup Race Before Christmas





In this episode of behind the scenes the FIS Alpine Team talk to the race team members to see how they support each other at World Cup events. Alpine racers really have to rely on their team mates to give them feed back about how the course is skiing if they wish to podium.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!





Saas-Fee was the location where the video for Wham!'s hit single "Last Christmas" was filmed in 1984. "Last Christmas" was written and produced by George Michael, and has been covered by many artists since its original release. The video to "Last Christmas" shows George and partner Andrew Ridgeley accompanying girlfriends to see friends in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Salomon Freeski TV: The Architect

Salomon Freeski TV 7th season. After nearly 100 episodes, Salomon Freeski TV is back for it's seventh season! Starting October 8th, 2013, twelve new films will be released bi-weekly. Follow the team on new adventures all over the world including China, Norway, Switzerland, France, Canada and Chile.



"A look at the changing face of ski areas through the eyes of one of the world's leading ski resort designers".

Marlies Schild Wins World Cup Slalom in Courchevel

Since 2010 Courchevel is back on the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup circuit. It's been a real success every year. Today's conditions were just perfect for the second Slalom race of the season. Austria's Marlies Schild made the most of it to finally race to her 34th World Cup slalom victory in a combined time of 1:45.17, tying Vreni Schneider's ladies' record. The Austrian champion was third after the first run, just 0.20 seconds behind her younger sister Bernadette, who had paced the first run. Marlies Schild put a breathtaking second run together to take the lead. Second of the first run, Sweden's Frida Hansdotter managed keep up the pace and the second place, 0.33 seconds slower. Bernadette Schild had a less clean second run and took third place in the end, 1.22 seconds behind her older sister.
Marlies Schild, who already won the only two World Cup slaloms held in Courchevel, is back at her top level and will be contender for the salom title and the gold medal in Sochi.
"I wasn't really nervous, because I knew there was no other way but to give it all out to be faster than my younger sister", said the 32-year-old. "It was just a lot of fun again, that is the main thing. The hill here in Courchevel is not easy. It's steep and you have to push really hard. You simply can't be conservative (...) It's been 2 years since I last won a race. Everybody has been telling me about this record. Now that's it's done, I'll be able to ski with less pressure. My self-confidence is back (...) My plan was to retire earlier in my career. But I lost some time with my injuries. I've always had the feeling I could achieve more. That's why I'm still on the tour".  
Frida Hansdotter has been looking for her maiden World Cup victory for a long time. She had to be content today with the second position for the 7th time in her career so far.
"I struggled with one of my poles right at the start of the second run and definitely lost some time there, but I'm for sure very happy with a podium today", said the 28-year-old Swede. "The course was challenging. When it's tough, I like it and this actually when I get good results". 
Like all athletes, she has a lot of respect for the winner of day Marlies Schild. "It's nice to see her back on the tour after the injuries she's had. I'm sure her plan is to go for the victory in every single race from now on. We will try our best to stop her", she concluded joking.  
Bernadette Schild earned her second career podium after finishing second of the slalom race at the Lenzerheide finals.
"To be the last up there at the start was special", she said. "I looked around and there were just a couple of people left. I was of course a bit nervous but tried to relax (...) I wasn't told about my sister being the fastest of the second run, but I was sure she would be. Finishing third today gives me a lot of confidence going into the next slalom race at home in Lienz. I really look forward to it. It's going to be fun".
The ladies tour now shifts to Val d'Isère where a Downhill and a Giant Slalom race are scheduled for the weekend.

Val d'Isere's Face de Bellevarde

If last year the Val d'Isere men's races were marked by heavy snowfalls, changes in program; this year all everyone is talking about is ice. The famous Face de Bellevarde slope, which hosted the technical disciplines during the 2009 World Championships, proved to be as difficult and icy as they come in World Cup. The Organizing Committee was blessed with dry weather and cold temperatures in the weeks prior to the event, allowing them to prepare a fantastic and unbelievably icy slope for this weekend races. With a superb second run, where he held nothing back, Marcel Hirscher took home his first Giant Slalom victory of the season.
Hirscher moved up from the third place he was holding after the first run, finding his speed down the icy slope and avoiding any mistakes. His run earned him a victory while Thomas Fanara, who was tied with Hirscher after the first run finished second 0.76 seconds behind.
Stefan Luitz was the big surprise last year, when he finished second from bib 35, and this year he once again showed how this slope suits his style very well. Despite being less than a year out from a knee injury, he mastered both runs and finished third.



Val d'Isère is a megaresort located in the Savoie, recognisable by its charming Chalet architecture. People come to Val d'Isere with precisely one purpose in mind: to Ski. Val d'Isere offers to the skiers one of the most incredible Ski Paradises in the Alps: the Espace Killy, the Val d'Isere and Tignes combined skiing area, named in honour Jean-Claude Killy a magic skier, racing for Val d'Isere who won 3 gold medals in the 1968 Olympic games. 300 kilometres of slopes are served by 89 modern lifts. A playground for every skier with two glaciers (Pissaillas Glacier in Val d'Isere and the Grande Motte in Tignes) and 154 runs classified 22 green, 61 blue, 46 red and 25 black.
Val d'Isère became a ski resort in 1934. At the time one could only ski on the "Front de Neige" area as it would take a whole day and a pair of seal skins to reach the top of Solaise. The pioneer ski school was created two years later. The first cable car, Solaise, was inaugurated in 1942. From then on, Val d'Isère expanded rapidly and the "Critérium de la Première Neige", created in 1955, gave it international renown as a "sporting resort". The local Sports Club is proud to be the most titled ski club in the world. Henri Oreiller, Firmin Mattis, Jean-Claude Killy, Christine Goitschel and Marielle Goitschel, Patrice Bianchi, Mathieu Bozzetto, Ingrid Jacquemod, Audrey Peltier have between them brought home 10 Olympic medals and 22 World Cup Skiing medals.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay Reaches Halfway Mark

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay has passed the halfway mark as it continues its 123-day journey across Russia ahead of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The landmark was celebrated in Tobolsk, on the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, with 25 Torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame on a 5.3km route along the city streets, as well as in the grounds of the Tobolsk Kremlin – the only stone fortress in Siberia.
Among the Torchbearers were Alexander Nesterov, the president of the local volleyball club, teacher Anatoly Berezin, and Alexey Gorodetsky, a member of the Russian wheelchair basketball team.
The following day, the Torch Relay reached the Sverdlovsk region, visiting Nizhny Tagil and Yekaterinburg, where the Olympic flame was taken to the viewing platform of the Vysotsky business centre – the highest building in Russia outside Moscow, as well as the most northern skyscraper in the world among buildings taller than 150 metres.
The honour of carrying the Olympic flame to the highest point of the building was given to Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Irina Zilber and six-time swimming world champion Yuri Prilukov.
"It's so neat", said Zilber afterwards. "Such indescribable feelings of joy and excitement, and touching something so important, great, and to some degree sacred".
In Nizhny Tagil, the Torch Relay began in spectacular style at one of the biggest ski jumping centres in Russia, with Torchbearer Sergey Dyachuk – a three-time Russian champion in Nordic combined – landing in the arena after performing a jump from the 90-metre ramp before collecting the Olympic flame.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is now set to continue its journey across Russia on its way to the Opening Ceremony of Sochi 2014 on 7 February 2014.
The route has been designed to ensure that around 90% of Russia's population will be within an hour of the Relay at some stage, allowing approximately 130 million residents to participate in the event.

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place between February 7, 2014 and February 23, 2014 encapsulating 17 days of competitions. 98 events will be held in seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh).
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Wonder Reels, S2: Episode 4 - The Art of Progression

Freeski icon Mike Douglas takes a ride on Whistler Mountain's new Harmony 6 Express, and takes us for a ride back through time to recount the history of the Harmony Zone and the legends that came before him.

Mario Matt Wins World Cup Slalom in Val d'Isere

It’s the second day of racing on the Face de Bellevarde and the conditions didn’t get any easier compared to Saturday’s Giant Slalom race. The best example of how difficult and icy the Val d’Isere slope is this year are the 29 out of the 68 racers competing who were unable to make it to the finish line. 
After setting the best time in the first run, Mario Matt kept his momentum going in the second run and clinched his 14th career victory. With today's win, he matched Benjamin Raich’s record number of World Cup Slalom victories by any Austrian slalom skier and made it his 39th slalom podium.
"I am very happy about this result, I was a few times on the podium in the past two years but since Kranjska Gora in 2011 I couldn’t win", Matt said. 
Matt might have been the fastest today, but he admitted that it was not an easy ride down the icy Face de Bellevarde.
"You have to push your limits in order to win, and I did that, but I was still surprised how fast I was in the first run. I think today no one felt too comfortable, but at least in the second run the first part felt really good so I can’t complain. We trained in great conditions this fall so that’s maybe why I am in good shape this early in the season. We also had a great last training session in St. Anton before coming here, it was on a steep slope and it was a good chance to get ready for the conditions we found on the Face de Bellevarde".
Matthias Hargin put down a flawless second run and moved from eight place into second, making it his third podium so far.
"It feels really good to finally get another podium. It has been two years since my podiums in Zagreb and Schladming and I have been fighting a lot these last two years. It feels great to capitalize on that! It gives me confidence for the future knowing that all the hard work is paying off", Hargin said.
Hargin has gone through a lot of ups and downs in the past few seasons but he seems to be finally finding the right way for him.
"This season we have a new coach, Rudi Soulard, and that change has been very important for me. We have the same way of thinking and we worked a lot on the setup, finding a way to help me ski smoother and not have it set up as aggressively as I used to do before", Hargin was full of praise for Soulard. 
Third place went to Patrick Thaler, who after a few rough season where he got pushed out of the top 30 and eventually didn’t get nominated to the Italian team, proved that at 36 he was not yet to be discarded.
"It’s a special day for me, I was fighting for many years to come back on the podium and I have to thank a lot of people", an emotional Thaler said after his great race.
"A special thanks goes to all my coaches but especially to Jacques Théolier who never stopped believing in me and gave me a chance to race when I was no longer part of the team three years ago".
Luckily things took a turn for the better for him and he is now a full member of the team, but still has the flexibility, which comes with racing World Cups for over 15 years.
"I am now back with the team but I still do my own summer program. I am among the oldest on the Tour, I skied my first World Cup races in Shigakogen in 1997 and I don’t need to ski so many days anymore. Also,  I have a 2 year old boy now so I want to have the freedom to be a more involved father during the summer".

Tessa Worley Wins St. Moritz Giant Slalom

France’s Tessa Worley hung on for the victory over Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby in today’s Giant Slalom by 0.37 seconds. Slovenia’s Tina Maze ended her podium frustration, ending in third place, 0.79 seconds off Worley’s pace.
The win was Worley’s first victory since February 2012 when she won the Giant Slalom in Andorra. She now has eight total victories in the giant slalom and 13 podiums in the event. In St. Moritz, it was Worley’s third-ever podium. Last year, the French native took third place and she won the race in 2010.
"Winning today is a relief, it feels so good", said the skier from Grand-Bornand. "I gives me some confidence going into next weeks' races in France. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be able to ski with less pressure now and give it all on the course".
Worley was the fastest down the hill in the first run, so all eyes were her as she came down as the last skier in the grand finale. Her lead from the first run, coupled with a clean second run was enough to push her to the victory.
Lindell-Vikarby picked up her second podium of the season and her second straight in Giant Slalom. The Swede also won in Beaver Creek and vastly improved on her previous best finish in St. Moritz of 23rd place.
Last year’s overall World Cup winner, Tina Maze, earned only her second podium of the season and her first in the Giant Slalom. The last time Maze won a giant slalom was last year’s season-end race in Lenzerheide. After a sluggish start to the season, Maze is currently in fifth place in the overall World Cup standings.
"I am happy that I skied the second run so well", said Maze after the race. "It hasn't been easy early in the season with a lot of small mistakes, but you can always learn from mistakes. The season started with a lot of pressure and I had to find my self trust".
It was near perfect conditions for today’s giant slalom. Bright blue skies and hard snow greeted the skiers. Despite the conditions, the snow proved to be quite tricky, especially in the first run where nearly one-third of the field finished with a DNF.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tina Weirather Wins St. Moritz Super G

For their return to Europe, the World Cup ladies could enjoy perfect conditions in comparison with last week in Lake Louise. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather is on an incredibly good run and raced to her first World Cup victory this season. She recorded a time of 1:17.38, 0.31 seconds faster than the surprise of the day Kling Kajsa of Sweden, who started with bib 44. Austria's Anna Fenninger rounded out the podium, 0.39 seconds off the pace, with her team-mates Elisabeth Goergl and Nicole Hosp just behind in 4th and 5th position.
Tina Weirather was close to her first season victory last week in Lake Louise with two second places. There was no doubt that the victory would come soon. She achieved it today on a very special occasion, the birthday of her mother Hanni Wenzel, who has also been successful here in St. Moritz in the past. She won the slalom gold medal at the World Championships in 1974.  
"It's an awesome story to win here today in front of my mother on such a special day", said the 24-year-old. "The goal was to give her a nice present".
 "I learned a lot coming back from my injuries. I had to learn to be smooth on the skis, to move gently. I didn't really feel I was going that fast today. I thought I was turning too round and that nothing was happening. At the moment I can finish my turns well and that gives me time between the gates, time to adjust the line and to let my skis go. That's the way to ski fast actually".
5-year-old Kling Kajsa surprised everyone today by making the first podium of her young career. It is interesting to point out that her second and third personal bests were achieved last week in Lake Louise, with a 8th place in the second downhill and a 7th place in the super g. She is on a strong upward trend!
"It's an incredible feeling", said the Swede. "I was late in a few sections, but let the skis run and I'm glad it worked out that well. The slope is nice and the course set was very rhythmical. That really fits me well. Going into the season, I had more expectations than in the previous years, because I've trained a lot harder physically and mentally. Standing on the podium already at this stage of the season is just unreal".
Anna Fenninger has landed four podiums in the last four races she entered, each time in 3rd position. 
"I'm satisfied with my run", stated the Austrian. "I made a little mistake in the last section. I lost some time there. But it's good to be on the podium knowing there's room for improvement. I'll hopefully get clean runs in the next races. For now I feel really confident in super g and giant slalom. I hope for a good race tomorrow. I want to show what I can do".

Marcel Hirscher Wins World Cup GS in Val d'Isere

The famous Face de Bellevarde slope, which hosted the technical disciplines during the 2009 World Championships, proved to be as difficult and icy as they come in World Cup. The Organizing Committee was blessed with dry weather and cold temperatures in the weeks prior to the event, allowing them to prepare a fantastic and unbelievably icy slope for this weekend races.
With a superb second run, where he held nothing back, Marcel Hirscher took home his first Giant Slalom victory of the season.
Hirscher moved up from the third place he was holding after the first run, finding his speed down the icy slope and avoiding any mistakes. His run earned him a victory while Thomas Fanara, who was tied with Hirscher after the first run finished second 0.76 seconds behind.
"Each year of my career when I have competed in Val I have done well. It’s the steepest course on the tour and that suits me well", Hirscher said. "I heard on the radio that Fanara made a great time and I knew I had to give it all to beat him. I know this slope well, I am not the biggest or strongest guy this slope suits smaller guys like myself and I like it, I like technical slopes as my technique is not too bad. This year they prepared it with more water than usual, you can not imagine how hard it is to ski, it’s a fight from top to bottom".
Thomas Fanara earned his career’s best in front of a massive fan club chanting his name all the way through the Winners presentation.
"This has been my best performance on this slope, and it means a lot knowing I had a Fan Club here and so many other French people watching", Fanara said. The French veteran has stood on the podium three times before today, always finishing third so he was very satisfied with moving one step up. "Today I just felt focused as never before, I might not have won but I still had a great race. I was really serene today; I decided not to think about what mistakes I could do and simply ski down with a clear head. I am glad it worked! I have been on the Tour for eight years now and I definitely want that victory to happen, but is a tough fight, especially when competing against three amazing GS skiers like Ligety, Hirscher and Pinturault".
Stefan Luitz was the big surprise last year, when he finished second from bib 35, and this year he once again showed how this slope suits his style very well. Despite being less than a year out from a knee injury, he mastered both runs and finished third.
"I injured my ACL in Fabruary and I am grateful for all those who helped me get back on skis. It is almost incredible that 10 months later I could be on the podium again", Luitz told the media at the press conference. "Last year I just skied my best starting from the back and earned a podium, but this year I was second after the second run so it was a new situation for me. Waiting on the start, being one of the last guys is a new experience for me and I had to adapt to it. But this type of adaptation is sure a good one and I am glad my nerves didn’t get the better of me".
Today’s favorite and winner of the last four World Cup Giant Slalom races, Ted Ligety started with bib n. 1 today, but things didn’t go according to plan for him as he slipped on a particularly icy turn in the first run and missed the next gate, ending his race right there.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Epic Race to Ski the World Heading Into the Home Stretch

Twenty days into Vail Resorts’ Epic Race to Ski the World, there are 17 racers who have visited 23 of the 26 resorts on the Epic Pass and are in France. Over 100 racers have completed all 12 U.S. resorts and are still in contention to join them when tiny Brides-les-Bains, France, spins its bull wheels on Dec. 20. The Epic Race is a season-long competition to visit all 26 resorts spread across four countries that make up the Epic Pass. The reward: The first 10 participants to complete the adventure win skiing and snowboard’s ultimate prize – a lifetime Epic Pass.
"After 20 days and thousands of resort visits, it’s all coming down to Brides-les-Bains", said Vail Resorts chief marketing officer, Kirsten Lynch. "In keeping with the spirit of the Epic Race, we wanted their 26th resort visit to be a culmination of their entire Epic Race experience, so we’ve devised some on and off-mountain challenges that will have them re-visit the experiences they’ve had at the other 25 resorts while also seeing what makes Brides-les-Bains and Les 3 Vallées so unique. We’ve been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive responses from racers about how the Epic Race has not only given them the opportunity to explore places around the world they never dreamed of visiting, but also making life-long memories, laughing through some travel challenges and making new friends in the process. I’m looking forward to seeing some great videos and photos from France".
A quick look at the unofficial leaderboard shows Jarred Simpson from Alma, Colo. in front, followed by Michael Pavlik from Vail, Colo. and the husband/wife team of Cory and Brittany Heintz from Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
Vail Resorts expects more than 50 people to complete the race, in Brides-les-Bains, on Dec. 20, but the race won’t be over. There are still hundreds of skiers and riders who will continue the quest at a more leisurely pace, savoring the chance to visit some of the world’s most iconic ski destinations on one incredible season pass. Every racer that completes the 26 resort mission will walk away with an Epic Pass for the 2014-2015 season, as well as be in the running for giveaways throughout the race, including GoPro cameras, Helly Hansen gear and other cool prizes rewarding creative, fun and original content from their travels.
The team of Aaron Marks and Alexandra Malkin, from New York City, has used the Epic Race to raise $5,822 for Achilles International, Inc. to create programs to benefit disabled skiers.
"We teamed up to guide an athlete with disabilities for the 2013 NYC Marathon", said Malkin on her website, http://www.crowdrise.com/26mountainsin26days. "We were moved by his spirit and the joy that accomplishment brought him, so we asked ourselves, ‘If runners are raising money for 26 miles, why not skiers for 26 mountains?".
To track the progress of the leaders, get updates from Epic Host and former U.S. Olympian Kaylin Richardson, or to see all the contestant photos and videos, visit http://epicrace.epicpass.com. You can also watch the first three episodes from the Epic Race on EpicLifeMag.com. Each racer will need to ski or ride all 26 resorts on the Epic Pass (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps, Minnesota; Mt. Brighton, Michigan; Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria – St. Anton, Lech, Zürs, St. Christoph and Stuben; and Les 3 Vallées, France – Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle). Epic Racers will be asked to document and share their experience at each resort to be eligible to win. After all resorts have been visited, all content will be verified.  Winners will be determined upon completion of the race and verification of compliance with the Official Rules.
Through Wednesday, Dec. 11, 211 racers have logged 2,554 visits to Epic Pass resorts, and have uploaded 7,662 photos and videos to the official site. The racers hail from 23 U.S. states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington) and eight countries (Austria, Finland, Germany, Monaco, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the U.S.).

The Epic Pass is the world’s most popular pass, sold in all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries around the globe. It features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Furthermore, Epic Pass holders have the opportunity to extend their skiing and riding adventures from the U.S. to Europe with five free days at the renowned mountain resorts of Verbier, Switzerland, five consecutive free days at Arlberg, Austria and five free days at Les 3 Vallées, France.

Follow the #EpicRace on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and at www.epicrace.epicpass.com. A leader board will chronicle the top contenders.

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Robbie Williams To Close Winter Season in Ischgl

On 3 May 2014 Robbie Williams will perform at the legendary Top of the Mountain Concert in Ischgl on the at 2,300 meters altitude. Right in the heart of the ski area, "Robbie" with his full Big Band will play and present their new number-one album "Swings Both Ways" on the giant open-air stage.
It'll be hot and cold, it'll be jazzy, it'll be legendary: At the Top of the Mountain Concert on 3 May 2014, megastar Robbie Williams will take to the world-famous Idalp-stage at 2,300 meters altitude. That alone would be enough for most. But not for the lifestyle metropolis of the Alps. Thus the exceptional entertainer will be bringing his entire Big Band with him to the ski area. Before an impressive alpine backdrop, he will present his new album "Swings Both Ways" and lend his unique sound to the season finale. The set will include: Classics such as "Minnie The Moocher", a new version of "Supreme" and his latest hit "Go Gentle". Whether "Robbie" will take to the skis himself in the Silvretta Arena remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: The charismatic singer will melt more than just the snow in Ischgl. He should be a bit excited though, as a jazz-pop concert on the peaks of the Alps is a first even for this megastar with 17 Brit-Awards and more than 70 million albums sold.
The concert begins at 13:00. Advance sales of day-ski passes for 3 May will begin according to availability on 7 April 2014. These will cost 115 Euro. A 2-day-ski pass/3-day-ski pass, available only with a TVB Paznaun-Ischgl or Samnaun Guest Card, and which includes the concert on 3 May, is available for 125 Euro/135 Euro.
Robbie Williams 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. Long time 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, Alicia Keys, Gossip, The Killers,Roxette, Mariah Carey, The Scorpions, Deep Purple and Nickelback.
The 2013/14 season is a very special one for Ischgl, as the world-famous valley celebrates two anniversaries that have been instrumental in shaping the history of skiing. Apart from the 50th anniversary of the Silvretta Cable Car, 2014 will see the 20th anniversary of the big Top of the Mountain Concerts since Elton John first sang on the Idalp in 1995. On these occasions, the company wanted to provide guests with a definite highlight. In a series of talks, Hannes Parth from the Silvrettaseilbahn AG company together with Peter Reiner from the Tourism Association Paznaun-Ischgl managed to persuade Robbie Williams that a performance before the unique backdrop of the Silvretta Arena would be special for him, too. Conformation was received in November. With him, one of the most successful stars of the last ten years will take to the stage in Ischgl. For one of his concerts, "Robbie" sold 1.6 million tickets within one day and received an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for this feat. In Germany, "Robbie" is one of the most successful artists of the last decade with his albums. "Swings Both Ways" is his tenth studio album and has already reached the top of the German album charts.

Ischgl (1377m) is a truly Ski Paradise in Tirol (Austria) with 238 km of prepared pistes, 43 lifts and lots of interesting new features in the ski resort. The modern lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the Fimbabahn cable car built for the 2007/08 season. A variety of slopes and ski routes offer a opportunity for everyone, from beginners to experts looking for challenging pistes. Eleven is the name of the longest piste with approximately 11 kilometres from the top of the ski resort in Greitspitz (2,872 metres) to Ischgl village (1,400 metres).
From Ischgl you can access to the Silvretta Arena Ski Paradise, thanks to an alliance between two Companies (Silvretta Seilbahn AG and Bergbahnen Sammaun AG) and two ski resorts (Ischgl-Sammaun) from two different countries (Switzerland-Austria).

Der weiße Rausch. A tribute to Arnold Fanck's Film

Der weiße Rausch – neue Wunder des Schneeschuhs (White Ecstasy - new Miracles of the Snowshoe) is a 1931 mountain film directed by Arnold Fanck.
Although made in 1931, this film is still astonishing today. It is an unbelievably spectacular film about skiïng, more than worth seeing!

St. Anton am Arlberg was the setting for the film, starring future filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and local ski instructor Hannes Schneider. Made in 1931, the comedy film was a fictional account of the skiing exploits of a young village girl (played by Riefenstahl), and her attempts to master the sport of skiing and ski-jumping aided by the local ski expert Hannes Schneider. The film was one of the first to use slow-motion and low-angle photography to capture action shots and featured several innovative action-skiing scenes.
Also two Tyrolean skiing stars, Walter Riml and Guzzi Lantschner, have an important part in this movie. They have the part of two Hamburger carpenters in their traditional outfits. They come to the Arlberg and try to learn how to ski with the aid of two different skiing books.

Directed by Arnold Fanck
Produced by Harry R. Sokal
Written by Arnold Fanck
Starring: Leni Riefenstahl, Hannes Schneider, Guzzi Lantschner, Walter Riml, Rudi Matt and Lothar Ebersberg
Music by Paul Dessau
Cinematography: Richard Angst, Hans Karl Gottschalk, Bruno Leubner and Kurt Neubert
Editing by Arnold Fanck
Release date: December 10, 1931. UFA-Palast am Zoo, Berlin (Germany)
Running time: 70 min.
Country: Weimar Republic
Language: German
Der weiße Rausch – neue Wunder des Schneeschuhs is available for free download at the Internet Archive

Arnold Fanck (born 6 March 1889, Frankenthal, Germany — died 28 September 1974, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany) was a pioneer of the German mountain film.
Together with Odo Deodatus Tauern, Bernhard Villinger and Rolf Bauer, Fanck established the company "Berg- und Sportfilm GmbH Freiburg" in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1920. Fanck, who held a PhD in geology, directed mountain films, sports films and ski films. He was assisted by Sepp Allgeier, a cameraman who later worked with Leni Riefenstahl, and worked mostly in the Alps in locations such as the Engadine, Zermatt and the Arlberg and on mountains such as Mont Blanc and Piz Palü.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Sochi 2014 Volunteer Team Unveiled

The 25,000-strong Sochi 2014 Volunteer Team made its debut during a presentation ceremony held on 5 December, International Volunteer Day.
The majority of the volunteers are from the Krasnodor region of Russia, including 24 per cent from Sochi, 11 per cent from Moscow and 7 per cent from St Petersburg.
The average age of volunteers is 25, with 60 per cent of these being men and 40 per cent women. In the “silver” age group of 928 volunteers, the average age is 62.
The volunteers include approximately 2,000 foreign nationals. A majority are from the United States (10 per cent), with Ukraine (9 per cent), Canada, UK and Kazakhstan (8 per cent) citizens making up significant numbers too. But there are also volunteers from other regions, with several coming from Japan, New Zealand, Cameroon, Congo and New Zealand.
The majority of the volunteers will arrive on the 21 and 27 January. About 60 per cent of them will work at the Olympic Coastal Cluster venues, primarily at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, with 40 per cent being based at the Mountain Cluster venues. 
They will be involved in more than 20 areas of work, ranging from meeting delegates at airports to helping to organise the Closing Ceremony. About 3,000 volunteers will help guests navigate between venues.
Former Winter Olympic champion and Sochi 2014 Ambassador, Tatiana Navka, said: "I would like to thank all the volunteers for their hard work. Volunteers should be diligent, committed and knowledgeable of the area, but most importantly, willing to make every guest, spectator, and athlete feel welcome. Of course, volunteers not only help run the Games, but also cheer up the athletes and spectators with their energetic attitude".
Volunteer Brovko Sergey added: "As part of the Sochi 2014 family of volunteers, I will have a first-hand experience shaping and taking part in the Olympic Games. Last season, I was involved in the test events and I am proud to continue contributing to Russia’s hosting of this major sporting event".
The training program for the Olympic volunteers is one of the most large –scale projects of the "Sochi 2014" Organizing Committee. At the Games in Sochi, about 25 000 volunteers will be involved in more than 20 areas, ranging from meetings of delegations at the airport to helping to organize the Games closing ceremony. In addition, about 3,000 volunteers trained in Sochi Games will help guests navigate between venues and welcome them in a hospitable and friendly manner. In general, the volunteers will comprise more than 30 % of the entire staff involved in the Games.
Recruitment of volunteers was carried out through 26 volunteer centers established at the educational institutions of Russia selected on a competitive basis.
A volunteer can be anyone, who on January 6, 2014 will be 18 to 80 years old.

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place between February 7, 2014 and February 23, 2014 encapsulating 17 days of competitions. 98 events will be held in seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh).
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007.