In 2013, Zermatt, Switzerland proved to be an incredible host for the Swatch Skiers Cup and 2014 is shaping up to be even better. The teams are confirmed, the snow is stacking up, and team captains JP Auclair (CAN) and Julien Regnier (FRA) are preparing their strategies.
The Big Mountain discipline will again be held on a helicopter-accessed peak to be selected by head guide Samuel Anthamatten (Swatch Proteam, SUI). The second discipline, Backcountry Slopestyle, will go down in the ski area domain, providing a spectacular show for the public. Anthamatten said, "Last year’s Backcountry Slopestyle venue above the Breitboden chairlift is really good for athletes and spectators alike. This year we have our eye on Schwarzee, a spectacular face directly under the Matterhorn. We’ll decide between the two options depending on conditions before the event begins".
The event’s match-play format means that riders face off in head-to-head heats with the three esteemed judges choosing the best run. Camille Jaccoux (FRA) heads up legendary Chamonix-based ski brand Black Crows, and he has eye for the extreme as well as the creative. Woodie Bouma (AUS) is a professional freestyle skier and life-long surfer. Originally from Australia, Bouma now lives in France and splits his time between the Alps and beach. Philippe Poirier (CAN), also a pro freestyler, was a member of the legendary
New Canadian Air Force with Team Americas captain JP Auclair (CAN). The crew was integral in developing the tricks and ski technology that make freestyle what it is today.
The Backcountry Slopestyle course will be shaped by professional skier Arnaud Kugener (FRA). Kugener designs and builds terrain parks at ski resorts around Europe, as well as building jumps for various film
Both team’s rosters feature extraordinary talent, with elite athletes rarely seen in the same place at the same time. Team Europe has experience on their side, with six of their eight riders returning from last year’s champion team. Team Americas has less overall Skiers Cup experience, but is stacked with big names like Seth Morrison (USA), Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA), Cody Townsend (Swatch Proteam, USA) and many more.
The event kicks off on January 4, with the opening ceremony, bib draw, and welcome party at the exclusiveVernissage bar in Zermatt.
The races in the categories Big Mountain (Freeride) and Backcountry Slopestyle (Freestyle) will take place on two different days. The exact dates and locations will be announced 48 hours prior to the respective event.
Public events are on offer every night of the week in the village, with award ceremonies and parties following each day of competition:
- Saturday, 4 January 2014, 10.30 pm, in the Vernissage Opening Party "Vintage Zermatt" with drawing of the start numbers. Free entry.
- Wednesday, 8 January 2014, 8.30 – 9.00 pm, in the Vernissage Movie night with the Zermatt mountain guide and ski instructor Samuel Anthamatten. Free entry.
- Wednesday to Friday (8 - 10 January 2014), 4.00 – 7.00 pm. Bahnhofstrassse Zermatt in front of the Banque cantonale du Valais. With animation, riders autograph session, music, games. Free entry.
- Official party #1 – On the day, on which the Big Mountain (Freeride) race will take place. 11.00 pm, Gee's Bar. Free entry.
- Official party #2 – On the day, on which the Backcountry Slopestyle (Freestyle) race will take place. 11.00 pm, Papperla Pub & Schneewittli Nightclub. Free entry.