Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Team Americas Takes The Lead After THe Backcountry Slopestyle Competition

The 2014 Swatch Skiers Cup got off to a smashing start today in Zermatt with the Backcountry Slopestyle discipline. Team Americas came out on top, winning nine rounds to Team Europe’s seven. This sets the stage for an exciting conclusion when the final discipline, Big Mountain, runs later in the week.
Despite an imperfect weather forecast, it was a beautiful, mostly sunny day in Zermatt, with a blanket of untouched snow covering the course. The first round was full of historic matchups with Nicolas Vuignier (SUI) taking down Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA), and Richard Permin (FRA) defeating Dane Tudor (USA) to notch points for Europe. In the clash of the legends, Seth Morrison (USA) won a point for the Americas in his match against Sverre Liliequist (SWE). Fabio Studer (AUT) had the most aggressive run of the round, with a nearly landed double flatspin off the first air, two high-speed double cliff drops, and a perfect cork 720 tail grab to finish, defeating his opponent Tim Durtschi (USA). Sam Favret (FRA) also laid down an incredible run for the European side to take out KC Deane (USA) with a huge switch 540, a cork 360, and insane 720 to finish. Team Europe held a 5-3 lead after round one.
But in round two the tables turned. Team Americas came out firing, winning the first four matchups. Tim Durtschi (USA) defeated Sam Favret (FRA), finishing his run with a double cork 1080. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA) threw down the most creative run of the day, linking two unrepeated cliff drops with stylish left-side and right-side 360s, topping an impressive run from Kevin Guri (FRA). But the highlight of the day was the final run, when Americas captain JP Auclair (CAN) stepped up to the plate. A smooth run up top lead him into the final jump, where he threw a gigantic double backflip. He seemed to hang in the air forever, landing further down the landing hill than any other competitor, stomping the air perfectly.
"I was smiling as I approached the final jump. I got a good chance to feel out the jump on run one, so for run two I was feeling really good", explained JP Auclair (CAN). "I don’t do doubles very often unless it’s the perfect moment, and this was one of those times".
Auclair’s win over Team Europe captain Julien Regnier (FRA) put an exclamation point on Team Americas’ day one victory. Final score: Team Americas 9; Team Europe 7.
"After that first round we knew what we had to do", said Team Americas rider Callum Pettit (CAN). "Before round two we all got together at the top and the whole team was super stoked, just totally fired up to make the comeback happen".
But the story is far from over. With the Big Mountain discipline remaining, 16 intense rounds of competition are left that could tip the scales in either direction. The heavy-hitting Team Americas riders obviously have deep talent, but six of the eight Team Europe riders have the advantage of previous Swatch Skiers Cup experience. And the stakes are high. Team Europe has won two Swatch Skiers Cup titles to Team Americas’ one. If Americas can hold their lead from Backcountry Slopestyle they’ll tie the score for the events history at 2-2, but if Europe rallies from behind they’ll hold a dominant 3-1 record.

Results :
Europe 7 - 9 Americas
ROUND 1
HEAT 1Julien REGNIER (FRA)0 - 1JP AUCLAIR (CAN)
HEAT 2Nicolas VUIGNIER (SUI)1 - 0Sage CATTABRIGA-ALOSA (USA)
HEAT 3Richard PERMIN (FRA)1 - 0Dane TUDOR (USA)
HEAT 4Fabio STUDER (AUT)1 - 0Tim DURTSCHI (USA)
HEAT 5Sverre LILIEQUIST (SWE)0 - 1Seth MORRISON (USA)
HEAT 6Fabien MAIERHOFER (FRA)1 - 0Callum PETTIT (CAN)
HEAT 7Kevin GURI (FRA)0 - 1Cody TOWNSEND (USA)
HEAT 8Sam FAVRET (FRA)1 - 0KC DEANE (USA)
ROUND 2
HEAT 1Fabio STUDER (AUT)0 - 1Dane TUDOR (USA)
HEAT 2Sam FAVRET (FRA)0 - 1Tim DURTSCHI (USA)
HEAT 3Fabien MAIERHOFER (FRA)0 - 1KC DEANE (USA)
HEAT 4Kevin GURI (FRA)0 - 1Sage CATTABRIGA-ALOSA (USA)
HEAT 5Nicolas VUIGNIER (SUI)1 - 0Callum PETTIT (CAN)
HEAT 6Richard PERMIN (FRA)1 - 0Seth MORRISON (USA)
HEAT 7Sverre LILIEQUIST (SWE)0 - 1Cody TOWNSEND (USA)
HEAT 8Julien REGNIER (FRA)0 - 1JP AUCLAIR (CAN)
Big Mountain competition confirmed for tomorrow Thursday January 9th.
First Rider to drop in at 10.00 A.M.
Public viewing from the finish line at Breitboden.


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