Thursday, January 9, 2014

Team Americas Wins 2014 Swatch Skiers Cup

Team Americas was crowned champion today in Zermatt at the 2014 Swatch Skiers Cup. JP Auclair’s crew held a 9 to 7 lead over Team Europe after Backcountry Slopestyle day, leaving Big Mountain on Thursday to decide the ultimate winner. But due to high winds and warm temperatures worsening the already-thin conditions, Big Mountain was called off, giving Team Americas the victory after one day of riding.
After the teams spent the morning visually inspecting the venue and a forerunner skied the face to test the snow, Team captains Julien Regnier (FRA) and JP Auclair (CAN)held a meeting with all riders. It was decided that conditions weren’t safe enough to run the event due to the unpredictable snow and numerous rocks hidden dangerously below just a few centimeters below the surface. The event was called off, giving the title to Team Americas.
The Team Americas victory ties the score for the history of the event, with each team claiming two wins for their side. "I’m definitely proud to lead the team to victory", said Americas captain JP Auclair. "But it does feel a bit incomplete. Both teams really wanted a chance to face off again today".
"Sure its disappointing, as we wanted a chance to make a comeback", said Europe captain Julien Regnier. "But we tried everything possible, searching far and wide in the helicopter for the ideal venue and waiting for the ideal day. In the mountains sometime you try everything but it still doesn’t work out. In the end I really like how this decision was in the hands of the athletes -- this is what makes the Swatch Skiers Cup special".
Though the official event was cancelled, since all the athletes were already in the starting gate each rider took a no-pressure run, putting on a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition for the gathered spectators. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA) and Seth Morrison (USA) simultaneously skied a scary line down a zigzagging ramp on the largest cliff on the face. Kevin Guri (FRA) laid down one of his signature high-speed lines,flashing down the mountain in just a few seconds. Dane Tudor (USA) found a natural air over a roll at the bottom of the face for a huge 720.
Everyone here is such a strong skier, and both teams have a lot of fun together on and off the snow. But they’re also really intense competitors who are serious about winning their runs. That’s why it was important to call it off – these guys aren’t going to hold anything back even if conditions aren’t perfect,” explained event co-founder and Team Europe rider Sverre Liliequist (SWE).
But the Swatch Skiers Cup story is far from complete. Thanks to the ongoing support of Swatch, the Swatch Skiers Cup is confirmed for 2015.

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