Friday, January 31, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 12. Fieberbrunn Contest Posponed

For safety reasons, the FWT competition has to be postponed to a later date this coming week.
Hersha was with the riders and Nicolas Hale-Woods (FWT General Manager Europe) and explain why the event is postponed.
Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheler is the third stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face. On the 1st of February, the best riders on the planet will battle it out in Wildseeloder - Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria.

 

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).

FWT14 - GoPro Course Preview - Fieberbrunn Wildseeloder



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).

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 11. Face Check in Fieberbrunn

In this eleventh episode, Hersha follows the FWT riders during the third face check of the season, in Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria.
 
 

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).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Epic TV: Powdcast Ep. 3. The Freeride World Tour Rolls Into Chamonix, as Does the Wind



The Swatch Freeride World Tour rolled into Chamonix this weekend and was greeted by a modest, 20 inch dusting of snow. It wasn't ideal, but if you've learned anything from previous episodes about freeriding you know that it's rarely ideal. Julien Lopez is still hurting from his poor performance last week but shows up hungry for redemption. The venue is the La Flégère ski area on the Aiguille Pourrie face, a playful course, as far as these things go. Julien and the other riders look forward to this stop every year because it offers ample opportunities to show off both big mountain and for flashy freeriding skills. But as they are hanging out at the press event the night before the wind whips up and compacts the snow on the upper half of the slope. A last minute change in his line puts Julien into dangerous, uncharted territory, but somehow he's got to hold on and put together a great run.

Powdcast follows pro skier Julien Lopez around the Alps and the world as he competes on Freeride World Tour and rips it up with his buddies. In this series you'll go deep into the life of a pro freerider as Julien travels to some of the most spectacular locations on the planet, experiences the pressure of competition, rides truly awesome terrain, discovers the camaraderie of the freeskiing community and continues the eternal quest for the perfect line. POWdcast will take you on a journey, Julien is your guide - it's time to ride.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 10. Snowboard Girls in Chamonix

Great contest day in Chamonix Mont-Blanc for Snowboard girls riders in the Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face.



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).

U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association nominated 20 athletes to the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team that will compete in Sochi 2014. The team is highlighted by Olympic gold medalists Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso  and World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin.
The team was selected from results on the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour over the Olympic qualification period, which ended January 26.

2014 Olympic Alpine Team Nominations:

Men
  • David Chodounsky, Crested Butte, CO (6/25/84)
  • Erik Fisher, Middleton, ID (3/21/85)
  • Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley, CA (7/14/88)
  • Jared Goldberg, Holladay, UT (6/15/91)
  • Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV (1/11/85)
  • Nolan Kasper, Warren, VT (3/27/89)
  • Ted Ligety, Park City, UT (8/31/84)
  • Bode Miller, Franconia, NH (10/12/77)
  • Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT (2/12/82)
  • Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA (4/27/80)
  • Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY (2/10/86)
Women
  • Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA (7/3/84)
  • Julia Ford, Holderness, NH (3/30/90)
  • Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA (3/9/84)
  • Megan McJames, Park City, UT (9/24/87)
  • Laurenne Ross, Bend, OR (8/17/88)
  • Mikaela Shiffrin, Eagle-Vail, CO (3/13/95)
  • Leanne Smith, North Conway, NH (5/28/87)
  • Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY (11/14/85)
  • Jacqueline Wiles, Aurora, OR (7/13/92)

"We’re on a really good track right now. All the programs, both the tech and speed athletes, are showing really good improvements and progressions. I’m very pleased with where we are right now going into the Games (...) It was maybe a little bit of a rough start in some of the areas. But you can see in women’s speed, they are picking it up. Julia and Stacey are doing a good job – same with some of the younger girls and on the men’s side. You can see it with the performance we have right now from the veterans but also the younger athletes. I’m very pleased with them and I feel really comfortable with this team going into the Games". Patrick Riml, Alpine Director.

"As a group we’re building moment right now, which is really nice to see. The guys have been working hard all summer, all fall and all winter, day in and day out and that’s starting to show. The guys have shown 100-percent effort every day. You look at the guys who have been putting in the most effort, those are the guys we’re going to be taking to the Games and the ones that we can count on to represent America well". Sasha Rearick, Men’s Alpine Head Coach.

"I’m proud of the progress this team has made the closer we get to Sochi. We still have a lot of work to do, but the potential for success is certainly there. On the tech side with Mikaela, we have some huge potential, both in the slalom and giant slalom. On the speed side, we saw that Julia and Stacey definitely are on the right track, on a huge upswing. Sochi is a total different thing and the chances are there for champion performances". Alex Hoedlmoser, Women’s Alpine Head Coach

Skiing to Sochi with Julia Mancuso



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.

Skiing to Sochi with Alexis Pinturault



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.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First World Cup Victory for Henrik Kristoffersen

Henrik Kristoffersen grasped his first World Cup victory tonight in Schladming in front of 45000 cheering fans.
The 19-years-old Norwegian skied only his 23rd World Cup race today and managed to beat well know names like Marcel Hirscher and Felix Neureuther who finished 2nd and 3rd.
Kristoffersen has had a fantastic season so far and stood on the podium three times before his victory tonight, but still it came as somewhat of a surprise.
"I think I realize what’s going on but it’s kind of hard to say right away", Kristoffersen said. "But I know it’s real – I just won my first World Cup race! I didn’t expect it to happen so fast, I was hoping for it but it’s all still new to me. Last year my best place was an 11th place, it was my first season in World Cup and I seem to be taking big steps. This is also my first Night Slalom, and I hope this is just the beginning of great thing to come", he added.
When he crossed the finish line, Hirscher and Neureuther lifted him on their shoulder in celebration, an extraordinary experience for a guy who only two years ago was admiring them on TV.
"I watched these two guys for a long time, I looked at Marcel’s skiing and try to adapt my skiing to his while keeping my own twist to it. I’m still their fan and it’s crazy what happened today", he explained.
The respect is definitely mutual.
"Henrik has all my admiration, this young boy showed us all how it’s done. He is a very good skier, he has been constant and solid, and he told me he skied out only seven times in his whole senior career. It’ wasn’t a huge surprise that he could handle the pressure here in Schladming and win this race", Neureuther said.
"He is 19 and this is a big advantage, it an age where it doesn’t matter if you ski out or do a mistake. Anything within the top 5 is a great success but now this is becoming normality and he has proved he is up to the expectations. He has brilliant technique and smart skiing. I would almost say that he is one of the leaders of a new generation that we can all learn from", Hirscher added at the press conference.
Neureuther is on a roll this January and after winning Kitzbuehel only days ago, this podium was a last confidence booster before heading to Sochi. After a not perfect first run, the German took advantage of his coach’s course set and skied a perfect second one, moving up to the podium.
"It was so close between Marcel and me so I’m really happy to have earned a podium. The course set was so much harder than the first run, my coach set it and he made it tough. I like courses like that, they allow me to push hard and give me some advantage. I knew I was fast when I saw I was in the lead but I knew it was beatable", Neureuther commented.
Last time he was here, he earned a gold World Championships medal and today Hirscher was aiming at the top step of the podium again, but sometimes pushing too hard might cost you one mistake too many.
"It’s skiracing and we all make mistakes. Today Henrik made the least and he won and I was second, that’s how things go. More mistakes, further from the top you go", Hirscher made it sound simple. "My skiing was brilliant at the top but the course was not easy and it had a few tough sections, very technical ones. There were some 50000 people screaming and I always try to get faster and faster when people cheer. Sometimes it’s a disadvantage because I push over the limit. This is a brilliant race, I live 30min from here and I have great memories from here, it’s great to be back to the place which earned me my first Overall title and my gold World Championships medal", he concluded.

10 Days to Go until Sochi 2014


At 20:14 on 28th January, the OMEGA countdown clocks, located in nine Russian cities, struck 10 days to go until the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. It started the final countdown to Russia’s first Olympic Winter Games.

Twelve winter sports events (three mixed events, four men’s events and five women’s events) will make their debuts on the Olympic programme in Sochi:

Ski halfpipe – Men’s and Women’s, Ski slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s, Snowboard slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s, Snowboard parallel slalom – Men’s and Women’s, Women’s ski jumping – Women’s, Biathlon mixed relay – Mixed, Figure skating team event – Mixed, Luge team relay – Mixed.

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.

The "mountain cluster" of venues that will be used during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is located in Krasnaya Polyana, approximately 40km from Sochi. The newly-built mountain venues will be home to all the skiing and sliding sports during the Games.
The Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort is located at the Aibga Ridge. It is a single venue and will host all Alpine Skiing disciplines: Downhill, Combined (downhill and slalom), Giant Slalom and the Super Giant Slalom. The total length of the competition tracks is 20 km.
All slopes were developed by Bernard Russi, a world-renowned ski architect from the International Ski Federation (FIS). Sochi will have an excellent selection of world-class tracks for athletes from around the world to train and compete on.
"Rosa Khutor" is a unique alpine resort located in the Krasnaya Polyana district. The name originates from the geographical name "Rosa Khutor", covering approximately 1,820 ha of Aibga Ridge slopes rising above the Mzymta River. The alpine resort is already a major alpine skiing center in the Northern Caucasus region and has played host to several major international competitions.

Sochi 2014’s Venues

Sochi's Alpine Skiing Programme

Current Olympic Champions in Alpine Skiing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

FWT14 - The Best moments in Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Lara GutTops Cortina Super-G Podium

The Ladies World Cup tour had the grand finale today of a marathon of speed events that saw two down hills and two Super G races staged in a four-day span. In today’s Super-G, it was Switzerland’s Lara Gut topping the field with a 0.12 advantage over Tina Weirather (LIE). Rounding out the podium was Maria Hoefl-Reisch (GER) 0.61 seconds off the pace.
Gut has had her strongest season to date and looks to be peaking just in time for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. It was her third Super-G win of the season and her sixth podium across all disciplines this season.
"It is a good feeling to win today", Gut said after the race. "I started the season so strong with four podiums in the early races, but then the tour came back to Europe and I never to be seen on the podium again. It was a difficult time, I could see success in my mind, but you couldn’t see it on the slopes. Now today, this win, it was very important for me".
During the bevy of events that last four days in Cortina d’Ampezzo, four different ladies won the four different faces, but there were several repeat podium performances. Weirather and Hoefl-Reisch were able to bulk up their World Cup points in the four-day span. In addition to today’s second-place finish, Weirather took third place in yesterday’s Downhill and second place in Friday’s Downhill.
Hoefl-Reisch also had three podium finishes in the Cortina marathon. Besides taking third-place today, Hoefl Reish won Friday’s Downhill and took second-place in Thursday’s Super G.
The win bumps Gut up to fourth-place in the overall World Cup standings with 754 points. Today’s podium was enough for Hoefl-Reisch to hold onto the overall lead with 1071 points, with Weirather sitting in second place with 943 points. Austria’s Anna Fenninger holds third place with 871 points in a very tight race for the Crystal Globe.

Pinturault Wins Hahnenkamm Combined

Today’s race program was rather unique; the combined times of the Super-G and the one run of night slalom generated the winner of the Hahnenkamm Combined race.
Alexis Pinturault had a great Super-G race, where he finished 18th , only 0.69 seconds off the best time. A placement a placement which certainly put him in a great position going into the Combined. He delivered on the expectations by putting down a great slalom run and walked away with an extra 100 points from tonight’s Combined race.
"It was big fight with Ted today, we were so close after the SG but after us there were some very strong guys still up and I had no choice but wait and see if my run would be enough for a top placement", Pinturault said.
In second place, winner of the last Combined race in Wengen, Ted Ligety moved up from 31st place in the super-G to second place.
"My slalom run was ok, it was sure better than in the classic slalom race. Alexis is a great slalom skier so it’s not too bad to be after him. The crowd is great, there are not many places where you can attract a crowd like this one on a Sunday night", Ligety said.
After a few minutes of uncertainty, the third place in tonight’s Combined became clear after the Jury looked over Bode Miller’s run and was forced to disqualify him due to a gate error. This opened up the last spot on the podium for Marcel Hirscher who after a tough Super-G race was ranked only 56th but laid a decent slalom run and finished 1.47 seconds behind Pinturault.
"I always give it my 100% and today it was only good for a 3rd place which is perfect! I’m happy with this third place and want to thank everyone for the support", Hirscher said when addressing his fans in the finish area.

Didier Defago Takes Victory in Kitzbuehel SG

In a rather surprising turnaround of events, Didier Defago became the winner of the 2014 Kitzbuehel Super-G.
This morning weather forced organizers to lower the start, making it a relatively short race and making the differences between racers extremely tight. The best four athletes finished only 0.15 seconds of each other.
Didier Defago achieved his last SG podium in 2008 and last victory in the Bormio DH in 2011 had a dream run today. Despite all predictions on the outcome of today’s race, the Swiss veteran clocked the fastest time of the day, finishing only 0.05 seconds ahead of Bode Miller who was leading until that moment. Tied in third place today were Aksel Lund Svindal and Max Franz who were just 0.15 seconds slower than Defago.
Upon crossing the finish line and seeing the green light, Defago screamed out from the top of his lungs.
"When you push so hard in your run, you cross the finish line and you have this something inside that needs to go out. It’s a great feeling… it must be all the energy I collected over the months that need to go out. I was not sure my run would be fast enough to win until the very end of the race but when I came down and I saw that I beat Bode and Aksel I knew I had a good run", Defago said.
Bode has achieved four podiums in speed disciplines in Kitzbuehel but never a victory. His only victories at the Hahnenkamm Rennen came in 2004 and 2008 in the Combined.
"I was okay today. It was obviously disappointing not to win; five hundredths is not very much time. Just give me a break and let me win one time here. I’m okay with it. I skied hard today and just got beat", Miller said.
Miller didn’t seem to be too disappointed by the shortened course. "It was pretty basic. Ski racing is all about making due with what you get with weather. This super-G here didn’t give us a lot of chances to make up time. I skied really well but couldn’t do anything else", he explained.
Aksel was fresh off his second place in yesterday’s downhill was happy with his result today. "Third is ok, of course I would have wanted to get ahead but I’ll take it. It was a short course and margins were very small. It’s a lot better than cancelling the race. I’m feeling good and want to keep this momentum going", Svindal said.
Max Franz was thrilled about his result, achieving his second careers’ podium at one of the big Classics. "It was a good run, but Bode and Defago were just amazing. It’s a great result to have the day before the Olympic team is nominated in Vienna. It was hard to be fast today, you had to push and I am happy I did just that", Franz said.

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 9. Judges Debrief

Hugo Harrison (SKI HEAD JUDGE) gave us a debrief from the second competition of the season of the Freeride World Tour 2014 in Chamonix Mont Blanc.



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).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

FWT14 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Is Over

The second stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT) concluded today. Mont Blanc created a picturesque background for the competition at La Flégère ski area on the Aiguille Pourrie face.Aiguille Pourrie is a steep and playful venue providing riders ample opportunity to showcase both their big mountain and freestyle skills. Sunny conditions and fresh powder snow created great conditions for riding, but wind the evening before the competition made the top half of the slope extra challenging. Male and female skiers and snowboarders competed in the event representing sixty-nine of the world’s best freeriders.
"Today was a bit tough for everybody because the face got some wind overnight. That's why we saw a lot of crashes. It made it a bit easier for the judging but a lot tougher for the riders", said Head FWT Judge Hugo Harrisson. "But we saw a lot of good skiing and lines. Freestyle made the difference to the judges. For example, the first place male skier, Loïc, he showed good freestyle and that he's the guy who can do it all. That's the kind of style, which is going to win these events more and more these days. Jackie Paaso had an air just as big as the guys. Such great charging from the girls!"

The competition began with the men’s snowboard division. Swiss rider Emilien Badoux chose a very creative line including a very challenging triple cliff drop in the steep middle section of the venue. His impressive run earned Badoux first place and a score of 81.00. Jamie Rizzuto of Canada utilized the terrain exceptionally well punctuating his run with 360s and fluid turns. Rizzuto came in second place with a score of 79.25. In the third podium position for men’s snowboarding, Chamonix local and wild card rider Christophe Charlet demonstrated his familiarity with the terrain through a strong line choice earning a score of 78.25.
"This is my first victory! I am so happy. I did the run I planned to do with a lot of speed and several tricks,” Badoux said. “Chamonix is such a nice resort. As I know it is always relaxing here, I have tried to make the most of my time".

Next up, was the men’s ski category where it became evident Loïc Collomb-Patton is a true contender for the 2014 FWT Championship. Collomb-Patton, a new rider on the tour, repeated his victory in Courmayeur by securing the top score in men’s skiing of 83.50 and winning first place. Collomb-Patton’s run was hard charging and technical. He wowed the crowd and judges with an enormous left side 360 off a consequential cliff perfectly executing the landing.
"This is incredible! I was a bit stressed at the top about my run but I thought it was a beautiful day and decided I should just have fun", exclaimed an ecstatic Collomb-Patton. He also dedicated his run to his father.
Another first year FWT skier landed in second place as well. Garrett Altmann of the United States chose a very difficult line featuring a gigantic double cliff drop in extremely technical terrain. The judges awarded Altmann a score of 81.50. Rounding out the podium, a third FWT rookie Mickael Bimboes of France, had a solid run with many features including a steep straightline through a chute heading right into another air feature. Bimboes earned a scored of 77.75.

This was the first competition of the season for the female riders and started with snowboarding. Few names are synonymous with big mountain snowboarding like Shannan Yates of the United States who swiftly won her division with a very strong and smooth run down the fall line. Yates nice inclusion of technical features earned her a score of 70.00.
"The snow was really good but I noticed that certain areas had been effected by wind and decided to play it safe", explained Yates. "I am glad I stuck to that decision and am so excited to have won my first event of the season".
In second place, FWT newcomer Amber Schuecker of Austraila landed several airs with clean heal-side turns throughout her run. Schuecker’s score was 66.50. In third place, Swiss rider Estelle Balet received a score of 64.25 for her fluid run down the fall line.

Finally, the women’s skiers had the chance to tackle Aiguille Pourrie face. Jackie Passo, of the United States, executed one of the most daring moves of the day with incredible control on the take-off and a stomped landing. This move combined with her solid ski technique throughout the venue earned her a score of 80.50 and first place.
"I was debating whether or not I should choose to hit such a large cliff at this event but was advised by some of the male skiers that I could be successful with it", said Paaso. "Fortunately, it worked out perfectly and I am so excited to have won the competition today. It’s a great way to start the season".
Following Paaso in second place, Matilda Rapaport of Sweden had a creative line utilizing many terrain features with little hesitation. Rapaport earned a score of 75.00. In third place, Lorraine Huber of Austria was the first woman to ski and went huge of her airs. Huber’s score was 68.00



FWT14 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Ski HIGHLIGHT par FreerideWorldTourTV



FWT14 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Snowboard HIGHLIGHT par FreerideWorldTourTV

Hannes Reichelt Takes Victory on the Streif

In one of the most exciting races we have witnessed all season, Austrian Hannes Reichelt took home his first victory on the Streif. The hosting nation has been waiting since 2006 to see a local on top of the podium as, the last Austrian to win this race was Michael Walchhofer eight years ago.
"It was a great race, it’s special for an Austrian to win Kitzbuehel", a very happy Reichelt said. "It’s one of the dreams you have as a young skiracer. But the pressure on me was not too high, I had a great season so far but no victory and I was focused on my skiing. Finding the perfect line and doing what I have done in the past races, avoiding any mistakes especially before the flat section was my plan today. I think I had a perfect run in the end and it paid off", he continued.
Things kept changing quickly today in Kitzbuehel and victories were close to being celebrated a couple of times.
After winning the only disputed training run by almost a second, Bode Miller was the top favorite in today’s race. He skied a great run but made a few mistakes, which ended up costing him the victory. Wearing number 11, Miller crossed the finish line way ahead of the rest of the field, but with most of the top racers still at the start, Miller knew right away his time might not be fast enough for a victory.
"I skied well in the top, I didn’t do anything crazy but I skied well. I carried really good speed down Alte Schneise", Miller explained what happened during his run. "Off the Seidlalm jump I got really good air and I knew I was going and then I just got a little high-sided. It’s one of those mistakes that you really hate to make in downhill. I was almost in my tuck and the ski came underneath me and got rotated and on a long turn there’s nowhere to go; you’re completely stuck on your tail going out of the course on a dead flat. That mistake is just is just too big of a mistake, especially right there where you’re on a flat and then a long traverse and then in to the Larchenschuss and it just cost me way, way too much time. I knew it when I came across the finish line that I’d just wasted another opportunity to win this course. It’s not even so much beating the other guys, but skiing the course the way it’s meant to be skied. That obviously is my number one goal and it’s just really tough", Miller continued.
Still, Miller held on to his lead until Svindal came down seven bibs later beat Miller’s time by 0.13 seconds. For a few minutes it seemed as if that could have been the winning time today Hannes Reichelt ended up messing up Svindal’s plans.
"It’s a tough hill; there is a lot of history and it’s a legendary race because of all the years that this hill has been skied on. I’m happy with second, but for sure you always want to win", Svindal said. "I made a small mistake somewhere between the 3rd and 4th split and I had a feeling that a scenario like this could happen. But I did my best, you can’t do much more than cross the finish line and be in the lead. It was up to the other guys to beat my time and Reichelt did it", Svindal explained.
Reichelt didn’t seem as threat to Svindal as the top section of his run was not among the fastest ones (he clocked only the 17th time on the first intermediate time), but Reichelt picked up the pace in the lower section and with a really strong finish took the lead by 0.21 seconds, making the thousands of cheering fans explode in celebration.

Tina Maze Takes Victory in Second Cortina Downhill

With cold temperatures overnight and a perfectly clear weather the track got a bit icier than yesterday. Today the 51 racers started from the very top and Tina Maze best tamed the 2660 meter long Olympia delle Tofane to see her name at the top of the time sheets for the first time this season. The Slovenian champion clocked a time of 1:37.79, 0.31 seconds quicker than runner-up of the day, Switzerland's Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden, while Tina Weirather took third, 0.38 seconds off the pace, for a second podium in two days.
Winner of yesterday's Downhill, Maria Höfl-Riesch made "too many mistakes" and ended in fourth position, ahead of Anna Fenninger and Stacey Cook tied for fifth place, just 0.02 seconds behind the German.
Tina Maze has been on an onward trend since the Altenmarkt-Zauchensee races where Mauro Pini was introduced in the team as the new head coach. After taking 7th and 6th in the last two days, she put a mistake-free run together to climb onto the podium for the third time this season, but right on top today.
"Mauro brought peace in the team, it just became easier with him", she explained at the press conference. "We knew he was a great coach with a lot of experience. With him in the team I just have to focus on my skiing and not on other matters. He understood the situation and all the emotions going through my body and mind. He told me not to fight against but to accept the emotions and ski with it (...) In the Super-G on the first day I did a pretty good run, my skiing was solid, and that was very encouraging. In yesterday's downhill, I was skiing well before a little mistake in the lower section that cost me some speed and time. Today I managed to do a great run from top to bottom".
"I have had my ups and downs this winter and one learns much more from losing. It's just feels good right now", she concluded.
After winning her first World Cup victory last December in Val d'Isère, 27-year-old Marianne Kaufamann-Abderhalden, got her third season podium today.
"I am for sure really happy to be on the podium", she said. "I skied well in the top section. The middle part wasn't that good but I managed to build up some good speed for the last section. Yesterday I made two big mistakes and was just hoping for a mistake free run today. I'm glad it happened".
Tina Weirather has kept the momentum going from the start of the season to land her 9th podium today.
"Even if I finished third today, my run was better in comparison to yesterday where I was second", she said. "I went closer to my limit. My goal is actually to know how far I can go before going to the Olympics, that's why today is a great achievement (...) It's hard to have four races in a row win, I will try my best in tomorrow's super-G and will see what happen".

Friday, January 24, 2014

FWT14 - Chamonix Mont Blanc Event Confirmed for Saturday, January 25th

The second stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face in Chamonix is confirmed for Saturday 25/01.
The live webcast will start on www.freerideworldtour.com at 08:00 CET.
First rider to drop in from the Aiguille Pourrie at 8:15am CET.
Public access: at Flégère area, top of the Index chairlift

Here is a preview of what the venue looks like in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc filmed entirely with a GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition. Nicolas Hale-Woods Freeride World Tour Europe General Manager gave us their insights on the venue.

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 8. Girls Chamonix

Girls are joining in Chamonix the Freeride World Tour.

 

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).

FWT14 - BEST-OF - Courmayeur Mont Blanc

Felix Neureuther Wins Kitzbuehel Slalom

Felix Neureuther is the winner of the 2014 Hahnenkamm slalom. After a tight race between him and Marcel Hirscher in the first run, the Austrian straddled a gate in the second and Neureuther was able to celebrate his second career victory at the Classic venue.
"January was a dream month so far for me, it’s crazy", Neureuther said. "It was such a hard race today, maybe the hardest I have ever done. Everything about it was tough; it was so bumpy and hard to ski on. I wanted to do a safe second run and luckily it was enough. I already have a gondola but I am glad to add a second victory to it".
Henrik Kristoffersen clocked the second best time of the evening and after Adelboden added another big Classic podium to his account.
"Second run was really good, I made a few small mistakes in the first run but was able to ski smooth second run and I am really happy", the young Norwegian said. "I have to train a lot to be able to keep up with the big names such as Marcel or Felix", he added with a smile.
Italian Veteran Patrick Thaler is skiing some of the best slalom in his career as after almost being dropped from the team he decided to give it one last shot and quickly became the top Italian contender for a podium at this year’s races.
"First run was tough, a tough course set but I managed to ski a decent run. In the second one the plan was to fully attack and for sure I was a bit lucky with Hirscher skiing out. He would have been ahead for sure but he went out and I didn’t… that’s how thing go in this sport", Thaler said.
In 2009 a third place in Kitzbuehel was his first big achievement and today he repeated the feat. "The third place, which I achieved here was my first big success. Then I went off form for some time. Now it feels great to be back on the podium. I’m feeling good, my age is just a number", the 36-years-old skier said.
Today was the first Kitzbuehel night slalom in recent history but on the 25th December 1950 the Austrian resort hosted the first race under artificial lights in Central Europe providing a spectacular show for the 20000 fans which cheered for their favorites along the course.

Salomon Freeski TV: 24 Hours in Freeskiing


Salomon Freeski TV 7th season. "We criss cross through the lives of Bobby Brown, Mark Abma and Seb Eaves in 24 Hours of Freeskiing".

Höfl-Riesch Takes Victory in Cortina Downhill

Big favourite after impressive performances in training, Maria Höfl-Riesch put a flawless run together to pick up her 27th career victory, clocking a time of 1:17.84. Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather took second, 0.31 seconds off the pace. The battle for third place was very tight. Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer, starting with bib number 39, managed to overtake Lara Gut by only one hundredth of a second after a brilliant run.
With her third Downhill victory this season, Overall World Cup leader and Downhill World Cup leader Maria Höfl-Riesch equals her personal best from 2010/11, when she won three ladies' World Cup downhill races.
"It was not an easy race", she commented. "I knew I had to attack a lot and push to the limit. That's what I did. There were some difficult turns where some girls had big problems. But for me it went fine and that's a big day (...) I am strong on this course. But mistakes can happen anytime to anyone. I always try to perform the best I can and when no mistake happen like today, it feels good but that is for sure not that easy to do".
Tina Weirather landed her 7th season podium and sits now in second position in the overall standings, 158 point behind the winner of the day.
"Cortina has always been a bit different for me", said the 24-year-old. "I don't why but I always have been a little bit nervous and felt more pressure here than anywhere else. Therefore I am super happy I had two great races already this week and that there are still two to come (...) I skied in my comfort zone today but very close to the limit. That's what makes you ski fast", she concluded.
Super-G and giant slalom Junior World Champion in 2007, Nicole Schmidhofer made her second career podium after her first, exactly one year ago here in Cortina, finishing 2nd in the super-G race.
"I've had good feelings in the past days, I kind of knew I had improved. At the start I hoped for a good tail wind to help me go fast", she mentioned laughing at the press conference. "I hope to get a good result in the next races and make it difficult my coaches to choose who will race at the Olympics. I really would like to be part of it".

Arc'teryx: The Backyard Project. Ep. 2. Unexpected

Our backyards are often overlooked for farther and more exotic adventures. From his house in Squamish, BC Arc'teryx athlete Justin Lamoureux sees 30 different mountains. Rising from sea level to 9,000' these mountains are rarely visited during the winter. Follow along as he tries to ride them all in a single winter.
Ep. 2: After riding 9 of 30 mountains in episode 1, the coastal weather starts to play its hand in the project as Arc'teryx Athlete Justin Lamoureux continues to confront the challenges, joys and detours of discovering new lines in his backyard.

Skiing to Sochi with Maria Höfl-Riesch


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.

FWT14 - Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheler Alpen Teaser

Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheler is the third stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face. On the 1st of February, the best riders on the planet will battle it out in Wildseeloder - Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria.


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).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Skiing to Sochi with Ted Ligety


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.

Epic TV: Powdcast Ep. 2. Bad Weather Hampers the Start of the Freeride World Tour in Courmayeur


Freeriding is all about showing up, scoping a line and then shredding, right? Well, not exactly. As you will see in the first episode of the new series of POWdcast, there is much more to it than that. Our hero and host, Julien Lopez takes us to Courmayeur in northern Italy for the first stop on the Freeride World Tour. The riders are all there but the conditions aren't. Lack of snow and some nasty fog make scouting lines difficult and Julien spends a tense afternoon on the top of the mountain trying to figure out a winning descent, or maybe just a safe one. Watch all the planning and preparation that goes into putting together a successful run then see Julien try to bring it all to fruition. It's only the first comp of the year but things are already feeling tense. Stay tuned for the next stop of the tour as the riders head to Chamonix and hopefully better conditions.

Powdcast follows pro skier Julien Lopez around the Alps and the world as he competes on Freeride World Tour and rips it up with his buddies. In this series you'll go deep into the life of a pro freerider as Julien travels to some of the most spectacular locations on the planet, experiences the pressure of competition, rides truly awesome terrain, discovers the camaraderie of the freeskiing community and continues the eternal quest for the perfect line. POWdcast will take you on a journey, Julien is your guide - it's time to ride.

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 7. Judges Debrief

Hersha Patel was with Berti Denervaud to have the judges debrief from the First competition of the season of the Freeride World Tour 2014 in Courmayeur Mont Blanc.
 

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).

Elisabeth Goergl Wins Cortina Super-G

Austria's Elisabeth Goergl raced to her second season victory, clocking the fastest time in the first of the two Super-G races scheduled this week. World Cup leader Maria Höfl-Riesch finished just 0.04 seconds off the pace in second, while Austria's Nicole Hosp rounded out the podium, 0.34 seconds behind.
With today's win, Elisabeth Goergl has picked her sixth career World cup victory and landed her 37th podium. "What I am looking for everyday is the way to ski the best", she said at the press conference. "That the main focus and of course it is great when it pays off and you are the fastest. For now, I feel very comfortable on my equipment. I am very happy I can ski the way I want to and that I am healthy. I appreciate everyday".
Maria Höfl-Riesch was comfortable on the "Olimpia Delle Tofane" in training and took her confidence into today's race to climb onto the podium in super-G for the first time this season. "It's my first super-G podium of the season and that's great satisfaction", she admitted. "So far it hasn't worked fine for me in super-G. I was fast in some sections but always made big mistakes. Today I finally managed not to make any big mistake and I am really happy about this race (...) The season has been going well for me, not perfect but really good. Even in giant slalom, I got two fifth places. The consistency has been missing a little bit. With the Olympics getting closer, I hope I will have enough of this consistency and mental strength entering the races there".
Nicole Hosp missed the podium in the super combined race in Zauchensee for few hundredths of a second but showed today super-G was her best event at the moment. She already took third in Beaver Creek super-G last November. "I feel good this year in super-G", she commented. "I know I can be fast and for sure it's always nice when it works out and when you're standing on the podium. Maria and Lizz had both really good runs and I am not so far away. I am happy about it".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Loïc Collomb-Patton and Sammy Luebke Takes Victory in Courmayeur

The first stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face, concluded today on Cresta Youla. Although challenging visibility prevented the attempt last Friday from being successful, an exciting competition thrilled fans and athletes today at Courmayeur Mont Blanc. The international field of competitors was extremely eager to begin the season and start the quest to become the next FWT champions. Courmayeur Mont Blanc is the only stop on the FWT, which is exclusively a men’s competition.
Conditions in the Alps have been very difficult in the first part of the winter with high avalanche risks and thin snow in many places. Despite the tricky conditions, the FWT organizers together with the local guides found a face for the first stop of the competition season. Sunny skies and soft snow conditions provide the competition date was well worth the wait.
"We are certainly facing very tricky snow conditions in the Alps early this season", said FWT General Manager Europe Nicolas Hale-Woods. "On top of the safety aspect which is our priority number one, we also have to deal with what the weather has to offer in order to launch an event. We had a small window last Friday and tried to complete the competition without success. So we all waited in Courmayeur Mont Blanc for a better chance to compete and finally ran the event today in great conditions on the sunny side of the Monte Bianco".
The competition began with men's snowboarding. American rider Sammy Luebke worked his way to the top of the men's snowboard podium with a super fast start and a playful run ending with a solid front side 360. Luebke's run earned the top score of 80.50.
"I identified my line right away on the first day", said Men’s Snowboard Winner Sammy Luebke. "I considered other lines the last few days but am very glad I stuck with my original choice. The snow was really good with face shots throughout the venue".
In second place, Sascha Hamm of Great Britain earned a 72.5 with a high velocity run featuring a well-executed high-speed double cliff-drop. Rounding out the snowboard podium in third place, Ludo Guilllot-Diat of France executed a hard charging style, which earned him a score of 70.25.
In the men's skiing competition, FWT rookie rider Loïc Collomb-Patton of France managed the win with a high score of 88.50. Collomb-Patton's run consisted of an incredible high speed double right at the top of the venue and a huge 360 at the bottom. Running early in the start order, Collomb-Patton anxiously watched the remaining skiers who aimed to steal his lead.
"I was nervous to be on the Freeride World Tour but I was sure of my line", said Collomb-Patton. "I am so excited to have won my first competition of the season".
Following Collomb-Patton closely with a score of 87.5 was Josh Daiek of the United States. Daiek's dynamic and fully charged run proved speculations he is seriously pursing to regain a championship title this season. In third place with a score of 82.25 was Jérémie Heitz of Switzerland. There was little sign that Heitz is returning to the tour after injuries last season as he charged into the venue with a triple air right out of the start gate.

Epic TV: A La Française Ep. 2. When Was the Last Time You Saw This Much Un-Skied Powder?

French Skiing. French Riders. No Baguettes. This is a journey into the entire French ski scene brought to you by some of the best French riders on the planet. Ride with ze crew as they travel throughout the Alps and the Pyrenees, dropping, jibbing, freeriding and sessioning some of the best spots in France. Vive le freeski, vive les montagnes - this is A French Winter.



Welcome to Les Sybelles, a vast ski area tucked away in the southeast corner of France. It's not quite as well known as some other areas but the advantage of relative anonymity is that it still has plenty of untouched powder. Don't take our word for it, though: feast your eyes on the expansive fields of completely virgin pow that form the backdrop of this video. If you didn't know anything about skiing you would think that it was normal to have the entire untracked side of a mountain at the disposal of you and your closest friends. For Alexandre Giraud, Fabrice Dompnier, and Jérôme Chanal maybe it is, but something tells us they aren't giving up the coordinates of their favorite haunts to just anyone. They did mention that they filmed around Le Corbier, Fontcouverte-la-Toussuire, and St Sorlin d'Arves, but after that you're on your own.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 6. Felix Wiemers

In this webisode, Hersha visited skier Felix Wiemers. He explained the benefits of his gymnastic training for the Freeride.



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).

FWT14 - Courmayeur Mont Blanc Event Confirmed for Wednesday, January 22nd

The first stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face in Courmayeur Mont Blanc Funivie is confirmed for Wednesday 22/01.
The live webcast will start on www.freerideworldtour.com at 10:30 CET so that everyone can enjoy the jaw dropping action live from the sunny side of the Mont Blanc!
Onsite public viewing area on top of the chairlift at Plan de la Gabba (easy slope accessible from Plan Checrouit).
Here is a preview of what the venue looks like in Courmayeur Mont Blanc filmed entirely with a GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition. Drew Tabke and Griffin Post gave us their insights.

 

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 5. Patrick Baskins

In this webisode Hersha was hanging out with Patrick Baskins, a newcomer on the FWT14.



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).

Monday, January 20, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 4. Ludo Guillot-Diat

Here is the 4th FWT14 Journal webisode with Ludo Guillot-Diat interviewed by Hersha. Ludo gives you his freeriding vision and his feeling about the competition.



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).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alexis Pinturault Wins World Cup Slalom in Wengen

With a fantastic second run, Alexis Pinturault became the winner of the 20114 Wengen slalom. The young French was in seventh position after the first run, trailing 0.88 seconds behind the leader Hirscher. By clocking the fastest time of the second run he defied most predictions and snatched his second career slalom victory ahead of Felix Neureuther and Marcel Hirscher who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
"I tried to take my chance and it paid off", an extremely happy Pinturault said after his second run. "Its amazing for me, after a tough beginning of the season in slalom I am so happy to be on the podium today, especially to be on the top of it! Today I have added a nice Classic victory to my collection and I never thought I would do this when starting 16th. I tried to attack and take my chances in the second run and I was hoping for a podium but I never dreamed it could be a victory for me here today", he continued.
After earning a DNF in the Adelboden slalom, Neureuther was looking to regain his confidence and after being a bit disappointed by the way he skied in his first run, he picked up the pace in the second and claimed a spot on the podium. "When you have a DNF, the next race is never easy and I am absolutely thrilled with my second place today. This past week I focused on training, cleared my head, went back to thinking positively and today is the result of it", Neureuther explained.
Neureuther had to give it all to stay at the front in the second run and in the end the fifth time of the second run was enough to grant him the second place.
"Rankings were very tight after the first run and I knew that things could go either way. I knew I had to really attack to catch the guys in front of me but Alexis had a really, really good second run and he just went too far", the German continued.
Marcel Hirscher knew that retaining his lead wouldn’t be an easy task, especially as temperatures kept increasing and by his turn it was significantly marked in some sections.
"You have to give it your personal 100%, otherwise you have no chance to be part of the podium but today in some parts I took too much risk while in others I simply had no speed", the leader in the World Cup Slalom standings said. "I think the mistake in the last part of the slope cost me the victory, but either way I think it would have been extremely difficult to beat Alexis as his second run was maybe one of the best slalom runs I have ever seen. I’m very happy with this result in general but I am far from happy with the way I skied in the second run".

Sochi 2014 Licensing Program Sets Records in 2013

In the lead up to the Winter Olympics, the Sochi 2014 Licensing Program has been setting Olympic sales records. In 2013, licensees have made every effort to ensure that fans have all the Sochi 2014 branded necessities. Millions of mugs and magnets, thousands of stuffed mascots, kilometers of sweets, and tons of accessories have been sold to date.
If placed side by side, 220 km of marmalade candy with the Sochi 2014 logo has been sold, approximately one third the distance from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and if you tied Olympic blankets into one rope, the length would equal that of the ski slopes at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort. Additionally, more than 960 thousand Polar Bears have been sold, and more than 50 million table hockey and air hockey games, 877 times the number of indoor ice arenas in Russia. During this period, more than 2 million mugs and 3.5 million magnets, keychains, and Sochi 2014 travel accessories, with a total weight of seven tons, were purchased; nearly the same as the cauldron at Fisht Stadium.
The Sochi 2014 Licensing Team is continuing its sales efforts into 2014, producing even more goods leading up to the largest sporting event in the world. Before the Games, a total of 75,000 cross-country skis are expected to be sold (enough to "close" the Moscow Ring Road), 300,000 pairs of skates (the boxes of which could pave Fischt Olympic Stadium, the largest Olympic Stadium in history), and 260,000 footballs (which if lined in a row, would stretch along the entire 104 km coast of Big Sochi). Over 5.5 million souvenirs are expected to be sold - more than the combined population of Sochi and St. Petersburg.
Official Sochi 2014 merchandise can be purchased from a broad retail network across Russia. On the eve of the Olympic Games, the Main Sochi 2014 Olympic Store opened at the GUM in Moscow and the Olympic Store was launched in Sochi. Both carry a wide selection of licensed products to suit all tastes. Stores across the country like Sportmaster, Begemot, Carousel, Pyatyorochka and Perekrestok have special departments for Sochi 2014, and there is an official Sochi 2014 Online store that is open 24 hours a day http://shop.sochi2014.com. Souvenirs can even be purchased through vending machines, which are installed in the offices of Games Partners.
During the New Year holidays citizens and visitors of Moscow received another surprise to remind them of the upcoming Games in Sochi; the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Metro Line made its first trip, decorated with images of the Games mascots in the style of a patchwork quilt. Inside these colorful train cars, passengers can read information about the Games, licensed goods, tickets, spectator pass and much more. The Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line is one of the longest and is one of the most popular among passengers; moreover, this line uses the newest type of railway equipment. The train, using these modern cars, has been decorated with Olympic symbols.
Another branded underground train will soon appear, serving as an invitation to the Games in Sochi for all Muscovites and visitors to the capital.
The Sochi 2014 Licensing Program began in 2009. Approximately 5000 licensed souvenirs with the Sochi 2014 logo will be released. The total sales of official Sochi 2014 licensed products may total over $500 million. Direct revenues of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee from licensing programs may exceed $30 million. Already, 55 contracts have been signed in connection with the licensing program in categories such as clothing and footwear, sporting goods, tableware, office and school supplies, stationery, gifts, toys and many others.

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.

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 3. Contest Posponed


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).

The Wonder Reels, S2: Episode 6 - The Dopamine Rush

A University professor unveils the relationship between daredevils, DNA and the quest for the dopamine rush. Whistler Blackcomb unveils the path to satisfying the craving with some of the steepest and deepest in-bounds terrain anywhere in the world.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kueng Claims Victory for Switzerland in Wengen

Downhill day finally came around in Wengen and thousands of fans eagerly awaited the beginning of one of the coolest races of the season. What started like a beautiful and sunny morning soon turned into a day far from ideal for downhill racing. Through the morning the wind picked up its pace and about an hour before the scheduled start time, it was so strong in the top section of the course that the Jury had to make a call to lower the start to a reserve position – below the Hundschopf Jump, one of the highlight sections of the Lauberhorn.
But if fans might have been disappointed by the shortened course and missed opportunity to see one of the most spectacular jumps on the tour, certainly got their tickets worth as Swiss Patrick Kueng put down a flawless run and skied to his first downhill victory. The Swiss has showed he could be one of the top contenders in todays race after finishing 4th and 5th in the two training runs and today he topped the very tight podium ahead of Hannes Reichelt and Aksel Lund Svindal.
Out of the top three skiers, Reichelt is the one with the most familiarity with the downhill podium in Wengen as he has finished 2nd in 2012 and 3rd last year. It has been a successful season so far for Reichelt who celebrated podium placements in Beaver Creek (2nd in DH and 3rd in SG) and in Bormio where he finished just after Svindal.
Svindal was very pleased with his podium in Wengen, especially since his only other podium placement at the Swiss Classic came in the form of a 3rd place in the 2011 super combined race. With today’s third place Svindal retained his red leader’s bib and is currently 100 points ahead of Reichelt in the downhill Cup Standings. At the same time he increased his Overall World Cup lead ahead of Marcel Hirscher by an additional 60 points and is now leading by 83 points.
The shortened course made it a very tight race with the top 15 finisher all skiing within one second from the leading time.

Saas-Fee To Host Again The Ice Climbing World Cup

From 18th to 25th January 2014, Saas-Fee will once again play host to the Ice Climbing World Cup. This year the famous week-long iceclimbing event will be even more spectacular thanks to new climbing features.

15 years Ice Climbing Worldcup!
Two weekends of events in the Saas Valley around ice and snow.
From today, ice-climbing freaks from across the globe will once again flock to Saas-Fee. A programme of action-packed sporting events and legendary ice-climbing parties in the multi-storey car park.
The ice climbing competitions in the park of Saas-Fee are an excellent opportunity national and international athletes and the lively atmosphere of theice climbing scene to witness first hand! The competitions will take place in a special, unique location, so surely there is no more second time. The 10-storey car park in Saas-Fee, where the competitions can take place regardless of weather, with its roundabout provides a great backdrop audience.

The disciplines: Lead and Speed

In Lead climbing, competitors have to master a long, difficult and unfamiliar route in a given amount of time. Routes can be anything up to 35 metres in height. Besides the ice wall itself, climbers must contend with obstacles such as overhangs, hanging ice blocks and tricky rock sections. Ice climbers consider this discipline the ultimate challenge. The winner is the competitor who covers the greatest distance in the allotted time. One way of measuring
this is by counting the number of carabiners that the climbers manage to clip the rope through.
As its name suggests, the competition’s second discipline is all about speed. As soon as the starting barrier falls, the competitors leap onto the 15-metre vertical wall of ice and scramble to the top at a breath-taking pace – just like Spiderman! Top athletes can complete the course in an incredible 13 seconds. In 2012 this discipline will be run in parallel for the first time.

Another hightlight on Friday 24 will be the concert to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Ice On Tour. The live concert of the rock n'roll band "Whole lotta DC" will reach a boiling point at th car park of Saas-Fee. The AC/DC tribute band from switzerland celebrate music with their heart.


Programme (full details):

18.01.2014: Ice climbing Swiss Championship
24.01.2014: UIAA Iceclimbing Worldcup
25.01.2014: UIAA Iceclimbing Worldcup

World Snow Day: Free Skiing For Children in Zermatt

On 19 January 2014, the Zermatt-Matterhorn destination will give children a wonderful skiing experience in the snow. On the third World Snow Day, children between the ages of 4 and 14 are invited to enjoy a day of free skiing in the Matterhorn ski paradise.
Zermatt offers not only skeeing for free for chlindren on the 19th January 2014. Papagallo & Collo go with the children during their entertainment show on a discovery trip.
However, it is not only on World Snow Day that the Zermatt-Matterhorn destination assists children and their families. In Zermatt, skiing is free for children till the age of 9 throughout the winter and teenagers till 16 can zoom down the pistes for free every Saturday. The Zermatt skiing area boasts four Slow Slopes and has several Children and beginner zones. On top of this, the destination was awarded the "Families welcome" seal of quality by the Swiss Tourism Federation in January 2013.
The train journey to Zermatt and back is free within the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn network.
Service providers at the Zermatt-Matterhorn destination have prepared an attractive programme under the motto "Bring Children to the Snow". The little guests will be divided into skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing groups. Ski passes, ski instructors and supervisors will be provided free of charge. In the afternoon, a kids’ party with catering and entertainment programme will be organised on the skating rink. Kids entertainment will be provided by Dan Daniell singing the Wolli song and by the kids show "Papagallo und Gollo".
Wolli is The Zermatt – Matterhorn destination mascot. Wolli is a young, adventurous black-nosed sheep. The idea and the character are rooted in the culture of the shepherds of Zermatt. Dan Daniell - entertainer, singer, chef and owner of a restaurant - wrote a children's book called "Wolli on the Matterhorn" with charming drawings created by the illustrator Martina Friedli. The figure can be seen everywhere where companies in the destination offer high quality products and services to families with children. Wolli helps them to find their way around.

World Snow Day is the second phase of the 'Bring Children to the Snow' campaign. The first phase of the campaign, called SnowKidz, was launched in 2009. The SnowKidz project aims to encourage FIS Member National Ski Associations to promote snow sports within their country. Meanwhile, World Snow Day looks beyond the FIS membership to the wider snow sports community. It seeks to motivate children aged from 4-14 by encouraging all stakeholders to celebrate all things snow around the world simultaneously.

Snow Sports for All on 3rd World Snow Day

The third edition of World Snow Day the largest winter event in the world, set to be held tomorrow Sunday 19th January 2014, aims to bring children aged between four and fourteen - together with their families - to the slopes, trails and tracks, in a fun-filled day of events, activities and competitions on snow.
Set to be the largest edition yet, over 610 organisers in 35 countries will be staging unique, fun, friendly, and in some countries, nationwide events in celebration of all things on snow.
From free skiing and snowboarding in 72 resorts across Austria or free lessons in Poland, to a snow festival in Zermatt, Switzerland, or snow sport demonstrations from the Canadian Ski Patrol with an emphasis on safety, this year’s World Snow Day has seen unprecedented engagement from local and national organisers.
World Snow Day is an annual snow festival offering a variety of activities for children and families. The main goal is to encourage the participants, young and not so young, to explore, enjoy and experience the snow, not only to promote recreational skiing and snowboarding, but also to learn more about the environment.
This event is part of the International Ski Federation (FIS)’s "Bringing children to the snow" campaign, which shares the common mission with the IOC’s Sport for All Commission to promote sport and physical activity to people of all ages and abilities across the world. The initiative, including World Snow Day, has featured as a case study in the IOC’s first Sport for All guide - Get Moving! - which combines practical guidance and inspirational cases aimed at assisting and motivating participants in the development of new programmes.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ligety Wins First World Cup Super Combined

The first super combined of the season proved a great success as in an exciting downhill battle Ted Ligety clenched his 20th career Audi FIS Alpine World Cup victory. Despite being the 2006 Olympic combined gold medalist and 2013 World Champion in super combined, Ligety has never won in World Cup in any other discipline than Giant Slalom.
"It’s nice to win a super combined finally. I’ve only done so in big events, which is a nice thing to do, but it would have been good to win a World Cup before now (...). To get this win is a nice confidence booster and it feels really good because January has been a rough month for me so far so its nice to turn the corner on that one", Ligety said.
"It was tough today. There was a lot of snowfall but they groomed the track and it was not the greatest snow to ski downhill on, but I feel lucky that we had good light. In downhill if I don't feel confident enough to go hard I let myself go slow so I can see where I’m going. I was lucky in the morning running first because I got a super smooth course and that helped me relax and stay enough ahead of the downhill guys despite not skiing a fantastic run. I had a great downhill run and feel lucky that I can nab Alexis on this one because he is one of the best competitors out there".
Last year’s winner Alexis Pinturault was leading 1.22 seconds ahead of Ligety after the slalom, but despite skiing a really strong downhill run, it was not fast enough to hold on to his leading place. He finished second, a mere 0.22 seconds behind Ligety. "This is both a lost victory and a fantastic second place (..). This race is not like a GS or SL, it’s a specific downhill combined to a difficult slalom so if you are stronger in slalom like me, you have to fully attack it. Than in the downhill I only had to avoid making any mistakes and see where that gets me. In the end Ligety was just too strong for me in the downhill. I tried to make a good DH, it was a nice one for me, maybe on some sections I could have been faster but I am second and I’m really happy about that. Now I have to focus on the slalom, I know I can do well here", Pinturault said.
Natko Zrncic-Dim has been struggling this season to find his form but this morning some piece of the puzzle fell back in place as he skied a great slalom run and kept his momentum into the downhill, despite not doing so well in the training runs.
"This result is great", the Croatian exclaimed after realizing this would be his first podium in three years. "I'm glad that I skied an excellent slalom and then the downhill was good too, I am happy to be back on the podium. It's different when you ski a normal downhill, which is two and a half minutes long, or this one, which is almost a minute shorter. It immediately changes things. I skied better today and I am very satisfied".
A podium today was far from what Zrncic-Dim expected today. "I secretly hoped I could do well, but I knew, even after the slalom that there are very good guys today and that anything could have happened in the downhill, nevertheless I gave it all and I made it!".

U.S. Ski Resorts Report Occupancy Increase in December

Favorable snowfall in December in most mountain regions throughout the country helped boost lodging occupancy and revenues for the month according to the most recent data released by DestiMetrics (formerly the Mountain Travel Research Program-MTRiP). The monthly Mountain Market Briefing also revealed that the upward trend in both occupancy and revenue is carrying into the remainder of the season aided by generally positive economic indicators.
Nationally, mountain resorts saw an aggregated 6.2 percent increase in actual occupancy and a 12.3 percent increase in revenues for the month of December. Western resorts posted a 6.5 percent increase in actual occupancy compared to last year with revenues up 13.3 percent while participating properties at Eastern resorts, experienced a 2.1 percent increase in actual occupancy and a 3.6 percent increase in revenues during the holiday month. 
Looking forward, business on-the-books is positive for the remainder of the season with the booking pace during December for western destinations up 6.1 percent and for eastern resorts up 8.3 percent. 
"With a good early start and strong holiday season behind us, we can confirm that our earlier expectations have been met", observed Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. "Now the post holiday booking pace has picked up and with it, prospects for a strong season of destination travel are continuing to look positive in most regions", he added.
The monthly Briefing also provides an analysis of key economic variables that have the potential to shape leisure travel behavior. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) finished December up an additional 3.05 percent, resulting in an annual gain of 3,473 points or 26.4 percent for the year.
"Although this meteoric rise in the Dow was good news, it wasn’t necessarily reflective of the overall consumer economy which paced well behind financial markets, though it did improve moderately", explained Tom Foley, operations director for DestiMetrics. "We’re definitely keeping an eye on that disparity as we’re not sure that Wall Street is as good an indicator of ‘Main Street’ as it was in the past", he added.
Although the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rose 6.1 points in December, Foley noted that this was only the fifth increase in consumer confidence in the past year and that there is lingering pessimism among consumers about earnings stability. Another dip in the Unemployment Rate was also accompanied by a cautionary message that December was the weakest month of the entire year for job creation and that the decrease also reflects more job seekers dropping out of the job hunt.
Despite the somewhat mixed assessment of economic indicators, skiers and riders are booking winter vacations at a higher level than in recent years.
"Now that nearly a quarter of the entire ski season’s business is already ‘in the bank,’ and another 50 percent is ‘on the books,’ the remainder of the season is looking increasingly positive and could result in one of the industry’s best years ever if both the weather and economy continue to cooperate", summarized Garrison.
DestiMetrics data come from 290 property management companies in 19 western mountain destination communities across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming; and from 10 eastern destinations representing 4,500 rooms in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia and Maine.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 2. Face Check Courmayeur

In this second episode, Hersha follows the FWT riders during the first face check of the year, in Courmayeur Mont Blanc.
The first stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face in Courmayeur Mont Blanc Funivie is confirmed for Friday 17/01.
The live webcast will start on www.freerideworldtour.com at 10:30 CET so that everyone can enjoy the jaw dropping action live from the sunny side of the Mont Blanc!
Onsite public viewing area on top of the chairlift at Plan de la Gabba (easy slope accessible from Plan Checrouit).

 

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).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 1



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).

FWT14 - Courmayeur Mont Blanc Event Confirmed for Friday, January 17th

The first stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face in Courmayeur Mont Blanc Funivie is confirmed for Friday 17/01.
The live webcast will start on www.freerideworldtour.com at 10:30 CET so that everyone can enjoy the jaw dropping action live from the sunny side of the Mont Blanc!
Onsite public viewing area on top of the chairlift at Plan de la Gabba (easy slope accessible from Plan Checrouit).