Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ski Women Highlights From FWT15 Fieberbrunn Kitzbueheler Alpen

The women started after a few delays while waiting for the wind to blow the clouds away. The contest took place in beautiful sunshine with a cold, dry but thin snow cover. Lotten Rapp (SWE) laid out a top section with fast, short turns heading decisively towards the biggest feature in the top section on the skiers right, which she stomped perfectly. She then continued aggressively through the central part showing solid legs and no hesitation, attacking her big bottom feature with confidence, earning her the 1st place with a score of 72.00.
An excited Lotten said she had fun today: "As a rookie it was really fun to win here today and now I'm looking forward to Andorra because last year when I was in Andorra, I was leading the Qualifier and I was really nervous – Now I can feel more relaxed, so that feels really good. My feeling for the season is that I really, really want to go to Alaska and also to Verbier. I live in the zone for the moment and every morning I watch the Bec des Rosses [the legendary competition face of Verbier] and I just think: I want to ski that!!!".
In 2nd position with a score of 70.00 was Eva Walkner (AUT) who took advantage of her late start number, seeing her colleagues having trouble. She picked a less risky line, spicing it up with speed, charging down the central powder pad and into the tight couloir on the skiers' right before throwing a small, technical double at the bottom part. 
"Snow conditions in the slope were extremely fine, but cliffs poked out at the take-offs which made it very difficult to jump. Conditions were also difficult due to the mountain pines that looked out of the snow. I did a safety run without taking any risks, that's why I didn't show any tricks or big features. I'm very happy with the result!" Eva stated.
Lorraine Huber (AUT) showed experience and mastery of the freeride discipline by choosing a technical line with controlled air risk, knowing that today would be a day with high risk of getting stuck with the then thin snow cover. She got a score of 68.00. With Christine Hargin (SWE) and Sylvia Moser (ITA) second and third going into this event, both crashing today, Lorraine's third place opens a small possibility for her to qualify for Alaska, despite missing the first event in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. "This third place is like a victory for me. I broke my ankle 5 weeks ago and I'm very glad that I was able to start here at Fieberbrunn. I also had new equipment. I really enjoyed my run. I'd like to dedicate this 3rd place to my family. They have been extremely helpful over the last weeks. I wouldn't be here without them", says a smiling Lorraine. 
 Spectators showed up by the thousands, enthusiastic as usual, following the action with a direct view on the face supported by giant screen live coverage, replays and freeride experts commenting the rides. Some national celebrities showed up - not least, the Austrian World Champion pilot, Hannes Arch who put on a fantastic air show just above - and around! -the crowds.
Unfortunately the three other categories will have to be patient, as they couldn't compete today. They have been put on stand-by until later this week. With part of the face not rideable due to lack of base layer snow, making the allowed area narrower than usual the feared scenario that the snow was getting too thin in key areas became a reality. This meant that despite the beautiful blue skies and recent snowfalls over the Kitzbüheler Alpen, a fair and safe competition was no longer possible after the women's skiing category.
 FWT General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI) made the following statement on the hill: "Safety comes first and together with the judges, we believe that after the first category - the ski women - the venue deteriorated very fast presenting some traps, especially those bushes that were out more than what we expected and we decided that the minimum level of security was not there any more. We didn't want to have the 45 riders play with their health. Therefore, we decided to stop the competition. We will assess the options of finding mountains and a good window within the planned weather waiting period which goes till Thursday".

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