Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017. Haines Alaska Competition Confirmed

The snow storm that has been hitting Haines for the past few days is finally over and some good weather is forecast for today Tuesday March 21st. aiming at a Live Webcast start at 9:45AM (Local Time).
Everyone will witness riders become their inner hero as they push their limits on the fantastically vast Alaskan terrain – but riders need to keep their feet on this earth if they intend to make the last cut for the finale in Verbier.
Take a look at last year's Competition:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Andre Myhrer Wins Last Race of The Season, Marcel Hirscher Claims 6th Overall Title

In a repeat performance from last season's finals, Andre Myhrer of Sweden claimed victory in the last slalom of the year for his first podium finish since St. Moritz in 2016. Felix Neureuther skied a blistering second run to move from sixth into second place. Austria's Michael Matt held on for the final podium spot in third.
Andre Myhrer has struggled this season with back problems and has not been on a World Cup podium since his win at Finals one year ago. At the end of a long season, the Swede is ready for some much deserved R&R after some spring ski testing.
"The course was, of course, tough in the second run, but it held up good", Myhrer explained. "You have to stay in the track on a day like this to really get the speed going. I had a good feeling from first run to second run and was a little bit nervous at the start, but I tried to charge it and managed to go out with a win, so I’m really happy about that; it’s been a tough season for me and it’s nice to end it this way and get some motivation for next season".
Marcel Hirscher led after the first run but fell back to fourth place, still he collected his fourth career slalom globe. It capped off a career-best season for the Austrian technical ace with two World Championship titles, two discipline globes, and his sixth consecutive Overall title.
"It is amazing. You know, we are often thinking about it – how many years it will be possible to ski on this high level – but at the moment it’s a lot of fun", said Hirscher. "Well, I’m hoping for it [to get even better] because otherwise then it’s better to stop at the moment. But anyway, it will be a challenging summer for me and for the whole team to be in shape for next season".

Italians Sweep Final Podium, Tessa Worley Wins Giant Slalom Title

On the final day of World Cup racing in the 2016/17 season, Federica Brignone led an Italian podium sweep in the GS – the first time the Italian women have done so in World Cup racing since 1996. She was joined on the podium by Sofia Goggia in second and Marta Bassino in third. All season the Italian women have proved they are the strongest team in the discipline.
Federica Brignone celebrated her third World Cup win of the season and the fifth of her career. The Italian earned her first-ever career podium at Aspen in 2009, and in total has podiumed at the venue five times.
"I tried to attack from the first gate to the finish in the first run and even the second run", Brignone shared. "I was really stressed before the first run. I know I like the slope so much, but then it’s always not easy, and there were many, many changing gates, so it was short sometimes and long, and turny and not turny, so you had to stay on the line and stay on the rhythm always".
The podium sweep was the ultimate way for the Italians to end the season.
"This is, I think, one of the best days of my life, being on the podium with these two girls and two Italians", Brignone said. "It was amazing. It was really, really, really fun. But I didn’t know they were in front actually. I didn’t know nothing. I just went down and skied for myself and gave my best and when I crossed the finish line, I saw that I was in front, but I didn’t see who was second or third at the beginning. And then, I just heard the speaker saying, ‘Oh, second place Goggia, third Bassino,’ and it was amazing".
For Goggia, the podium finish was the cherry on top of her best season yet. The Italian earned 13 World Cup podium results this season across four disciplines. Her season also included two wins at the test events in Jeongseon, South Korea–the venue where next year’s Winter Olympic Games will be held. Just three hundredths behind her was Bassino. At 21 years old, she has three World Cup podiums to her name–all in giant slalom, and she was in the top 10 in seven of the nine World Cup GS races she started.

With a fifth-place finish, Tessa Worley earned her career-first discipline globe, besting Mikaela Shiffrin by 85 points in the standings. Worley secured the first GS globe for a French woman since 1993.
"It was tough. Truly it was. I mean, I really wanted to ski with my heart, but my mind was always taking over sometimes. And in the second run, I knew I didn’t have a choice so I just went for it, kept it simple and I’m just really, really happy with the season. It wasn’t a dream! I mean, it’s true", said Worley with the globe in her hand. "I mean this season like I said it was a dream. Everything went so well. We worked really hard, but now I have it and the whole team has it, so I’m just really, really proud. There were some tough moments, but I made it, so I’m so happy".

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017. Haines Alaska Teaser

Date: March, 2017; Location: Haines
The Swatch Freeride World Tour Haines Alaska remains On Hold. Next call tomorrow for a potential competition on Tuesday 21st.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (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. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Petra Vlhova Wins The Slalom Race in Aspen, Mikaela Shiffrin Grabs Crystal Globe

Petra Vlhova held onto her first-run lead to claim her first race victory in a season. Mikaela Shiffrin, who secured the slalom title last week, pushed hard in the second run but ultimately finished in second. Frida Hansdotter rounded out the race podium in third.
The women of the World Cup took the Aspen slope in spring conditions. Temperatures hovered around 60 degrees at midday, and by second run, the snow was slushy. As each woman descended, fans could see the groove grow next to the gates. That did not stop first run winner Petra Vlhova of Slovakia from building on her lead to take the final win of the season with a combined time of 1:32.00.
"This victory, I needed it", Vlhova said. "Because after Squaw Valley, I was really upset because I know that I am fast, but sometimes I do some mistakes and if you want to win, you have to ski without mistakes".
Petra Vlhova was on the podium two other times this season in Levi, Finland, and Zagreb, Croatia. The Slovakian has one other victory to her name from Are, Sweden, last season.

Mikaela Shiffrin finished the day in second place, 0.24 seconds behind Vlhova, and while the result was not the win that she was likely looking for, she enjoyed the day.
This marked the 44th World Cup podium finish of her career.
Before today's race American Mikaela Shiffrin had already mathematically secured the 2016-17 World Cup overall globe–the first of her career–as well as the slalom globe.
"It’s beautiful", noted Shiffrin. "I love racing at Aspen and I love racing in front of a home crowd. It was a good day." She has yet to fully process the accomplishment of the Overall title. "No, I don’t know if I’ll ever process [the Overall globe]. It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was five years old, and it’s really difficult to understand something that finally happens after 20 years".
Frida Hansdotter was in third place, 0.35 seconds away from the win. Hansdotter was ahead of Shiffrin after the first run, but was unable to maintain her lead.
Veronika Velez Zuzulova in second and Wendy Holdener in third completed the slalom standings podium.

Marcel Hirscher Ends GS Season With a Victory in Aspen

Marcel Hirscher won his third giant slalom race in a row to cap off the season where he held onto the discipline title despite advances from a number of competitors. In the come-from-behind race victory, Hirscher took down first-run leader Felix Neureuther – who ultimately finished second – by 0.53 seconds and third-place finisher Mathieu Faivre by 1.19 seconds with a spectacular second run.
This season was Hirscher’s fourth career GS title and was able to fend off some incredibly fast skiing from his rivals, particularly that of Pinturault, who held the lead in the season standings until Hirscher took advantage of Pinturault’s finishing struggles."You know today’s race was very tough but you’ve known me for quite a long time and for me every race is very serious and I want to win it if it is possible", said Hirscher, referencing both his competition and warm temperatures. "I’m super, super happy protecting the globe from Alexis Pinturault this season. It means a lot to me because at the beginning of the season he was unbelievably fast, so I proved myself to be pretty good during the season".
Felix Neureuther managed to battle through back, knee, and equipment issues this season and was very happy to end his GS season with a second-place finish. No doubt that the German will be eyeing the top step of the podium again on Sunday in the slalom.
Faivre’s third place was enough to vault the Frenchman into second place in the GS standings. With his maiden win under his belt this season, look for big things not only from Faivre, but the rest of the incredibly strong French giant slalom team in the coming years.
"I am very happy about my race; today was the last for me. I am happy to finish this one on the podium and, of course, in second pace for the GS standings. I try to not check the points, but it’s impossible to not know. I just did my skiing and had a lot of fun, and I’m happy about the result today. The only thing I want to do is always improve my skiing and my physique, and I’m happy to finish this season better than the last season".


Friday, March 17, 2017

Sweden Wins Nations Team Event in Aspen

It became tradition that the World Cup Finals host an Alpine Team Event on the transition day between the speed and the tech races. In Aspen, The swedish team of Frida Hansdotter, Emelie Winkstroem, Mattias Hargin and Andre Myhrer took down the German team of Lena Duerr, Marina Wallner, Stefan Luitz, and Linus Strasser three points to one in the final round. In the small final for third place, the French team of Adeline Baud Mugnier, Coralie Frasse Sombet, Jean-Baptiste Grange, and Julie Lizeroux was victorious over Italy’s team of Chiara Costazza, Irene Curtoni, Patrick Thaler, and Giuliano Razzoli.
A total of eight teams were registered for the parallel event: Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Norway, Germany, Slovenia and Sweden. Starting in the quarter-finals, four teams managed to qualify for the semi-finals and battle for the podium spots.
Italy met France in the small final for the third place, where Adeline Baud Mugnier, Coralie Frasse Sombet, Jean-Baptiste Grange and Julien Lizeroux all laid down a faster time. After winning the gold medal in the Alpine Team Event at the World Championships in St. Moritz, France claims another podium in the discipline.
The big final saw Sweden battle against Germany. With Frida Hansdotter winning over Lena Duerr, Stefan Luitz unable to finish giving the win to Matthias Hargin and Marina Waller finishing behind Emelie Wikstroem, the last heat with André Myhrer and Linus Strasser could not change the feat: Sweden earned the win in the Alpine Team Event, giving Sweden a second World Cup victory in this season, after Hansdotter’s success in Flachau.

The Nation’s Team Event is due to join the Olympic Program in 2018, making every one of the competitions between now and then an important test for the newest Olympic event.The compact knockout format race features two male and two female racers per team with the best combined time advancing to the next round.
The race is a dual paralel slalom with pro jumps—pitting a racer from one country against another. With times coming in between 22 and 24 seconds, athletes squeaked out wins by hundredths of a second.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hannes Reichelt Claims Final Super-G in Aspen

Hannes Reichelt walked away with the hard-fought win with a time of 1:08.22 seconds. Joining the Austrian on the podium was Wednesday’s downhill winner, Italy’s Dominik Paris, in second, 0.11 seconds back, and a tie for third between Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Swiss Mauro Caviezel, 0.33 second off of Reichelt’s pace.
Ever the tactician, the 36-year-old Reichelt credits his years of experience for his form in the twilight of his career. After starting the season late due to a back surgery in September, the veteran didn’t miss a beat once he returned and was quickly among the fastest racers on tour.
"I’m really happy about the end of the season with the victory", he said. "The beginning of the season was not easy for me; I had the surgery in September and my goal was to get in shape for the World Champs. The World Champs were not so good for me, but after World Champs in super-G, I really get in good shape".
It’s a good thing for Kjetil Jansrud that he secured the globe two weeks ago in Kvitfjell. His three wins at the beginning of the season and good performances allowed him to claim the 2016/17 super-g title. It’s the third career globe for Jansrud, and the sixth super-g globe in a row for Norway.
"It’s tough going first, but the reason why I did it was to send a message up to the start to Kilde to try and get him some info starting three and maybe let him grab a win at the end of the season", Jansrud said. "It’s been six years now, before that, Austria had a period where they maybe took six or seven in a row. I think it’s a mix of me being focused on speed disciplines, of course, but also doing a lot of technical training, doing a lot of giant slalom, and I hope it continues".

Race and Super-G Title for Tina Weirather in Aspen

Tina Weirather claimed both the race win and the globe today in Aspen, Colorado.
Tina Weirather and Ilka Stuhec were the only candidates for the super-g season title, with the Slovenian having a 15 points lead over the athlete from Liechtenstein. With bib number 5, Weirather laid down a very solid run, one that no one after her would be able to beat. Even Stuhec, who topped two super-gs this season and earned the downhill globe yesterday, crossed the finish line +0.35 off the pace, to claim second place and offer the discipline season title to Weirather. The daughter of Hanni Wenzel and Harti Weirather can now complete the family collection and bring home her first career globe. Her mother Hanni Wenzel claimed seven crystal globes in her career while Tina’s father Harti Weirather earned one. They became the first mother-daughter pair to both win crystal globes. Weirather is also the third skier from Liechtenstein to ever win a crystal globe.
"I was so nervous", said Weirather, holding back tears. "I knew there was a lot on the line. I don’t know what to say. It’s just incredible".
Ilka Stuhec, who had already won the alpine combined and downhill globes coming into the super-G, missed earning her third small globe by 0.35 seconds.
"It’s definitely amazing what’s been going on for a whole season", Stuhec said. "Today was another day to really enjoy the race, to show my best. It’s great conditions and super weather. Nothing to be upset about with second place today".
Rounding out the podium in third place was Federica Brignone. The Italian really found her flow in the second half of the season, earning five podium results in three disciplines between Jan. 24 and March 16. She was just one hundredth of a second behind the Slovenian.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ilka Stuhec Wins Race and Downhill Title

The not-so-overnight Slovenian sensation Ilka Stuhec held nothing back in the final World Cup downhill run of the season, winning the race with a total time of 1:36.95 and securing her first ever World Cup downhill globe with a total of 597 points. Coming into the race with a 97-point lead in the discipline standings, Stuhec could have skied conservatively, but that’s not her style.
"It’s amazing. I mean it’s been an incredible season and right now that this [globe] is here, it’s heavy. Everything else will come later, I guess," said Stuhec. "I wanted to do like every other time this season like ski the best way possible and do my best and we’ll see what comes. And ending the season with a win and a globe, it’s pretty good".Stuhec is the first Slovenian woman to ever win the downhill crystal globe, and has already locked up the alpine combined globe.
American Lindsey Vonn put on a good show for the home crowd, coming in second place, just 0.66 seconds away from the win.
"Wasn’t too fast on the splits and on the flats, but think I skied really well most other sections of the course", Vonn said. "I’m excited for tomorrow because we don’t have to ski the flats at the beginning, so hopefully I’ll be faster".
Rounding on the podium was Italy’s Sofia Goggia in third place. The Italian was the only possible threat to Stuhec’s downhill globe, and her third-place result means she ends the season in second place in the rankings with 460 points.
"It was really an unexpected season and I am really happy with the results I achieved, but still it’s never enough", Goggia explained. "Results are never enough, and I’m hungry for more".

Dominik Paris Wins The Downhill Race in Aspen, Peter Fill Grabs Crystal Globe

The Italian men's team had much to celebrate on Wednesday in Aspen, Colo., as Dominik Paris won the last downhill race of the season and his teammate Peter Fill claimed his second consecutive discipline crystal globe, edging out Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud by just 23 points in the final standings. Paris also finished the season ranked third in downhill.
With the race kicked off at an early 9:30 am local time in hopes of beating the relentless spring sun, running with bib one was clearly an advantage for Paris as he held the lead at each interval throughout the race. A big man known for his incredible touch and smoothness on the world’s roughest courses, Paris made easy work of the challenging Aspen track and apart from a small bobble heading into the finish, never looked in doubt en route to his second win of the season. Fill also chose to run early with bib three and almost edged out his compatriot in the final turn before sliding into second, mere hundredths shy of the win. Janka, who ran with bib number 16, managed to charge through the quickly deteriorating conditions and punch in a podium performance, his second of the season.
Despite claiming his second Hahnenkamm title this January, Dominik Paris admitted to some late-season struggles and was delighted to end his downhill season on a high note.
"The last race wasn’t too easy for me. I was far behind the other guys, which actually probably motivated me for this race", he said. "I knew it would be warm, and so I’m happy I made the decision to take number one. The snow only got softer. It was a great season, I ended up third in the standings. I had some bad races, but was happy to end well".
Peter Fill, who is the only Italian man to win the World Cup downhill title, managed to accomplish the feat for the second year in a row despite not winning a single downhill all season, proving that consistency is indeed king when it comes to the hunt for the crystal globe.
"It was hard", Fill admitted after the race. "It was good skiing. Again, I was every time close on the victory. No victory this year in downhill, but in the end, I pick up the thing that counts and that’s the nicest thing. And today, a special day for the Italians with Dominik’s win and to have second and then, the globe. I think we have the best team — small team, but a good team. Thank you to the whole team. They work really well and they love, and they push us to go faster, and we see the results. So, thank you all the team, service guys, sponsors, thank you!".

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mikaela Shiffrin Takes Victory in Squaw Valley and Slalom Crystal Globe

Mikaela Shiffrin completed her sweep of the weekend, winning today's slalom race with a combined time of 1:39.48 seconds, a full 1.03 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic and 1.08 seconds ahead of Austria’s Bernadette Schild in third.
Shiffrin also locked down this season’s slalom title with her win and her nearest competitor — Slovakia’s Veronika Velez-Zuzulova — failing to finish her first run. This will be Shiffrin’s fourth career slalom globe after missing out on the title last season to Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter."The slalom title was my first, highest goal so it’s pretty important but I tried not to think about it in the first run today or at all today and now I can think about that a bit more; I’m quite excited", said Shiffrin. "I made recoveries and came out with the win, and I think Wendy (Holdener) was going for it. I know how it feels to lose it on the last two gates and that absolutely sucks. It’s a huge bummer. I knew there was a chance (to win both races), and I just tried to do my best to make it happen and I’m very happy to be on this side of the weekend".
Sarka Strachova prefers challenging venues like Squaw and Aspen and relished the opportunity to show the World what she has as four of the Czech’s World Cup podiums — and both of her wins — have come on American soil."The hill is quite difficult. It’s steep and you have to push from the start to the finish", Steachova said. "I felt quite comfortable in the first run, maybe too much, and I lost a little more time. In the second run, the course was a bit broken and it’s not my cup of tea, but I tried to take a risk and when I went through the finish and I saw that I was in the lead, I believed that maybe it could be a podium".
For Bernadette Schild, it was her first podium in three years and also the first ladies' slalom podium of the season for Austria.It was a special also for Schild because she spent many summers in the Lake Tahoe area as a child with family friends.
"I like difficult races so I knew this hill with the steep start and the rollers at the bottom could be something for me. I had quite the mistake in the first run actually but I knew that if I do my thing and ski technically the way I can, I really can make the podium. Wendy was leading after first run and she was really close to finishing but she went out but that’s how it is and I got third", said Schild.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Giant Slalom in Squaw Valley

Under overcast skies, warm temperatures, and soft snow for the women’s World Cup Giant Slalom at Squaw Valley, American phenom Mikaela Shiffrin managed to walk away with the win on home snow with a combined time of 2:16.42 seconds, a scant 0.07 seconds ahead of Italian Federica Brignone in second and and 0.86 seconds ahead of Frenchwoman Tessa Worley in third.
Mikkaela Shiffrin credited her time training on the race hill last spring as the deciding factor in her performance and admitted that the level of women’s GS is so high at the moment that in order to walk away with a win, you have to be willing to risk everything.
"I’ve skied this hill before and I’m really lucky, a lot of the girls I’m competing against have not. But I just knew that no matter what hill I’m skiing on, I have to attack like crazy", Shiffrin said. "All of these girls are going for wins, and I’m so happy with how that went today".
Shiffrin's runs were not flawless, but she risked enough to stay just a short beat ahead of Brignone, who sat almost a second behind the American in fourth place after the first run.
"I’m really happy. The first run I had a big mistake, and I almost stopped and I was really pissed because a slope like this is great, and the snow was not easy for anybody. I was expecting more difficulty, so I didn’t give my 100 percent. So I was really pissed. So I said second run, ‘Go hard or go home.’ I was hoping to beat Mikaela for a second, but then I saw she was skiing really, really good. But in front of all of these people, it is amazing".
Tessa Worley could have secured the GS title with a victory on the day but was ultimately pleased to stand on the podium in third after battling some nerves.
"It’s tough, for sure. The pressure is here and the girls are always fighting very hard and always skiing very fast", Worley said. "I’m just trying to do run after run and race after race and for sure today is another solid race. I would have liked to do better – every time, for sure, winning is the goal, but third place is still great, podium is still great. One more race, and I’ll be fighting hard".

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Winning run Marion Haerty. Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017: Fieberbrunn

Marion Haerty (FRA) was once again able to secure a top spot on the podium with a line featuring a technical entrance followed by beautiful powder turns linked with stylish airs.

Wiining run Sammy Luebke. Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017: Fieberbrunn

Sammy Luebke (USA) topped out the category in first place with a masterful selection of features that allowed him to pull off textbook frontside and backside 360s, both cleanly stomped.


Winning run Lorraine Huber. Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017: Fieberbrunn

The Austrian women ruled the day with stunning no-hesitation skiing from Lorraine Huber (AUT), who entered the face with confidence on a double-air and followed through with stylish skiing and a stomped bottom air, delivering her into first place, and closely followed by Eva Walkner (AUT) in second.

Winning run Kristofer Turdell. Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017: Fieberbrunn

Challenging conditions and a spate of spectacular crashes marked the start of today’s competition. Nonetheless, Kristofer Turdell (SWE) stomped a massive air high on the venue followed by impeccable riding in difficult snow, earning first place.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Third Stop of the 2017 Freeride World Tour Took Place Today in Fieberbrunn (Austria)

After several days of heavy snowfall at the Tyrolean ski resort, the skies finally cleared to allow the competition to take place on the renowned Wildseeloder face (2118m). Competitors were treated to good visibility and somewhat variable snow conditions on the 600 vertical meter face due to snow safety control work conducted during the previous days.
After the qualification cuts made today, the reduced field of twelve ski men, six ski women, six snowboard men, and four snowboard women will advance to the next stops in Haines, Alaska, Verbier, Switzerland, and will be qualified for the 2018 Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT).

Ski Men

Challenging conditions and a spate of spectacular crashes marked the start of today’s competition. Nonetheless, Kristofer Turdell (SWE) stomped a massive air high on the venue followed by impeccable riding in difficult snow, earning first place. Reine Barkered’s (SWE)line featured his signature full-throttle skiing but was marred by a lack of flow on the lower part of the venue which pushed him to third place.

Ski Women

The Austrian women ruled the day with stunning no-hesitation skiing from Lorraine Huber (AUT), who entered the face with confidence on a double-air and followed through with stylish skiing and a stomped bottom air, delivering her into first place, and closely followed by Eva Walkner (AUT) in second.

Snowboard Men

Sammy Luebke (USA) topped out the category in first place with a masterful selection of features that allowed him to pull off textbook frontside and backside 360s, both cleanly stomped. Close on his tails was Jonathan Penfield (USA) who demonstrated unparalleled control with powerful riding.

Snowboard Women

Marion Haerty (FRA) was once again able to secure a top spot on the podium with a line featuring a technical entrance followed by beautiful powder turns linked with stylish airs. Veteran rider Shannan Yates (USA) earned second place with a highly technical line and fluid riding.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017. Fieberbrunn's Competition Confirmed

The Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn 2017 is Confirmed for Wednesday, March 8th!

Less than two days to the FWT stop in Fieberbrunn.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour is about to enter a critical phase as athletes seize their last opportunity to score enough points to advance beyond the qualification cuts at the upcoming Fieberbrunn stop. The Austrian ski resort is hosting fifty-one freeriders, including former Austrian FWT snowboarder Flo Orley, and Japanese ski men wild card holder Taisuke Kusunoki.
After the Fieberbrunn event, a cut is made based on the competitors’ best two results of the 2017 season, reducing the field of fifty-one riders to just to twelve ski men, six ski women, six snowboard men, and four snowboard women. These twenty-eight riders will qualify for the two remaining 2017 FWT events in Haines, Alaska and Verbier, Switzerland in addition to the upcoming 2018 FWT season.
Event organizers are aiming to hold the competition on the venue known as the Wildseeloder face, which at 2,118m offers 600 vertical meters of varied freeride terrain. The target date for the competition is March 6th; however the allotted weather window extends from March 6th-11th should snow or safety decisions require a shift in the competition date.

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, AUT

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (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. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Michael Matt Wins The Slalom Race in Kranjska Gora, Marcel Hirscher Grabs Slalom Crystal Globe

Once again, challenging weather was awaiting the Audi FIS World Cup Tour in Kranjska Gora.As forecasted, uninterrupted rainfall marked the night between yesterday’s Giant Slalom and today’s Slalom. With a lot of water and salt, the race line offered challenging conditions for the last slalom race of the season before Aspen Finals.
Michael Matt won his first world Cup Race today by taking the win in the 56th edition of the Pokal Vitranc with a combined time of 1:48.26 seconds. Italian Stefano Gross was second, +0.30 seconds back, and Germany’s Felix Neureuther rounded out the podium in third, 0.46 seconds off of the Austrian’s pace.
Michael Matt was the one that handled the conditions the best and could celebrate his first career World Cup win. The 23 year old athlete seemed to fly over the ruts and laid down a fantastic second run, that no one after him would be able to beat.
"It's amazing, it's unbelievable when you stand out there in the finish area. When you're second after the first run and then the green light is in the second run when you're in the finish, it's amazing. I watched (the other racers) at the World Championships in St. Moritz and that wasn't good, so I didn't watch today. I didn't watch anyone, I just focused on me and my skiing and I'm really happy. I'v had a good experience in European Cup here on this hill and last year as well. I just like the hill and love to ski here".
One athlete particularly impressed in the first run, it’s Stefano Gross. The Italian had a season with lots of ups and downs. He scored some very good results, including a third place in Madonna di Campiglio, but failed to be constant as he skied out three times this season. In Kranjska Gora, he found his pace in both runs and managed to hold claim a second place.
"It feels extremely good because I've had a really difficult season. Unfortunately, I had a bad back problem in January and then the best race I could have done was when I was second after the first run in Kitzbuehel and in the second run, I straddled a gate right at the top. That could have probably totally changed my season if something had gone well at that point but it's been a terrible season for me and it really feels very good to be back on the podium this season. I had a great first run, but in the second run I had a few problems. It was bumpy, it was really hard to hold the line, but I was well prepared for the conditions with training in salty, spring snow".
In third place, Germany’s Felix Neureuther confirmed his good shape from the World Championships, where he collected a bronze medal. With two solid runs, he was able to secure the third spot on the podium, the 3rd in this World Cup season.
"It feels very good. I don't know how may times I've been on the podium here but it's a very, very special hill, technical, tough and the conditions are always tough too so I am very happy to be on the podium again. I had some problems at the beginning of the season until just right before the World Championships; I was struggling with my setup so I couldn't ski as I wanted but now, since the World Championships, it feels really good again".
After winning yesterday’s Giant slalom, giving him enough points for the Overall World Cup Title and for the giant slalom globe as well, Hirscher skied relatively free of any pressure. He laid down two good runs that earned him a 4th place, enough to claim the Slalom Crystal Globe. He is now 110 points ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen with only one race to go. A huge mistake prevented the Norwegian to qualify for second run and score points for the cup today.

Sofia Goggia Wins Jeongseon Super-G

24 hours after her fist ever World Cup win italian Sofia Goggia tops the field in Jeongseon Super-G ahead of Lindsey Vonn (+0.04) and Ilka Stuhec (+0.51) in second and third place to confirm the same top 3 of the Downhill.
Sofia Goggia opened the floodgates with her inaugural World Cup victory on Saturday and proved it was no fluke with a follow-up win the ladies' super-G at Jeongseon, South Korea, on Sunday.
"It feels great because also I think yesterday in the downhill, [Vonn] is the major speed queen. [Stuhec] is the world champ and the queen of the future, so the three most fast", said Goggia of her fellow podium mates. "It feels amazing because super-G this year was pretty difficult to me. I never found the right balance between pushing and to use the tactics. And today, I really tried to ski. There were some tricky points. I came by and it was really OK. I really tried to push".
Lindsey Vonn once again found herself oh-so-shy of the win, this time finishing 0.04 seconds off Goggia's pace. She pointed to the Italian in the leader box after crossing the finish line and shook her head.
"It’s definitely the best super-G performance I’ve had all season by a long shot, so it’s nice to see that I still have the speed and it’s coming back around", said Vonn. "Definitely frustrated with the amount of time that I’m getting second place by. But you know, if I’ve learned one thing in ski racing, it’s that those hundredths always come back and I’m hoping that they come back next year for the Olympics. So I’ll bide my time. I’ll be patient, and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to".
With her third-place finish, Ilka Stuhec took over the lead of the super-G standings and will head to Aspen with a 15-point advantage over Tina Weirather.
"I had a funny feeling from the start house and later on it got a bit better. Yeah, it was a fun course actually because you had to do a lot. It didn’t do anything itself, so it was nice. I like it", said Stuhec. "The only nerves getting to Aspen I have is sixteen hours time difference that we have from here to there. So that’s the only thing. Otherwise, I’ll go like always, race for race, and do my best".


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marcel Hirscher Takes Victory in Kranjska Gora and the Overall and Giant Slalom Globes

Today‘s Audi FIS Ski World Cup Giant Slalom in Kranjska Gora was one of the toughest of the season. Conditions on the Podkoren race hill were tough, because of today’s rainny and warm temperatures.
Today’s race was a new victory in the men’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Giant Slalom race in the Vitranc Cup. Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup men's Giant Slalom +0.46 ahead of Leif Kristian Haugen and +0.67 of Matts Olsson. It was Hirscher’s 44th career World Cup win. It was also his 21st Giant Slalom win. 
Austrian legend Marcel Hirscher wrote himself into the history books with today's victory in the Giant Slalom that guaranteed him a record sixth consecutive overall World Cup title.
Hirscher's sixth crystal globe bettered the record of Luxembourg's Marc Girardelli (1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993) and equalled the ladies' mark set by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proll (1971-1975, 1979).
"If I'm telling the truth, maybe it is a little too much for me right now. It's very emotional and I'm trying right now to do a very professional job but I'm really, really thankful. I would like to just have three hours to myself after the ceremony to just think about what brought me to this point. It's just amazing to have six consecutive overall World Cup titles. It is a record where I have to say 'thank you' to many, many people, especially to my girlfriend, Laura, to my family, and the team around me. They were amazing".
Leif Kristian Haugen has been on the World Cup Tour for eight years already, but this season something triggered and he impressed with very strong performances in his favourite discipline, but also in slalom and in the parallel events, where he claimed two 4th places, his best results before today. At the World Championship, the Norwegian was able to prove his great shape also in Giant Slalom, by claiming the bronze medal. So it was the logical continuation for him to earn his first World Cup podium with this second place in Kranjska Gora.
"I feel obviously great. It's a career-best result and it was a rough race; I didn't get the worst light, but I didn't get the best either. I knew I had to fight hard and just not really think too much about the conditions. I think right now I'm skiing really well and I know that when I push hard, I ski my best. We've had these conditions before in the summer in Norway on the glaciers where you can't see more than a couple of meters ahead of you and it's raining so I think it's bringing back some of the stuff I've done when I was little".
In third place, Matts Olsson scores his second career podium in giant slalom, only a few weeks after his second place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Since he came back from a severe knee injury last season, Olsson is fired up and keeps beat his own personal records, what allows him to claim the 8th place of the current giant slalom standings.
"The end result is great for me but it was a really tough race with the weather, with the snow, with everything pretty much but in the end it was great. It was raining quite a lot in the second run. With rain and poor visibility, the snow and the bumps, everything together gets real difficult. You know that the second run will not be a good feeling and you just have to fight".

Sofia Goggia Tops Korean Downhill Podium

After World Cup podiums and a World Championships bronze medal in St. Moritz 2017 Italian Sofia Goggia takes her career first victory at Jeongseon, South Korea, at the test event downhill for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
Sofia Goggia was able to best Lindsey Vonnher by a narrow 0.07 seconds. Ilka Stuhec ultimately rounded out the podium in third, 0.23 seconds off the winning pace.
"It was not [hard to win] because I just skied for myself today. I just tried to enjoy the slope, to push as hard as I could where I could, and to use a little bit more tactics when required because in the training runs, I missed a gate. So I really tried to focus on myself and this paid off", said Goggia. "It feels good, but I still have to realize it. I think that when I’m going on the podium, there at the prize giving ceremony, I’m going to realize it. But still not now”.
Lindsey Vonn pushed out of the gate with bib 1. The American had some early bobbles in the upper terrain, but she skied a fast enough run to hold the early lead.
"I thought [my run] was good. Definitely made some mistakes. The top, just kind of got rocked by the bumps and then on the bottom, just got a little bit low in my line and lost some speed. The girls made up a couple tenths on me on the very bottom, so it’s nice to know that my skiing is getting better and I finally feel like I’m on an upward pace. It’s been a struggle this year. But before Whistler [Olympics], in the test events, I was second as well, so I think it’s a good position to be in and it’s a great track, so I’m excited", said Vonn. "Right away, even after the first inspection, I knew that it was going to be a good track for me, and I think there’s also something to be said for not winning the test events. Sometimes that can be quite a bit of extra pressure added on unnecessarily. I think I have enough of that, so I don’t really need any more. I know where I can make up the time, and I think it definitely bodes well for next year".
With Goggia's victory, Ilka Stuhec was blocked from claiming the downhill title prior to the final race of the season. She was three points shy of securing the small globe without carrying the fight on to Aspen.
"A few turns were not that clean, I guess, because I knew I had to keep the higher line than I had in trainings. So I guess I lost some speed there, which was I lost some time again. But it’s a lesson learned, and I’ll keep that in mind when we get back here", said Stuhec. "I’m still really happy for Sofia. She really has a great season as well, and she’s skiing really good. But we have one more race. A lot is still open, but it’s skiing".

Friday, March 3, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Branded Content (BMW Case Study)

The Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) hosted panel ‘Back to the Future of Branded Content’, packed out the auditorium at the ‘Inspiration Stage’ for the inaugural Lions Entertainment Festival. Those attending were taken on an incredible journey back to 2001 sharing some never before seen or discussed content about BMW Films.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Branded Content (BMW Case Study)

The term branded content itself really took hold as a labeled marketing technique in 2001, when The Hire was produced and distributed on the internet and DVDs. BMW decided to take its $30 million advertising budget and spent it on producing five ‘mini’ feature films.
The BMW film series The Hire is a series of eight short films (averaging about ten minutes each) produced for the Internet in 2001 and 2002. A form of branded content, the shorts were directed by popular filmmakers from around the globe and starred Clive Owen as "the Driver" while highlighting the performance aspects of various BMW automobiles. The series made a comeback in 2016, fifteen years after its original run ended.
The plots of each of the films differ, but one constant remains: Clive Owen plays "The Driver," a man who goes from place to place (in BMW automobiles), getting hired by various people to be a sort of transport for their vital needs.

On April 26, 2001, John Frankenheimer's Ambush premiered on the BMW Films website and, two weeks later, was followed by Ang Lee's Chosen. Soon after, director Wong Kar-Wai was tapped to make a third film entitled The Follow, a dramatic piece about a runaway wife being followed by "the Driver". The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and received rave reviews. It was followed by Guy Ritchie's Star and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Powder Keg.
The series debuted in October 2002, with the film Hostage. The film was followed by Ticker, directed by Joe Carnahan. The series replaced producer David Fincher with Ridley and Tony Scott due to Fincher's continuing work on Panic Room.
Season 2 continued with a dark action/comedy piece by Tony Scott called Beat the Devil. The movie, shot in Scott's trademark pseudo-psychedelic style, featured James Brown enlisting the Driver to take him to Las Vegas to re-work a decades-old deal he made with the devil which evidently gave Brown his "fame and fortune".
On September 20, 2016, it was reported that BMW Films has resurrected the series 15 years after the original production wrapped, with Clive Owen returning to reprise his role as the Driver. The first episode was revealed to be titled The Escape, which premiered on October 23, 2016 on BMW Films' official website.
‘BMW Films’ was an extremely brave and bold decision from a brand that has always strived to be ahead of the curve in its 100-year history.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Looking for Inspiration: Excerpts About Branded Content

"People don’t like being sold to. It’s a discomforting experience, so the challenge for content marketers is to make sure the entertainment value of the content outweighs the discomfort"
Mike Clear, ZenithOptimedia Group.

Branded content is a form of advertising that uses the generating of content as a way to promote the particular brand which funds the content's production. Often utilized in native marketing, and somewhat similar in appearance, though different in technique than content marketing, branded content typically presents itself as something other than a marketing ploy first, albeit simultaneously and always presented as a highly branded property and often labeled as "sponsored".

Jan Godsk from the BCMA explains the differences between branded and content marketing (Jeremy Taylor, Our Social Times, 2014):
  • Branded content marketing campaigns are often associated with entertainment-type content, such as creative video advertising. The aim is to resonate with the consumer on an emotional level rather than focusing on the actual product and USPs.
  • Content marketing campaigns are more focused on the product or service and the content is usually more rational and informative. This takes place further down the customer decision journey and, unlike branded content, ROI is more about lead-generation and sales than building a positive image of the brandThe term branded content itself, however, really took hold as a labeled marketing technique in 2001, when The Hire was produced and distributed on the internet and DVDs.
"Branded content is all about storytelling – in short, giving customers the information and insights that they want to look through before making their purchasing decision", Sonal Mishra, Your Story, 2016.

"The goal is to build trust over time by providing useful information (...) The content is not only produced in relevance with the customer's interest but also strategically placed at the brand’s own properties (...) The idea is to provide customers with as much information to build the brand’s credibility in their eyes", Sonal Mishra, Your Story, 2016

Consumers are open to branded content, but marketers must make sure that they have a plan to distribute this content on the right platforms so the right audience finds it", .Kathy Kayse, VP of sales strategy and solutions at Yahoo (Natasha D. Smith, DMN, 2016).

"Branded content is the practicing of investing in compelling content, whether to inform or entertain, that as a result is able to create an immersive experience for the consumer", Chris Rooke, SVP of strategy and operations at native advertising platform Nativo (Natasha D. Smith, DMN, 2016).

"As more brands embrace content marketing as a valuable channel to reach their customers, a new trend is emerging: brands are becoming publishers. What this means is that many progressive brands are beginning to create their own content hubs and micro-sites to publish relevant, educational content that’s produced in-house. The overall effect: brands are able to build and engage with their target audience by providing them with content that they find useful or interesting", StackAdapt, 2015

The term branded content itself, however, really took hold as a labeled marketing technique in 2001, when The Hire was produced and distributed on the internet and DVDs. It featured a series of short films by Hollywood "A-List" directors, but featuring the BMW car in the film was the true intent of the production. The popularity of these films spurred other marketers to create films, music, games, interactive content and real-life events, which merely exists to entertain and educate the consumer, keeping their attention long enough to market a product or service.In 2003, the Branded Content Marketing Association (BCMA) was formed in order to promote branded content to a wider, international audience.