Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Robbie Williams To Close Winter Season in Ischgl

Ischgl, the Tirolean resort has built a reputation for having top global superstars perform at the start and end of its winter season and this year will not disappoint: Robbie Williams will perform at 2,300 meters when he hits Ischgl Village in Austria for the Top Of The Mountain Concert on 3rd May 2014.
Right in the heart of the ski area, "Robbie" with his full Big Band will play and present their new number-one album "Swings Both Ways" on the giant open-air stage.
It'll be hot and cold, it'll be jazzy, it'll be legendary: At the Top of the Mountain Concert on 3 May 2014, megastar Robbie Williams will take to the world-famous Idalp-stage at 2,300 meters altitude. That alone would be enough for most. But not for the lifestyle metropolis of the Alps. Thus the exceptional entertainer will be bringing his entire Big Band with him to the ski area. Before an impressive alpine backdrop, he will present his new album "Swings Both Ways" and lend his unique sound to the season finale. The set will include: Classics such as "Minnie The Moocher", a new version of "Supreme" and his latest hit "Go Gentle". Whether "Robbie" will take to the skis himself in the Silvretta Arena remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: The charismatic singer will melt more than just the snow in Ischgl. He should be a bit excited though, as a jazz-pop concert on the peaks of the Alps is a first even for this megastar with 17 Brit-Awards and more than 70 million albums sold.
The concert begins at 13:00. Advance sales of day-ski passes for 3 May will begin according to availability on 7 April 2014. These will cost 115 Euro. A 2-day-ski pass/3-day-ski pass, available only with a TVB Paznaun-Ischgl or Samnaun Guest Card, and which includes the concert on 3 May, is available for 125 Euro/135 Euro.
Robbie Williams follows in the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. Long time ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Gossip, The Killers,Roxette, Mariah Carey, The Scorpions, Deep Purple and Nickelback.
The 2013/14 season is a very special one for Ischgl, as the world-famous valley celebrates two anniversaries that have been instrumental in shaping the history of skiing. Apart from the 50th anniversary of the Silvretta Cable Car, 2014 will see the 20th anniversary of the big Top of the Mountain Concerts since Elton John first sang on the Idalp in 1995. On these occasions, the company wanted to provide guests with a definite highlight. In a series of talks, Hannes Parth from the Silvrettaseilbahn AG company together with Peter Reiner from the Tourism Association Paznaun-Ischgl managed to persuade Robbie Williams that a performance before the unique backdrop of the Silvretta Arena would be special for him, too. Conformation was received in November. With him, one of the most successful stars of the last ten years will take to the stage in Ischgl. For one of his concerts, "Robbie" sold 1.6 million tickets within one day and received an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for this feat. In Germany, "Robbie" is one of the most successful artists of the last decade with his albums. "Swings Both Ways" is his tenth studio album and has already reached the top of the German album charts.

Ischgl (1377m) is a truly Ski Paradise in Tirol (Austria) with 238 km of prepared pistes, 43 lifts and lots of interesting new features in the ski resort. The modern lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the Fimbabahn cable car built for the 2007/08 season. A variety of slopes and ski routes offer a opportunity for everyone, from beginners to experts looking for challenging pistes. Eleven is the name of the longest piste with approximately 11 kilometres from the top of the ski resort in Greitspitz (2,872 metres) to Ischgl village (1,400 metres).
From Ischgl you can access to the Silvretta Arena Ski Paradise, thanks to an alliance between two Companies (Silvretta Seilbahn AG and Bergbahnen Sammaun AG) and two ski resorts (Ischgl-Sammaun) from two different countries (Switzerland-Austria).

Third IOC's Coordination Commission Visit Starts in PyeongChang

The IOC’s Coordination Commission for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, led by its Chair, Gunilla Lindberg, will be visiting the 2018 Games host city of PyeongChang for the third time this week (29 April – 1 May). The Commission will be joined on this visit by the presidents and general secretaries of the winter International Federations, as the spotlight moves to the Republic of Korea following the successful conclusion of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia.
During the visit, the Commission members will look at a number of different areas of the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG)’s work, including services to the athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations and media; sport; venues and infrastructure; transport; marketing; legacy; education; technology; culture; and the Paralympic Games. The Commission will also visit a number of the venues in the mountain cluster and the coastal cluster, including the sliding centre; the Olympic Villages; the international broadcast centre and main media centre; ice hockey 1; the curling centre; the speed skating venue; and the figure skating and short track venue.
PyeongChang was elected as the host city for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa on 6 July 2011. PyeongChang won the vote against the cities of Annecy (France) and Munich (Germany). PyeongChang defeated Munich and Annecy in the first round of voting, by 63 votes to 25 and 7 respectively.
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will play host to the seven Olympic winter sports currently on the Olympic programme.
The PyeongChang 2018 Games, which will take place from 9-25 February 2018, will be the third to be staged in Asia, and the first ever in the Republic of Korea, following Nagano (JPN) in 1998 and Sapporo (JPN) in 1972.
The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s (POCOG’s) ‘New Horizons’ vision aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.
From a logistical point of view, the concept for the 2018 Winter Games is one of the most compact ever seen.The vision for PyeongChang is based on a compact geographical area, split between a coastal and a mountain cluster.
The coastal cluster, centred around the town of Gangneung on the Republic of Korea’s eastern seaboard, will provide the setting for the events on ice (speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey and curling), with the main Olympic Village complex and mountain cluster (comprising the skiing and snowboarding courses and the bobsleighluge and skeleton track) located only a 30 minute car journey away.

The mountain cluster will comprise eight facilities – six of which are already established - including the ski resort of Yongpyong. Nearby, the Bokwang Phoenix Park, already a favourite location for Korean freestyle aficionados, will provide the ideal stage for the snowboard and ski freestyle events.
State-of-the-art facilities designed especially for the 2018 Winter Games will further enhance existing infrastructure, to ensure that the world’s best winter athletes are provided with every possible opportunity to deliver their optimum performances.
Blessed with a prime geographical position within Asia, and benefitting from a youthful population and a vibrant and rapidly growing economy, PyeongChang looks set to bring the Winter Games to a whole new audience and a whole new generation of aspiring Winter athletes in 2018.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Epic TV: Super Serious Skiing with Eric Balken and Friends, Ep. 2. Badass Skiers Shred Pow and Dodge Police

In this episode of Super Serious Skiing, we catch a glimpse of some Alta skiing locals in their element shredding pow, dropping cliffs, and jumping everything in sight. These guys know how to take care of business on the groomers and in the backcountry. Even they have to watch out for local law enforcement though. It's a very serious place, Alta, best bring your A game. Featuring Carston Oliver, Eric Balken, Noah Wetzel, Thayne Rich, and Willie Nelson.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 Freeride World Qualifier Tour Comes to Close

After a grueling season spanning 43 of the world’s premier ski resorts, the 2014 Freeride World Qualifier Tour is over. Jaw-dropping action and suspenseful last-minute ranking changes made FWQ 2014 one to remember. After the final event of the year in Big Sky, USA, 16 riders from the four disciplines have secured their spots on the 2015 Freeride World Tour.
Rider ranking on the FWQ is broken into two regions -- Region 1 draws athletes from Europe, Asia, and Oceania, while Region 2 encompasses North and South America. This year the top three ski men, two snowboard men, two ski women and one snowboard woman from each region are advancing to FWT 2015. That is six fewer riders than last year, a sign of the ever more competitive and elite rider pool at the top level.

A record number of events -- 36 -- took place in Region 1 countries this season, offering riders more chances than ever to gain experience, travel and build their ranking. Snowboard Women winnerAnouck Mouthon (FRA) worked hard all year, competing in seven events, and she will join her sister Elodie Mouthon (FRA) on the FWT next year. For ski women, Lotten Rapp (SWE) took the overall victory, followed by Silvia Moser (ITA) who will be the first female Italian FWT rider since Giulia Monego.
In Snowboard Men, though Flo Orley (AUT) won the points race, he had already successfully maintained his spot with solid results on the FWT, so the second- and third-ranked riders qualified --Camille Armand (FRA) and Alexander Hoffman (AUT).
For ski men, Léo Slemett (FRA) took a well-deserved tour victory, capped with a win at the 4-star event in Nendaz, Switzerland. Slemett originally qualified for the FWT by a third place at the FWQ in 2012, lost his FWT spot after 2013, and will now be back in the big leagues in 2015 after his stellar performance this year. "I took my FWT experience back to the FWQ and that really helped me progress. But the level on the qualifier tour is really impressive! The riders give 100% because they have nothing to lose – if you’ve never seen an FWQ 4-star even you have to go", said Slemett. He was closely followed byFabian Lentsch (AUT), whose insane winning run at the event in Obergurgl quickly went viral online.Jordan Bricheux (FRA) took the third and final spot.

Region 2

Difficult conditions in the Americas saw a handful of cancelled events, making the seven remaining events especially intense for Region 2 competitors. For Women Snowboard, Mary Boddington (USA) turned in a convincing victory, only entering three events but winning every one, beating her nearest challenger by 1,600 points.
Ski Women champion Hazel Birnbaum (USA) started her winning campaign back in August when she won the first 4-star event of the year at El Colorado, Chile. Ashley Maxfield (USA) took second, regaining her spot on the FWT after losing it in 2013.
The Snowboard Men winner was Colin Boyd(USA), a 2014 FWT rider who placed below the FWT cut, but re-won his spot by winning two consecutive late-season events in Vallnord-Arcalis, Andorra and Telluride, USA. Galvin Christopher (USA) secured his spot with a second place finish at the final event of the year in Big Sky, USA.
Kyle Taylor won Ski Men, capping off a hard-fought season featuring a victory at the 4-star Crested Butte, USA event and a second place at the finale in Big Sky. Juan Bergada (ARG) will join fellow Argentine skier Nicolas Salencon on next year’s tour. 21 year-old George Rodney (USA) rounded out the qualified men and will be one of the youngest riders on next year’s FWT.

Reine Barkered Winning Line at the Xtreme Verbier 2014

With a new coat of 50-60 cm of fresh snow, the mythical Bec des Rosses at Verbier, Switzerland, promised for an epic final competition of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2014 by The North Face. The athletes were well prepared to take on freeriding’s most prestigious and challenging competition and charged down the intimidating 500 metre north face with power and style, as well as mental and physical strength.
The 15 men skiers wrapped up the grande finale of 2014 with an incredible show. One of the favourites on the Bec des Rosses, the solid Swede Reine Barkered, did it again and repeated his win from 2012. The former World Champion (2012) skied the intimidating face so confident and composed, he made it look easy! His signature style with fast technical riding and perfectly landing huge airs, paid off and made it hard for the other skiers to beat his high score of 93.25 points.

FWT14 - Run of Bib #4 Reine Barkered SWE... por FreerideWorldTourTV

Pia Nic Gundersen Winning Line at the Xtreme Verbier 2014

With a new coat of 50-60 cm of fresh snow, the mythical Bec des Rosses at Verbier, Switzerland, promised for an epic final competition of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2014 by The North Face. The athletes were well prepared to take on freeriding’s most prestigious and challenging competition and charged down the intimidating 500 metre north face with power and style, as well as mental and physical strength.
Austrian skier and defending Freeride World Champion Nadine Wallner, managed to hold on to the title 2014 with a second place at the "Bec" and a very consistent season. The only woman who beat her at the Xtreme Verbier was Norwegian Pia Nic Gundersen, who did it loudly. She lay down a stand out run skiing solidly in huge speed and taking a massive jump of at least 12 metres, resulting in her first victory on the tour.

FWT14 - GoPro Run of Bib #3 Pia Nic Gundersen... por FreerideWorldTourTV

Ralph Backstrom Winning Line at the Xtreme Verbier 2014

With a new coat of 50-60 cm of fresh snow, the mythical Bec des Rosses at Verbier, Switzerland, promised for an epic final competition of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2014 by The North Face. The athletes were well prepared to take on freeriding’s most prestigious and challenging competition and charged down the intimidating 500 metre north face with power and style, as well as mental and physical strength.
The men tackled the Bec des Rosses from the very top, starting with the snowboarders. Defending World Champion Ralph Backstrom, rode the mighty face in true "Backstrom style" with big jumps and fluid charging, and scored a second consecutive win at the Xtreme.

FWT14 - Run of Bib #3 Ralph Backstrom USA... por

Elodie Mouthon Winning Line at the Xtreme Verbier 2014

With a new coat of 50-60 cm of fresh snow, the mythical Bec des Rosses at Verbier, Switzerland, promised for an epic final competition of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2014 by The North Face. The athletes were well prepared to take on freeriding’s most prestigious and challenging competition and charged down the intimidating 500 metre north face with power and style, as well as mental and physical strength.
First out to tackle the Bec des Rosses were the women snowboarders followed by women skiers, starting from the lookers’ right shoulder of the mountain, the “Petit Bec” (small Bec). The battle for the snowboard World Champion title was on for veteran Shannan Yates of USA and local rookie Estelle Balet (SUI). After the two favourites both took a tumble, 2013 Champion Elodie Mouthon secured the win of the day at the Xtreme Verbier with a powerful run and good air.

FWT14 - Run of Bib #2 Elodie Mouthon FRA... por FreerideWorldTourTV

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Squaw Valley and the Hot Dog 30th Anniversary Party

Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe. Hot Dog The Movie is celebrating its 30th year Anniversary
A throwback party you will not want to miss! Hot Dog The Movie is celebrating it's 30th year and Squaw Valley Institute will host a special Director's Q & A with 10 original cast members, film viewing, memorabillia auction, raffle and 80's costume party.
The scenes from Hot Dog, Director Mike Marvin says, are all based on true events. Like the wet T-shirt contest. "I always believed from the very beginning that it would be successful… But I never dreamed that 30 years later we’d be talking about it".
Showcasing great skiing, and great tits, to the masses turned a lot of people onto the lifestyle. Matt Reardon picked up the movie randomly at Blockbuster and watched it at his friend’s cotton farm in a small Louisiana town in hopes that it would be a respite from the brutal heat passing through.
"The film was life-altering to say the least", Reardon wrote in a recent e-mail. "I immediately told my parents, at the age of 13, I was going to be a pro mogul skier like Harkin. It sounded odd to my folks, never having seen snow prior".
By 21, Reardon joined the Bud Pro Mogul Tour and relocated to Squaw Valley. He’s now the executive director of the Squaw Valley Institute, and responsible for organizing Hot Dog’s 30th anniversary party this weekend.
Hot Dog…The Movie is a comedy ski film released in January 1984. The film went on to gross over $17 million and became one of the iconic comedies of the 1980s.
The film stars Patrick Houser as Harkin Banks, a young and ambitious freestyle skier from Idaho who is determined to prove himself in a freestyle skiing competition at Squaw Valley. Along the way he teams with a pack of fun-loving incorrigibles who called themselves the "Rat Pack" (whose leader, Dan O'Callahan is played by David Naughton), picks up an Austrian nemesis named Rudi (John Patrick Reger), and enters a love triangle with a pair of blondes, a young woman named Sunny (Tracy N. Smith) and the more mature Sylvia Fonda (played by 1982 Playboy Playmate of the Year Shannon Tweed in just her second major film role). The movie ends with a terrific extended race scene, all of the characters take part in a 'Chinese Downhill' to determine the real champion of the competition.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Patrouille des Glaciers 2014: From Zermatt to Verbier

The Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG), the legendary ski mountaineering race organized by the Swiss Army, will take place again in 2014. From Tuesday, 29 April to Saturday, 3 May, the "toughest team competition in the world" takes the patrols over 112 kilometres from Zermatt via Arolla to Verbier.
5400 participants, 1800 teams (820 military teams (+17%  more than in 2012), 140 guides teams and 840 civilian teams, will take part in the event.
The origin of the Patrouille des Glaciers goes back to the last world war when the mountain brigade No. 10 had the task of defending the south-eastern area of the central region of the Swiss Alps. The idea of carrying out the Patrouille des Glaciers was the initiative of two captains in the Mountain Brigade No. 10 shortly before World War II. Rodolphe Tissières and Roger Bonvin, both alpine officers, determined to test and consolidate the capabilities of the troop with a special long patrol race. In actual terms this meant running the Haute-Route between Zermatt and Verbier in one stage. The idea was to give the participants the opportunity to put into practice in one major exercise the technical knowledge they had attained during their long service in the mountains.
Nowadays the Patrouille des Glaciers continue to be a military competition organized by the Swiss Army but open to Swiss and foreign military or civilian patrols and takes place every two years.
Since then the PDG has lived up to its mythological status. Interest in this unique military event has increased with every competition. In 2006, the number of mountaineering enthusiasts who applied to participate was so high that the command decided for the first time to hold two separate events from Zermatt, as it had been done from Arolla for some time already.
The growth in popularity of outdoor events and challenging endurance competitions has been proven by the enormous interest in the PDG and has led to multistage enrolment procedures. Swiss military teams whose members fulfil the technical and physical requirements for this alpine competition have priority. In a second round, the remaining starting tickets for civilian teams are drawn.

Participants can choose between two routes/categories and have to complete it in a single stage:
Course Z: Zermatt-Verbier (Distance: 53 km, change in altitude +3994 m / -4090 m, equivalent flat distance; 110 km)
Course A: Arolla-Verbier (Distance 26 km, change in altitude +1881m / -2341 m, equivalent flat distance: 53 km).

Participants who register for the PDG competition must meet the following requirements:
  • Broad alpine experience that qualifies them to independently master unexpected situations under extreme conditions in an inhospitable mountain environment.
  • Careful personal preparation and adequate training in order to meet the physical, mental and technical requirements of the competition.
  • Full compliance with the PDG regulations and willingness to follow instructions of the PDG command to the letter before, during and after the race.
  • Willingness to show the ‘PDG spirit‘ towards their own team members and all other participants by displaying mutual fairness, caution and solidarity as well as recognising their own limits and respecting nature and the unique alpine world. This sporting fairness also entails acceptance of registration procedures and admission decisions.
By enrolling and signing, the team leaders give a personal undertaking that they will participate personally in the PDG and by their signature they acknowledge that they are only enrolling team members who meet the following requirements:
  • Sound alpine knowledge
  • Active alpine touring skills and experience participating in mountaineering competitions
  • Excellent skiing skills
  • Experience in skiing while roped to others
  • Very high level of training
  • Ability to complete the following distances under normal conditions within the times allocated:
    - Zermatt – Schönbiel within 3 h
    - Zermatt – Arolla within 8 h 30 min
    - Arolla – Riedmatten within 1h 45 min
    - Arolla – Verbier within 8 h 30 min

The 2012 edition of the PDG was shaped by difficult weather and snow conditions. The two short and two long races were finished completely in one occasion only. The short race from Arolla on 26th April could be carried out as planned and the athletes arrived in Verbier as expected. All other races had to be interrupted or completely cancelled due to hazardous wind and snow conditions.
Looking back at the PDG 2012 the commander, Ivo Burgener, notes, that the decisions to interrupt and cancel races due to hazardous conditions were accepted with sportsmanship. It is part of the myth of the PDG that the harsh alpine terrain on glaciers and around some of the highest peaks of the Alps, at times, can call for humans to give in.
Commander Burgener hopes that the 2014 edition of the PDG will meet the typical myth of the PDG, which is constituted by the challenge in harsh alpine terrain, the strenuous physical effort and the traditional connection to the Swiss Armed Forces. He wants to lay a special emphasis on environmental and climate issues. A first step to accomplish this was made by having the whole course checked for environmental pollution in summer by mountain special-ists of the Swiss Armed Forces.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fourth edition of World Snow Day Date Confirmed

The fourth edition of World Snow Day is now officially confirmed for 18th January 2015.

Below is a summary of the key dates for Organisers:
  • 1st July 2014: Registration for Event Organisers opens
  • 15th December 2014: Registration for Organisers closes
  • 18th January 2015: Fourth edition of World Snow Day
  • 19th January 2015: World Snow Day Report System opens
  • 20th February 2015: World Snow Day Report System closes
The third edition of World Snow Day held on 19th January 2014 grew to include 610 events in 35 countries and also saw an increase in the number of individual participants to go over the half-million mark. Building on the success of the first three years many new Organisers joined in the effort to bring children to the snow and into snow sports.
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.
The concept for World Snow Day was developed by FIS in consultation with other organizations involved in snow sports, such as the National Ski Associations, their ski clubs and event organizers, ski schools, ski industry, tourism organizations, mountain lift associations and many more, in order to tackle the general decline in youth participation in snow sports. The World Snow Day aims to support and encourage involvement from children and families alike with the goal of creating a new channel to reach the younger target groups and to bring newcomers to snow whilst offering something special to those who already participate.
This event 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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Epic TV: Super Serious Skiing with Eric Balken and Friends, Ep. 1. PowderWhore Skiers Score In Japan

Eric Balken was invited on a dream trip to Hokkaido, Japan with PowderWhore productions. Along for the ride were Will Cardamone, FlyLow's Dan Abrams and Megan Michelson, and photographer Jay Beyer. Their mission was to film a powder segment for an upcoming Powderwhore film. The food was incredible, the people were awesome and all that chest deep, champagne powder? That was pretty good too. Check these guys out as they enjoy some of the deepest powder on earth in the beautiful mountains of Japan.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Epic TV: The Buddy System with Matt Philippi, Ep. 2. This Skier Takes a Ridiculous Fall then Keeps Shredding

The snowfall in Montana this season was 150% greater than normal so the Buddy System crew converged on the state and let the indomitable John Spriggs show them some of the sickest backcountry lines on offer. This is one crazy, powder filled adventure. If you like freeriding, you can't miss the lines these guys find down some very exposed faces. Also, don't miss the fall at 3:09, it's spine compressing.

Epic TV: The Buddy System with Matt Philippi, Ep. 1. Think Your Ski Season Was Nuts? Check These Guys'

It was a tricky year in the Wyoming backcountry dealing with unstable snowpack. Not to fear, Matt Philippi, John Spriggs, and their buddies still found deep powder, huge rocky lines, cliff jumps, and big airs in the Wyoming backcountry. Join the crew as they head into the menacing, avalanche-prone mountains and test themselves against some of the craziest lines and conditions mother nature has to offer. Don't miss John chopping the top off a tree with his skis at 0:24.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A glance back at Sochi 2014 Alpine Skiing Events

Rosa Khutor provided a spectacular backdrop for the 10 Alpine skiing events, which offered no shortage of thrills, and a number of Olympic firsts.

At 18 years and 345 days, Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) became the youngest ever woman to win an Alpine skiing gold.
Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) won gold, but even more than that she grabbed the mantle of skiing's next global superstar with both hands.
The 18-year-old settled her on-going battle with 32-year-old Marlies Schild (AUT) in superb style, pushing the long-time slalom queen into silver medal position.

And 24 hours later, Mario Matt (AUT) became, at 34 years and 10 months, the oldest skier of either gender to win an Alpine event at the Winter Games.
Austrian veteran Mario Matt caused a sensation winning the men's slalom and taking his first Olympic medal at the age of 34 in front of favourite Marcel Hirscher.
Matt, a two-time slalom world champion, proved unbeatable over two runs, finishing with a combined time of 1min 41.84sec to close the alpine skiing competitions at the Sochi Games.

Earlier, 36-year-old Bode Miller became the oldest ever skier to feature on an Alpine podium at the Games, when he won bronze – his sixth Olympic medal in total – in the men’s super-G.
Bode Miller, the first USA skier to win medals at three different Olympic Games after taking bronze and the oldest Olympic alpine skiing medallist of all time, will grab many of the headlines but all four of the super G medallists on Sunday morning will be keeping the statisticians busy for days to come.
Miller's fellow countryman Andrew Weibrecht swapped medal places with his compatriot from the 2010 Games, winning the silver medal to add to his super G bronze from Vancouver four years ago. In the process the 28-year-old joined Miller in becoming only the fourth man to win multiple Olympic super G medals.
And still the records fell. Joint bronze medallist Jan Hudec (CAN) became the first Canadian skier to win an Olympic medal outside of the downhill and the first of his countrymen to win an Olympic alpine skiing medal for 20 years.

Kjetil Jansrud took gold to ensure that with defending champion and favourite Aksel Lund Svindal failing to shine, the title stayed in Norway, while Anna Fenninger (AUT) clinched gold in the women’s event.
Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) won Norway's fourth consecutive Olympic super G gold medal, completing his personal Olympic medal set, on a day in which records melted away even quicker than the snow at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

Anna Fenninger (AUT) took gold in the ladies super G on Saturday. The 24-year-old won Austria's fourth Olympic gold in the event, finishing ahead of Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) and teammate Nicole Hosp (AUT).
It was a first Olympic medal for Fenninger, the 2011 super combined champion, as she finished in 1 minute and 25.52 seconds.

There were other firsts, too. Tina Maze (SLO) and Dominique Gisin (SUI) had made headlines by becoming the first Alpine skiers in history to share gold, having both clocked 1 minute 41.57 seconds in the women’s downhill.
Tina Maze (SLO) and Dominique Gisin (SUI) won the first double Olympic gold medals in alpine skiing in an extraordinary morning in the ladies downhill at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
After 2.713km of racing, the pair finished tied on 1 minute and 41.57 seconds to each claim gold. Gisin's highly fancied teammate Lara Gut (SUI) was just 0.10 seconds away from making it a three-way golden glow, taking bronze in 1:41.67.Maze then became the only Alpine skier to win two golds in Sochi, as she won the women’s giant. 

Maria Höfl-Riesch (GER) completed a successful defence of her super combined title, while in the men’s event Sandro Viletta (SUI) surprised all the favourites to take the gold.
In winning her second successive Olympic super combined gold medal, Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) confirmed her status as the most complete skier of her generation.
The 29-year-old has now won the past three major international super combined races, adding gold at Sochi 2014 to her Vancouver 2010 gold medal and her super combined world championship title in 2013. With a further Olympic gold medal in the slalom from the Vancouver 2010 Games and a slalom world championship gold in 2009, Hoefl-Riesch undeniably sits at the summit of the alpine world.

Sandro Viletta (SUI) stunned the field to take gold in the men's super combined, as Ivica Kostelic (CRO) the favourite after the downhill run, won his third consecutive silver medal in the Olympic super combined.
Just two days after Dominique Gisin (SUI) won a shock gold in the ladies downhill, Viletta defied the lack of a single world cup podium in the super combined to take the biggest prize of all.

Matthias Mayer further contributed to a successful Alpine campaign for the Austrians, by landing the men’s downhill, while Ted Ligety (USA) showed just why he is the undisputed king of the giant slalom, adding Olympic gold to his world title.
Matthias Mayer (AUT) shrugged off the small matter of form, having not bettered fifth in a world cup downhill this season, and surged to gold in a thrilling, if unpredictable, race.
The 23-year-old Austrian finished 0.06 seconds ahead of Christof Innerhofer (ITA) with Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) snatching bronze. None of the three medallists have won a world cup downhill race in 2013/14. World Cup downhill leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fourth 0.29secs adrift.

Ted Ligety (USA) confirmed his position as one of the greatest giant slalom skiers of all-time with a dominant display to win Olympic gold on Wednesday afternoon.
The 2011 and 2013 world champion finished in a combined time of 2 minutes and 45.29 seconds after the two runs, 0.48 seconds ahead of surprise silver medallist Steve Missillier (FRA).
Ligety's place in the history books of giant slalom skiing is rapidly taking shape. The 29-year-old has now won the last three major international giant slalom titles and is already third on the all-time list of giant slalom world cup winners.

A glance back at Sochi 2014 Freestyle Skiing Events

Freestyle skiing enjoyed its most varied and vibrant Winter Games yet at Sochi 2014, with two new events added to the menu, as both men and women were given the chance to throw down their best moves in slopestyle and halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
However, the freestyle programme kicked off with an established favourite, the moguls, where the women’s competition produced an emotional family one-two for Canadian sisters Justine and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe. In the men’s event, there was further joy for Canada and headed another podium.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe claimed Canada's first gold medal of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games with her sister Chloe winning silver on 8th Febuary at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Defending champion and big medal favourite Hannah Kearney of the United States skied to third position after a mistake in the upper section of the course.

Alex Bilodeau retained his men's moguls title at the Sochi Winter Olympics Monday with a stunning score of 26.31 as Canada continued to dominate the discipline. Bilodeau’s story was one of the greatest of the Vancouver Games, putting down as he did the run of his life to win the first gold for a Canadian winter Games athlete on home soil.
Just as they had done in the women's moguls, Canada also took silver through Mikael Kingsbury, with a score of 24.71.
Alexandr Smyshlyaev (24.34) took third place and prevented a Canadian clean sweep by pipping Marc-Antoine Gagnon (23.35) for bronze.

The debut events were dominated by American men and women. First Dara Howell and Joss Christensen took men’s and women’s gold in the slopestyle, and then Maddy Brown and David Wise repeated the trick in the halfpipe.

Canada’s Dara Howell claimed gold in the debut of ski slopestyle at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games scoring 94.20. Devin Logan of the United States earned silver with a first-run score of 85.40 that was strong enough to hold up through the rest of the competition. In third place was Howell’s teammate Kim Lammare who scored 85.00 with a focused second run.

Freestyle Skiing's inaugural Olympic men's slopestyle event produced a clean sweep for the United States. Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper took gold, silver and bronze. It was the first time since men’s Snowboard in 2002 that the United States swept the podium.

American Maddie Bowman claimed the first ever gold medal in ladies' ski halfpipe on Thursday evening at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park by posting the two best scores of the night (85.80 and 89.00). France's Marie Martinod whose aggressive second run earned her a high score of 85.40.took silver, and Japan's Ayana Onozuka took bronze with consistent amplitude and smooth style (83.20).

David Wise of the United States took gold in the newly added ski halfpipe event and made history by becoming its first Olympic Champion.
His first run, which included both right and left-side double corked 1260 spins, earned him a score of 92.00 that proved to be enough to hold off all challengers and give him the triple crown of World Championship, X Games, and Olympic Winter Games titles.
Mike Riddle of Canada threw down a near-flawless second run with a slightly lower degree of difficulty to earn a score of 90.60 and the silver, while Frenchman Kevin Rolland executed a solid first run to score of 88.60 and the bronze.

However, competitors from the ‘Old World’ showed they too know a thing or two about freestyle, as the French pulled off an unprecedented sweep of the podium in the men’s ski cross, headed up by Jean-Frédéric Chapuis. In the women’s event, there was another 1-2 for Canada, as Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa occupied the top two ranks on the podium.

Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA), Arnaud Bovolenta (FRA) and Jonathan Midol (FRA) have secured the first clean sweep for France at Olympic Winter Games by finishing first, second and third in the men's ski cross event staged at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park today.
The three skiers thus produced the sixth medal sweep at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and thus set a new record number of sweeps at a single Winter Games.

Marielle Thompson (CAN) has won the last event of the freestyle skiers at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Sochi. The 21-year-old from North Vancouver thus followed up her team mate Ashleigh McIvor who had earned the title in 2010.
As Kelsey Serwa (CAN) raced to Silver in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Team Canada secured the third 1-2 result at the Sochi Winter Gams after having locked in Gold in Silver in both, men's and ladies moguls before.
Anna Holmlund (SWE) rounded out the podium as third capitalizing on a crash of pre-race favourite Ophelie David (FRA) thus bringing home the first Olympic freestyle skiing medal for her home country in 20 years.

And there was a particularly emotional climax to the women’s aerials, where 34-year-old Alla Tsuper of Belarus, looking for a first medal at her fourth Games, opened her account with gold, relegating defending champion Lydia Lassila to bronze in a thrilling contest that saw the Australian become the first woman to pull off a quad-twisting triple somersault. In the men’s event, Tsuper’s compatriot Anton Kushner also ended his long quest for an Olympic title to complete a Belarusian double.

Competing in her fifth and final Olympic Games, veteran Alla Tsuper (Belarus) was able to cleanly land a back full, full, full jump to score 98.01 and take gold in the Sochi 2014 ladies aerials competition on Friday night. At the age of 34 years and 304 days, Tsuper has now become the oldest medallist in any Freestyle Skiing event.
Xu Mengtao (China) was the last woman to jump, needing only to land cleanly to take gold, but a hand drag in her landing meant she would have to settle for silver with a score of 83.50.
Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Lydia Lassila (Australia) attempted the most difficult jump of the evening but crashed in her landing. The Australian's performance was good enough for a score of 72.12 and the bronze medal.

Anton Kushnir (Belarus) put down the jump of his life to take gold at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Monday night in a stacked super final in Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
After failing to qualify with his first jump, Kushnir stuck his last-ditch second qualifying attempt and was nearly perfect from there on, sticking clean landing after clean landing to make his way through the unforgiving Olympic Winter Games elimination format.
Jumping second in the super final after qualifying in third from the final two, Kushnir landed a back double-full, full, double-full air that earned him a score of 134.50, the highest of the night in any round by more than 13 points.
A jubilant David Morris claimed a first men's aerials medal for Australia, with a back double-full, full, full earning him a score of 110.41, and the silver medal.
Jia Zongyang (China) fell on his back full, double-full, double-full, but it was still enough for him to earn 95.06 -and bronze -and surpass his countryman Qi Guangpu, who also fell on his attempt.

A glance back at Sochi 2014 Snowboard Events

As in the freestyle skiing, snowboard gave an Olympic debut to two new events in Sochi, with slopestyle and parallel slalom, supplementing the existing events of snowboard cross, halfpipe and parallel giant slalom.

Again, it was the US athletes who grabbed centre stage, with Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson prevailing in slopestyle, which was also notable for giving Team GB its first ever Olympic medal on snow, as Jenny Jones claimed bronze to join Anderson on the podium.

20-years-old Sage Kotsenburg of the United States became the first gold medalist of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday when he won the men's snowboard slopestyle event at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Kotsenburg’s first run scored 93.50 and although some of his rivals put in high scores on their second runs, he held on for victory.
Norwegian Staale Sandbech (91.75) claimed silver with the penultimate run of the event while Mark McMorris of Canada took bronze with 88.75.

Jamie Anderson (USA) became the first female snowboarder to win an Olympic slopestyle gold. Putting down a majestic display, the 23-year-old recorded an incredible score of 95.25 in her second run, overhauling Enni Rukajarvi (FIN), who took silver.
Jenny Jones (GBR) claimed the bronze thanks to a second run score of 87.25, to give the British their first ever Olympic medal on snow.

In the halfpipe, Kaitlyn Farrington continued the US golden streak in the women’s competition, before Switzerland’s Iouri Podlatchikov caused a sensation in the men’s, throwing down his trademark “YOLO flip” to dethrone two-time reigning champion Shaun White of the USA, who didn’t even make the podium.

Swiss snowboarder "iPod" Iouri Podladtchikov produced one of the big upsets of the Olympics as he dethroned superstar Shaun White to win men's snowboard halfpipe gold.
It was the first time ever, that the so far leading halfpipe nation USA came away empty-handed while Russian born Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov claimed the first ever Olympic halfpipe medal for his home country after Gian Simmen had secured Gold in Nagano 1998.
Japanese riders Ayumu Hirano, the youngest Olympic medalist in snow events with 15 years and 74 days as well as 18-year-old Taku Hiraoka rounded out the podium as second and third thus making the land of the rising sun proud with the first ever Olympic snowboard medals.

Olympic newcomer Kaitlyn Farrington, who didn't make it to the finals from the qualifiers but then stepped it up in the semis, took home the fame and the glory with a super creative run relegating three former Olympic Champions, Torah Bright (AUS), Kelly Clark (USA) and Hannah Teter (USA) to second, third and fourth.
The 24-year-old from Idaho who had placed fourth at the 2013 FIS Snowboard World Champs earned the high score of 91.75 with edging off Torah Bright to second with only .25 separating them; Kelly Clark took Bronze with only 1.00 behind of Farrington.

Heading higher up the slopes at Rosa Khutor, in the men’s and women’s snowboard cross there was joy for Pierre Vaultier (FRA) and Eva Samkova (CZE) respectively.

Pierre Vaultier (FRA) won gold in the men's snowboard cross final at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games ahead of Nikolay Olyunin (RUS) and Alex Deibold (USA) today, in a sloppy wet final with heavy fog that made it hard to see at the top of the course.
Three-time Olympian Vaultier, 26, and 2010 Junior World Champion Olyunin, 22, both won each of their rounds leading up to the final and did not face one another until the final round.

Eva Samkova, the shooting star from the Czech Republic, kept the momentum after winning the last pre-Olympic World Cup race as well as grabbing Silver at the last X-Games storming to Gold in the ladies' Snowboard Cross event of the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park today edging off Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Chloe Trespeuch (CZE) to second and third.

Meanwhile, there was a unique double for Russia’s Vic Wild, who took gold in both the parallel giant slalom and the inaugural parallel slalom, becoming the first snowboarder to top two podiums at the same Games.

Vic Wild (RUS), who became a Russian citizen two years ago, thrilled his adopted country and won the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games beating Nevin Galmarini (SUI) in the final head-to-head run at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Wild, a 28-year-old born in Washington state, previously competed for the United States but got frustrated with the lack of funding for downhill snowboarding.
He married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina - who won Bronze in the women's event just minutes before Wild won Gold - and became a Russian citizen in 2012.

The Olympic debut of parallel slalom at the XXII Olympic Winter Games at Sochi provided a spectacular men's event with Vic Wild (RUS) crowning himself double Olympic Champion edging off Zan Kosir (SLO) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) to second and third in front of a roaring home crowd.

Pre-race favourite Patrizia Kummer (SUI) stayed on her feet on an icy (morning) and partly bumpy course to win gold in the ladies snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games after beating red-hot Tomoka Takeuchi (JPN) in the final round at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park which became truly a duel of this season's best riders.
Alena Zavarzine (RUS) won the Bronze medal as a roaring partisan crowd cheered her on against Austria's Ina Meschik.

The penultimate day of the XXII Olympic Winter Games featured an historic result when the first ever Olympic parallel slalom took place at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Julia Dujmovits (AUT) earned her chapter in the history books relegating German racers Anke Karstens and Amelie Kober to second and third respectively.
Julia Dujmovits crept through the rounds, to clinch gold in a dramatic final just 0.12 seconds ahead of Germany’s Anke Karstens.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Der Weisse Rausch 2014. St. Anton am Arlberg


Der Weisse Rausch. St. Anton am Arlberg

Yesterday April 19th a new edition of Der Weisse Rausch took place in St. Anton am Arlberg .
"The White Thrill" ski race is talked about all over the world by Wintersport fans. Whether as participants or observers, this sporty and speedy spectacle is a cult. Each year the race attracts hundreds of international piste freaks.
555 international piste addicts joined the line-up this year on the Valluga at 2650 meters for the mass start. Participants cover a 9 kilometres trail through Valfagehrjoch, Ulmerhütte, Steißbachtal, Moos and finally St. Anton.
1,300 metres in altitude difference, 150 metre climb and a record time of seven minutes, 40.6 seconds are the forces to be reckoned with: "The White Thrill" cult race demands everything of its’ participants , yet most are inexorably drawn back every year to compete all over again.
The race is named after Der Weisse Rausch Film (White Ecstasy, 1931) directed by Dr. Arnold Franck starring by Hannes Schneider and Leni Riefenstahl.
Paul Schwarzacher, member of the Austrian National Ski Team training team has triumphed a record winning nine times. The fastest time of seven minutes and 40.6 seconds, however, was set in 2012 by Florian Holzinger from Germany. Times between 11 and 18 minutes are a good average, but they lose their significance once the race is over. What really counts is crossing the finishing line, amply demonstrated by the many participants who compete in fancy dress and take a leisurely half an hour to complete the course.
Der Weisse Rausch is also the first stage of the alpine triathlon "Arlberg Eagle". The overall winner must be ahead of the field in the ski race, in the Arlberger Jakobilauf half marathon (July 26th) and in the mountain-bike race: the Arlberger Bike Marathon (August 23rd).


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Epic TV: Super Serious Skiing with Eric Balken and Friends, Teaser

In a world of hype, adrenaline, and energy drinks, Eric Balken and his friends embark on a quest to leave behind all of their immature antics and discover the serious side of freeskiing. Whatever the hell that is. Whether shredding deep powder at their stomping grounds in Utah, or exploring the pillows and big mountains in Montana and Canada, this crew knows that freeskiing is no laughing matter. Well, okay, maybe a little. Freeskiing Needs to Get Serious.

Technical Inspection and Coordination Group Meeting in Vail-Beaver Creek

With the clock ticking towards the start of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2015 in Vail-Beaver Creek (USA), the final spring technical inspections and Coordination Group meeting were held on site.
Just after the conclusion of the FIS Alpine World Cup season, the official technical inspections were carried out by the FIS Race Directors led by Atle Skaardal and new men’s Race Director, Markus Waldner. An intensive few days involved inspecting the men’s Birds of Prey and ladies Raptor courses as well as looking into the sport organisational plans.
The technical officials came away from their meetings and venue tours on a positive note. Already earlier in the season, the new ladies’ downhill course, ‘The Raptor’ debuted to rave reviews from the athletes. The men have also always said that the famed ‘Birds of Prey’ downhill course is one of the highlights of the World Cup season.
Atle Skaardal commented: "We have had a great debut on the ladies Raptor and are looking forward to seeing it in action again in the next season. We will then finalise the last details before the 2015 World Championships get underway". Markus Waldner added: "After inspecting the 2015 World Championship courses, we are extremely happy with the current situation and can feel confident that with the experienced Organising Team the Championships will be a top event!".
The technical inspections have been followed up this week with the Coordination Group meeting in Vail and Beaver Creek. Present are representatives from the 2017 Organising Committee, FIS, USSA, the European Broadcast Union and its commercial partner Tridem.
With the countdown clock now below the 300-day mark before the World Championships begin on 2nd February, the Organisers and FIS have turned the focus on the fine tuning on the technical side and the promotional elements of the Championships.
FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis commented: "The Organisers are preparing a full programme of free entertainment to make sure that the visitors and fans both from Colorado, the United States and the rest of the world that travel to visit the Championships will have a memorable stay and enjoy not just the outstanding competitions these courses and organisation are sure to provide, but the Vail Valley and Rocky Mountain region".
The final inspection and Coordination Group meeting prior to the World Championships will take place this Autumn to ensure the site is fully operational before the world descends on Vail Valley in February.
The FIS Alpine Ski World Championships 2015 will be held from 2th-15th February. The Championships will get underway with the Opening Ceremony at the Golden Peak Stadium in Vail.
Since the inception of Vail and Beaver Creek’s World Cup tradition in 1967, the Vail Valley Foundation, in conjunction with Vail Resorts, has played an integral role in the organization and hosting of events that have come to be viewed as some of the best competitions held annually throughout the world.
The tradition of alpine ski racing has been interwoven throughout Vail and Beaver Creek’s history since Vail Mountain opened to the world in 1962. Founded by a ski racer, Vail hosted its first racing event, a U.S. Ski Team training camp, one week after opening.
Since 1983, the Vail Valley has played host to numerous annual World Cup races, including the 1994 and 1997 World Cup Finals. This number has been increased by the ability to hold competitions when other resorts have been forced to cancel their races as the Vail Valley has traditionally come to the aid of the FIS by picking up races from Aspen, Whistler, Park City and Val d’Isere, France.
The 1989 and 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships firmly established the Vail Valley as "the ski racing capital of North America", generating worldwide awareness for Vail and Beaver Creek. As a result of the 1989 Championships, Vail Associates’ international skier visits jumped from 3-4% to 12% for the winter of 1989-90, while the 1999 Championships generated the largest crowd in U.S. ski racing history and the coming out party for one of the world’s premier downhill courses, paving the way for Vail and Beaver Creek’s successful bid to host the 2015 World Championships.
Vail Resorts, the leading mountain resort operator in the United States, operate the mountain resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

Vail-Beaver Creek 2015: Preparing A World-Class Mountain

A behind the scenes look at the construction of the Women's Downhill Course for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Racing Championships.
The "Raptor" Downhill course was built just to the east of Birds of Prey on similar terrain. Birds of Prey was built for the 1999 world championships and has been a men's World Cup stop ever since.
The "Raptor" course was built adjacent to the men's course for women's races at the 2015 world championships. Top speeds exceeded 75 mph, and racers found it challenging technically and mentally.
Since it debuted in December 1997, the "Birds of Prey" men's downhill course here has been acclaimed as one of the most technically demanding tracks in the world. Its sister course appears destined for the same sort of reputation.
Prior to construction of the Birds of Prey, the Vail Valley was a regular women's World Cup stop, but they raced over at Vail.
"There has obviously been considerable discussion about what the ladies’ course would be named", explained Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and president of the 2015 World Championships organizing committee. "Given its proximity to Birds of Prey, the natural inclination was to try to find a name that would be both complementary and that could stand alone. We definitely feel that Raptor is a name that works well with Birds of Prey and, given the majesty of the raptor family, I think we have accomplished both goals".
The term "raptor" is derived from the Latin word rapere, meaning to seize or take by force. The birds in this family have well developed senses, especially vision, and large, powerful talons and beaks that aid them in hunting their prey.
Raptor symbols are also very special to Native Americans, with their ability to soar above the clouds, perhaps to the heavens, and their sense of freedom serving as a source of inspiration. Because of their amazing power of flight, many raptors are revered as bringers of messages and symbols of change, their feathers having many spiritual & ritual uses.

The new Beaver Creek ladies’ speed course has been constructed over the course of the past two summers in anticipation of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The new Downhill course incorporates portions of Peregrine and Golden Eagle, along with two new cuts that have been dubbed Kestrel on the trail map. The course, located skier’s right of Birds of Prey, will join the men’s course at the Red Tail Jump and flows into the current finish arena.

"It’s challenging to say the least", offered U.S. Ski Team downhiller Stacey Cook. "It’s narrow and in your face. We’re right up against the fences and there’s a lot of forces to deal with, particularly high speeds combined with big turns, which is something that doesn’t get combined very often in women’s downhill. You’re going to have to be really strong to be fast".
Raptor took its first official test on November 29-December 1 when the Women’s World Cup came to Beaver Creek for Downhill, Super-G and Giant Slalom competitions.

The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek are scheduled from February 2-15. The event is expected to showcase athletes from over 70 nations, along with an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,500 members. An international television audience approaching 750 million people will watch the two weeks of racing and festivities.
Ladies' and Men's Downhill Events will take place on February 6th and 7th, 2015 in Beaver Creek.
Vail Resorts, the leading mountain resort operator in the United States, operate the mountain resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

Epic TV: Whistler Unfiltered, Ep. 3. Pushing Powder Skiing Past the Limit in Record Snowfall

The latest in Under the Weather skiing series brings more face shots than you can shake a stick at, deeper powder than you could swim thorough, and higher flying than should be humanly possible. But it wasn't always in the cards... This winter was looking bad. Really, really bad. But like most great things in life, that all changed in the blink of an eye. With storm after storm fizzling and failing to provide, the crew finally picked up and left for the Canadian Coast. If a snow storm was going to come in, they wanted to be there to see it. So they swapped twin-tips for thrusters. Surfing became the medium by which to spend the days and experience the incoming system. They waited. And the wait was well worth it. With 9-15 foot swell turing into 9 - 15 feet of snow, the faucet was left on and the handle was broken off as the Whistler ski season truly began. Pillows, pat downs, and more face shots than most illicit LA films. This is why they live there.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lillehammer 2016 Mascot Finalists Announced

Moose, Weasel or Lynx? One of these animals will be the mascot for the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games. Entries from all over the world came flooding in and following what must have been a difficult decision, we are left with three YOGtastic finalists, and it is up to you to pick a winner.
The jury consisted of Simen Staalnacke, one of the founders of a Norwegian clothing line, Julie Strømsvåg, sports anchor of Norwegian Olympic Broadcaster TV2, Paralympic athlete Birgit Skarstein and design student, Marianne Ågotnes.
Keep an eye on our Lillehammer 2016 Facebook page for updates on how to vote.

The Youth Olympic Games are a sporting event for young people, balancing sport, culture and education.
Young athletes will participate in high-level competitions and alongside the sports element of the event, will participate in a Culture and Education Programme (CEP) focused on five themes: Olympism and Olympic values, skills development, well-being and healthy lifestyle, social responsibility and expression through digital media.
Non-athletes (young ambassadors, young reporters etc.) will also participate with young athletes in CEP activities, as well as local youth.
It was during its Session in Guatemala City in July 2007 that the IOC decided to create a new sporting event to educate, engage and influence young athletes inspiring them to play an active role in their communities, founded on the idea of the President Jacques Rogge of the IOC.
Steeped in sporting history, Lillehammer is no stranger to the Olympic Movement, having hosted, in 1994, an unforgettable Olympic Winter Games.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, to be held between February 26th and March 6th 2016, will bring together more than one thousand athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from approximately 80 National Olympic Committees to compete in Bobsleigh, Luge, Ski jumping, Alpine skiing, Nordic Combined, Cross Country, Biathlon, Curling, Figure Skating, Ice hockey, Speed Skating, Shorttrack skating, Snowboard, and Freestyle (Skicross / Halfpipe).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Epic TV: A La Française Ep. 6. Guillaume Harleaux and Friends Shred Through Avalanches in the Alps

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.

At the confluence of resorts like Flaine, Samoens, Les Carroz, Sixt, Morillon is an area called 'le Grand Massif' which, unlike most of the Alps this winter, got huge amounts of snow. In the new episode of A La Française, the crew visits Guillaume Harleaux at his home in Les Carroz d'Arache and gets some great helicopter footage of him and his friends attacking the Grand Massif. Every morning when the shelling stops the boys are on it. Aymeric Cloerec and Bertrand Clair join Guillaume for a couple of insane powder days in 60 cm deep snow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Epic TV: Japanese Dream, Ep. 3. Would Avalanches and Stitches Stop You from Skiing Powder? Not Jérôme Chanal

After a week skiing deep powder in Hakuba, Japan Jérôme Chanal and Guillaume Harleaux were planning to go to Hokkaido. Then Jérôme kissed a tree and had to get his face stitched up in the emergency room. While he was sitting in the hospital the snow kept falling and by the time he was out there was tons of fresh powder. The only thing to do was get back on the skis and head into the incredible Japanese mountains. The shooting conditions may have been bad but the skiing was awesome. Bask in the famous Niseko powder, which makes wind, cold, relentless snow and even lip stitches seem like very small issues indeed.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Epic TV: Whistler Unfiltered, Ep. 2. These Freeskiers are Divine Degenerates

You might think that being a professional skier is all about hanging out, building jumps, and talking shit. In fact, it also includes copious amounts of drinking, monitoring of weather forecasts, and shooting things with firearms of dubious legality. This week the Under the Weather boys are suffering through a major snow drought in Whistler so they pack up their best flat caps and move to Revelstoke for the entire month. When June-uary - June in January, get it? - hits all of British Columbia the crew heads back home and dives deep into the Whistler nightlife. Some might say too deep. Luckily you don't need to wake up until noon to ride park. Finally they build an 80 foot step-up with an ice bar attachment, truck in some young ladies, booze, good people, and a small armory, and let the madness ensue. And by 'madness' we mean, they built the jump too small and they are going to wake up sore. Oh and Eliel went to Japan. Scored epic pow, got mega deep, blah blah blah. Screw that guy...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Epic TV: Whistler Unfiltered, Ep. 1. Hard Graft, Hard Partying and Nasty Kickers

Nick McNutt, Eliel Hindert, Jordan Clarke, Andreas Unterberger, and Flo Goeller are a crew of professional ski bums. They grind out menial labor jobs all summer so they can ski and film all winter in some of the best powder on earth This episode introduces the crew and shows what goes into setting up a season in Whistler before the first flakes even fall. From the vicious jobs to uncooperative weather, a few too many parties, and a seriously busted snowmobile, this is what it takes to survive a season in the BC backcountry.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Epic TV: Whistler Unfiltered, Teaser

Get ready for a balls-out, no holds barred, full-spectrum taste of the highs, lows, and madness that make up a winter season in Whistler, British Columbia. Follow local up-and-coming skiiers Nick McNutt, Eliel Hindert, Jordan Clarke, Andreas Unterberger, Florian Goller, and a slew of local pro riders as they explore every aspect of what it takes to make it or get broken off in the process. From the deep backcountry skiing to the depths of the night life, and everything local, find out what makes life in winter's playground unlike anything else on earth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2015 Competition Schedule Announced

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is entering a new exciting phase in 2015, with a comprehensive calendar including two great new venues officially announced. The tour will consist of five venues intotal for the men and four venues for the women. The Pyrenean resort of Vallnord Arcalis, in Andorra, will host both men and women skiers and snowboarders, and the notorious mountains of
Alaska, USA, will see a smaller group of men skiers and snowboarders just before the finals and the 20th anniversary of the "Xtreme Verbier" in Switzerland.
"We are very proud to announce the two new venues added to three already existing and exceptional FWT events. The local organizer at the Pyrenean resort Vallnord Arcalis of Andorra has organized a very successful freeride event since 1998, the El Dorado Freeride, one of the most popular 4-star Freeride World Qualifier events. The terrain is spectacular and there are some great faces for an all-star FWT competition. Regarding Alaska, it’s the epicentre of big mountain riding and every freerider’s dream to go there. The first extreme skiing competitions were organized in Alaska back in the early nineties and that is where the whole freeriding competition scene started! Since we launched the Freeride World Tour in 2008, we have desired to organize a competition there. We are so excited to finally make it happen", said Nicolas Hale-Woods, Freeride World Tour General Manager and Founder.
The Freeride World Tour season 2015 will start off at the mecca of freeriding, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in France, January 24, 2015, then head to Austria and Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, January 31.
One week later, the athletes will take on Vallnord Arcalis in Andorra for the first time, February 14. After the event at VallnordArcalis, there will be a cut for Alaska, USA, with 60 per cent of the men skiers and snowboarders qualifying. In Alaska, there will be a longer weather window to ensure the best possible conditions, March 14-22. The exact location in Alaska is yet to be confirmed.
Again 60 per cent of the riders after Alaska will qualify to the grande finale and the 20th anniversary of the Xtreme Verbier, March 28! The women qualify directly to Verbier after Vallnord Arcalis.
Marco Vaccari, Head of Marketing International with Swatch, commented: "We’re delighted to see the Freeride World Tour developing and exploring new territories that will challenge and push the riders to even greater performance levels. The new stop in Andorra promises to be an excellent addition to the Tour after
several very successful years hosting Freeride World Qualifier events. Alaska brings another step up – it’s awesome sports territory and is bound to jack up excitement to new heights. And of course we’re very happy and proud to see the Tour wind up the 2015 season in Verbier, Switzerland – home country for Swatch!".
The 2014 season saw some interesting changes in the leader board with the greatest example of rookie Loïc Collomb-Patton of France crowned Freeride World Champion in Men’s Ski his first time on the tour. 16 male skiers, 8 male snowboarders, 7 female skiers and 4 female snowboarders are qualified to 2015. Invited wild cards to the full season and to single events will be announced at a later stage.
Eric Pansier, VP Marketing The North Face EMEA, said: "The North Face is very supportive of the decision of the Freeride World Tour organizers to continuously strive for the highest standards possible for the sport and maintain a tour of events that will embody what Big Mountain freeriding means for the community and will inspire the global wider audience. In particular, a new stop in the demanding and stunning terrain of Alaska will give us a very strong opportunity to lead the sport to a new level and show the world what the essence of this event is all about".

Event calendar

1. Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc By The North Face
Date: Jan. 24, 2015; Location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, FRA
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

2. Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen By The North Face
Date: Jan. 31, 2015; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, AUT
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

3. Swatch Freeride World Tour Vallnord Arcalis / Andorra By The North Face
Date: Feb 14, 2015; Location: Vallnord Arcalis, AND

Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

4. Swatch Freeride World Tour Alaska By The North Face
Date: March 14, 2015; Location: tbc
Disciplines: Men’s Ski and Snowboard

5. Swatch Xtreme Verbier By The North Face
Date: March 28, 2015; Location: Verbier, SUI
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard