Friday, March 30, 2018

The Alps and Literature. Ski Paradise Commemorates 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus - first printed in London on 1 January 1818.
Shelley started writing the story in 1816 when she was 18 and completed her writing in April/May 1817 (Robinson, 1996).
The first edition of the novel was published anonymously with a preface written for Mary by Percy Bysshe Shelley and with a dedication to philosopher William Godwin, her father. It was published in an edition of just 500 copies in three volumes, the standard "triple-decker" format for 19th-century first editions.
On 31 October 1831, the first "popular" edition in one-volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. This edition was heavily revised by Mary Shelley, partially to make the story less radical. It included a lengthy new preface by the author, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story. This edition is the one that I used to write this publication.
Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Much of the story takes place in the region of Geneva, Switzerland. The novel is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement.
Frankenstein is written in the form of a frame story that starts with Captain Robert Walton writing letters to his sister. It takes place at an unspecified time in the 18th century.
In addition to climbers’ and explorers’ tales, an important factor that contributed to the expansion of tourism in the Alps in the 19th century was the success of literary works and pictorial representations of the mountains.
In the 19th century, Britons rushed to the mountains, led by a new breed of Romantic painters, poets, and writers (Fleming, 2000).
Lovers of mountains have often tried to give literary form to their feelings. Lord Conway’s first impression on seeing a great snow peak, the Blüemlisalphorn (3,661 m) in the Bernese Alps, gave proof of this: “I felt it as no part of this earth”, he said, “or in any way belonging to the world of experience. Here, at last, was the other world visible, inaccessible, no doubt, but authentically there; actual yet incredible, veritably solid with an aspect of eternal endurance, yet also ethereal; overwhelmingly magnificent but attractive too” (Engel, 1950: 255).
Mary Shelley's' Frankenstein has the glaciers and high mountains of the Alps in their background.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.
In 1814, Mary began a romance with one of her father's political followers, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married.
On 28 July 1814, the couple eloped and secretly left for France, taking Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, with them. The trio traveled to Paris, and then, by donkey, mule, carriage, and foot, through a France recently ravaged by war, to Switzerland. "It was acting in a novel, being an incarnate romance", Mary Shelley recalled in 1826 (Sunstein, 1989).
In May 1816, Mary, Percy Shelley, and their son traveled to Geneva with Claire Clairmont. They planned to spend the summer with the poet Lord Byron, whose recent affair with Claire had left her pregnant. The party arrived at Geneva on 14 May 1816, where Mary called herself "Mrs. Shelley". Byron joined them on 25 May, with his young physician, John William Polidori, and rented the Villa Diodati, close to Lake Geneva at the village of Cologny; Percy Shelley rented a smaller building called Maison Chapuis on the waterfront nearby. They spent their time writing, boating on the lake, and talking late into the night.
The Alps left lasting impressions in Mary Shelley. She found an infatuation with the mountains and the glaciers that would later produce the story of Frankenstein. The views were what had inspired Haller, Rousseau, Goethe, Wordsworth, Turner and all earlier Romantics who had come to the Alps (Fleming, 2000).
"It proved a wet, ungenial summer", Mary Shelley remembered in 1831, "and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house" (Frankenstein, 1831 edition). The violent storms were, it is now known, a repercussion of the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia the year before (1816 is known as the Year Without a Summer). Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company amused themselves with German ghost stories from the book Fantasmagoriana, a French anthology of German ghost stories, which prompted Byron to propose that they "each write a ghost story". Mary Shelley produced what would become Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, and Polidori was inspired by a fragmentary story of Byron's, Fragment of a Novel, to produce The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre (Sunstein, 1989).
Unable to think of a story, young Mary became anxious: "Have you thought of a story? I was asked each morning, and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying negative" (Frankenstein, 1831 edition). During one mid-June evening, the discussions turned to the nature of the principle of life. "Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated", Mary noted, "galvanism had given token of such things" (Frankenstein, 1831 edition). It was after midnight before they retired, and unable to sleep, she became possessed by her imagination as she beheld the grim terrors of her "waking dream", her ghost story (Frankenstein, 1831 edition).
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world” (Frankenstein, 1831 edition).
She began writing what she assumed would be a short story. With Percy Shelley's encouragement, she expanded this tale into her first novel, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818 (Bennett, 1998; Sunstein, 1989). She later described that summer in Switzerland as the moment "when I first stepped out from childhood into life" (Sunstein, 1989: 117).
Upon her return to England in September of 1816, Mary quickly began to develop the novel she had started in the summer. Its progress was twice interrupted by family catastrophe, first the suicide of her half-sister Fanny in October (Daisy, 2010), then the discovery in December of the body of Harriet Shelley, who, being with child, had herself committed suicide the month before. Two weeks after they were notified of Harriet's suicide, on 30 December 1816, Mary Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley were married at St Mildred's Church, Bread Street, London (Seymour, 2000).
The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died, —Clara, in September 1818 in Venice, and William, in June 1819 in Rome-, before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley on 12 November 1819.
In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumor that was to kill her at the age of 53.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Last World Cup Slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin won a career-best seventh slalom of the season on Saturday in impressive fashion, leading the field by over 1.5 seconds, at the Audi FIS World Cup Finals in Åre, Sweden. It was the American's fourth slalom victory –the most among women – at the Swedish resort that will host the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. She also finished the day by collecting her fifth slalom crystal globe that was mathematically secured in Ofterschwang last week.
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland attacked the second run to move from fifth after the first run into the runner-up position for the race and also the discipline standings. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden finished third on the day and also moved onto the standings podium in third place, much to the delight of local fans.

Marcel Hirscher Wins Last World Cup Giant Slalom

The races at the World Cup Finals in Are went into the last round and both the cup and the race win went to Austria's Marcel Hirscher.
As for most of the season, the battle at the top of the giant slalom rankings is between Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen. Despite a mistake in the first run, the Austrian could take the lead in the first run and hold on going into a shortened second run. With this he claimed his 13th win of the season, equalling a record set by Ingemar Stenmark and Hermann Maier. He also won 11 of the last 12 races in that discipline, what allowed him to earn his 5th crystal globe in giant slalom.
The fastest man in the second run was Henrik Kristoffersen! The Norwegian, who has celebrated 11-second places this season, was able to beat Marcel Hirscher in the second run, but still ended in second place, +0.23 off the winning pace. Kristoffersen consolidated his second place in the giant slalom season ranking, proving that he made a big step in that discipline this season.
In third place, Victor Muffat-Jeandet grabs his first giant slalom podium of the season. The French athlete had his breakthrough two seasons ago but struggled to score podiums last season and at the beginning of 2017/18. In Wengen, with his first World Cup win in alpine combined, things changed and he could carry on winning an Olympic bronze medal in that discipline and now enjoy the third place in giant slalom, his 7th in career.
Another Frenchman finished in the third place of the season ranking in giant slalom. It’s the only man that was able to win a race in Marcel Hirscher’s long winning streak; Alexis Pinturault. With his win in Val d’Isère and solid results throughout the season, including three third spots, he was able to climb on the cup podium for the sixth consecutive year.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sweden Wins Nations Team Event in Åre.

The winner of the alpine team event at Åre World Cup Finals came down to the very last run as Andre Myhrer of Sweden bested Julien Lizeroux of France for the overall victory. Sweden matched its success in the event at last year's Finals when it beat out Germany. This year, Germany had to settle for third.
Sweden became the third country to win this event at consecutive World Cup Finals after Austria won back-to-back in 2006-2007 and Switzerland won three in a row from 2014 to 2016. Sweden also joined Austria (2012 Schladming) and Switzerland (2016 St. Moritz, 2014 Lenzerheide) in winning this event on home snow at the World Cup Finals.
After finishing fourth in the event at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, France was out for revenge and succeeded in advancing to the big final on a strong team performance. The Swedes proved just a bit stronger, bolstered by the support of the crowd. Germany bested Austria in the small final to claim the last podium position in third.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Vincent Kriechmayr Wins Last Super-G of the Season in Åre. Kjetil Jansrud Takes the Super-G Globe

Today's super-g at the World Cup Finals in Åre saw Vincent Kriechmayr win again, just one day after he took the downhill. The season's standings were already decided after the super-g race in Kvitfjell, where Kjetil Jansrud clinched the globe in front of his home crowd.
Due to the wind, the start of the super-g had to be lowered to the giant slalom start, but the race could be held in fair conditions. Vincent Kriechmayr had his breakthrough this season and could confirm his excellent shape in the two final races that he won, to bring his statistic to xx world cup wind, while he started the season with 0.
Christoph Innerhofer finished his season on a positive note with a second place in the super-g. Lots of very fast sections, lots of very fast training runs, but the Italian wasn't able to bring it down and claim that podium placement.
Two athletes were tied in third place: Aksel Lund Svindal and Thomas Dressen. The Norwegian took an impressive 77th career podium and the young German celebrates his first podium in the super-g.
While the first place of the season standings was fixed since Kjetil Jansrud’s win in the super-g in Kvitfjell, the other positions on the podium were still up to grab, with lots of potential contenders. With today’s win, Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr was able to earn enough points to take the second spot on the podium. Aksel Lund Svindal rounds out the podium, he takes a season medal for the 21st in his career.

Sofia Goggia Wins World Cup Supe-G in Åre. Tina Weirather Claims her Second Consecutive Super-G Globe

Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein successfully defended her super-G crystal globe on Thursday at World Cup Finals in Åre, Sweden. With the decision coming down to the last race of the season, Weirather finished sixth in the race as her globe rival Lara Gut of Switzerland failed to complete the course. Gut ultimately finished second in the discipline standings and Anna Veith of Austria was third.
In the day's race, Sofia Goggia of Italy won her first super-G of the season with an attacking run, 0.32 seconds ahead of Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany. Lindsey Vonn rounded out the podium in third just over a half second behind Goggia.
Wind on the top of the slope forced organizers to use the reserve start for the race. However, the excitement was still high for the discipline standings as well as the competition, and the race podium was filled with skiers from bib 16-19. Olympic gold medallist Ester Ledecka started last, but she skied off course after a fast top section.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Matthias Mayer and Vincent Kriechmayr Wins Last Downhill of the Season in Åre. Beat Feuz Claims her Career First Crystal Globe

In Austria, a downhill win has a particular value in the World Cup and so far the Austrian athletes were not able to clinch that victory in the fastest discipline. But today, they even scored a double, with Matthias Mayer and Vincent Kriechmary ex-aequo in the first place. With his thrid place of the day, Beat Feuz secured the first World Cup globe of his career.
There have been some Austrian successes in the speed disciplines this season. Together, Matthias Mayer, Hannes Reichelt, Vincent Kriechmayr and Max Franz scored not less than 12 podiums, including Kriechmayr’s win in the super-g in Beaver Creek. In addition to that, the Olympic title of super-g went to Matthias Mayer. However, the Austrians can’t explain themselves happy without a downhill win. And this win came in the very last race of the season, with not only one athlete at the top of the podium, but two, tied for the win. Vincent Kriechmayr celebrates his first success in downhill, while Matthias Mayr claims his 5th World Cup win, the 3rd in downhill.
In third place today at the downhill in Are, Switzerland’s Beat Feuz was relieved. Not only because it’s another podium for him this season, the 7th in downhill, but because this consistence allowed him to clinch the first crystal globe in his career. Being the 2018 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Downhill winner means a lot to Beat Feuz, especially after he missed three globes, including the Overall, for only 25 points back in 2012.
Throughout the season, the main contender of Beat Feuz was the attacking Viking Aksel Lund Svindal. The Norwegian won the Olympic downhill, but also in Beaver Creek and in Val Gardena. With six podiums this season, he trailed Beat Feuz all the way to the very end of the season but had to give up the dream of holding his 12th globe after his performance in today’s race.
The last spot on the podium standings goes to younggun Thomas Dressen. The German, who had the honour to win both the Kitzbuehel and the Kvitfjell downhills, had his breakthrough this season and proved to be very constant. His best season ranking at this point was his 25th place in downhill last season.

Lindsey Vonn Wins World Cup Downhill in Åre. Sofia Goggia Claims her Career First Crystal Globe

Lindsey Vonn won her fourth consecutive World Cup downhill race on Wednesday during the World Cup Finals in Åre, Sweden, but her efforts proved just three points shy of overtaking Sofia Goggia in the downhill discipline standings. The 33-year-old did still claim her 82nd World Cup title, moving four wins shy of Stenmark's record of 86 career World Cup wins.
Sofia Goggia claimed her career-first crystal globe with the downhill discipline title after finishing second in the standings the previous season.
The athletes competed on a shortened track due to weather allowing for only a single training run from a lowered start. Organizers attempted to hold a second training run on the morning of the race from higher up on the slope, but wind and snowfall early in the day made this impossible.
Goggia took the early lead in a race that maintained its intensity all the way to the final finisher. Once Vonn came down in the lead by a tight 0.06 seconds, any skier who finished between the American and the Italian had the chance to alter the globe standings. Both Vonn and Goggia watched in anticipation. In the end, Vonn's teammate Alice McKennis with bib 23 nearly bumped Goggia but crossed the finish line in third to have no effect on the standings.
Sofia Goggia, the Olympic gold medallist in downhill, referred to the globe as a dream come true.

Monday, March 12, 2018

36th Allalin-Races in Saas-Fee

On March 16 and 17 2018, the 36th edition of the Allalin Races takes place in Saas-Fee. The Allalin Races are the highest glacier races in the world and thus, a one-of-a-kind experience.
The nine kilometers long run overcomes 1800m of altitude and participants reach around 140km/h.
The Allalin Races in Saas-Fee belong to the 3 most popular amateur downhill races in Switzerland. The “Super Vier” amateur downhill series consists of the four races Belalp-Hexe, the Inferno Mürren, and the Allalin Races Saas-Fee. Every year the overall masters of the whole series will be announced. The award ceremony and the presentation of the much-coveted cup always take place at the Allalin Races in Saas-Fee as it is the last one of the series.

For over 30 years the Allalin Races and the famous afterparties attract ambitious amateur racers as well as winter sports fans who join the competition just for fun. Surrounded by the highest mountains in Switzerland the race starts at an altitude of 3600 meters above sea level and aims the village on only 1800 meters.
The challenging downhill race was mastered for the first time in 1946. Back than the participants had to hike up to the mountain hut on Längfluh, only to get up the next morning and hike further to the top of the Allalinhorn on 4027 meters. The following race down didn’t happen on perfectly prepared slopes like nowadays. No, they had to pass the dangerous crevasses while getting through powder snow.
Participants can enter four different categories: the Team Race, the Fun Team Race, the Him and Her Race, and the individual men’s or women’s races. Men and women in the individual races usually intent to aim the best time. The participants in the Fun Team Race descend just for fun at a leisurely pace. A pit-stop at a mountain restaurant along the way is almost mandatory and dressing up is actively encouraged. Apparently, in the past, a team has even plonked themselves down in the snow for a quick cheese fondue. It’s no wonder, then, that teams in this category have been known to take over five hours to “race” down to the finish line. By contrast, an ambitious, highly trained athlete can complete the course in less than five minutes!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Kjetil Jansrud Takes Victory in Kvitfjell and the Super-G Globe

The last regular speed weekend came to an end today at Kvitfjell (NOR), with the Super-G on the Olympiabakken course.
Kjetil Jansrud’s domination in this year’s Super-G events continues and claimed the top step on the podium today in Kvitfjell. He crossed the finish line 0.22 seconds ahead of Beat Feuz and 0.33 ahead of Brice Roger.
The local hero Kjetil Jansrud kept his nerves under control and scored a 21st World Cup win, the 7th in front of his home crowd. With this win, he also secured the crystal globe in this discipline. Norwegian teammate Aksel Lund Svindal, failed to finish his run, enabling Jansrud to build a 134-point lead with only the season-ending race in Sweden remaining.
As yesterday in the downhill, Beat Feuz took second place, and a surprise guest ended in third place; Brice Roger grabbed his second career podium coming down with bib 49 in today's Super-G in Kvitfjell.

Winning Run Mickael Bimboes. Freeride World Tour 2018. Fieberbrunn, Austria

Mickael Bimboes (FRA-1st Place) claimed his first career FWT win and podium thanks to hard-charging big mountain confidence, perfectly stomped airs and a huge must-stick gap jump over the lower couloir, which has never been seen before in a competition on the “Wildseeloder” venue.

Winning Run Lorraine Huber. Freeride World Tour 2018. Fieberbrunn, Austria

Defending FWT Fieberbrunn winner, Lorraine Huber (AUT-1st Place) took to the air early with a beautifully executed double followed by a huge drop, which she stomped perfectly to take the win.

Winning Run Gigi Rüf. Freeride World Tour 2018. Fieberbrunn, Austria

Austrian snowboard legend, Gigi Rüf (AUT-1st Place) earned his first FWT win thanks to a textbook run, which began with him smoothly slashing his way through the big mountain spine features at the top of the venue followed by a stylish 360, true to form for the backcountry freestyle specialist.

Winning Run Marion Haerty. Freeride World Tour 2018. Fieberbrunn, Austria

Defending champion, Marion Haerty (FRA-1st Place) took the top podium spot with solid riding from top to bottom, sticking her entire technical line with confidence.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Slalom in Ofterschwang and takes His 5th Slalom Crystal Globe

American Mikaela Shiffrin won the Ofterschwang slalom on Saturday and claimed her career-fifth globe in the discipline in spring-like conditions at the German resort. After leading the first run, Shiffrin faced stiff competition from Wendy Holdener of Switzerland who ultimately finished in second just 0.09 seconds from the win. Olympic gold medallist Frida Hansdotter of Sweden rounded out the podium in third.

Thomas Dressen Wins Downhill in Kvitfjell

After two training days with difficult conditions in Norway’s Kvitfjell, the skies cleared for today’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill and the track was in a good shape to host the last event in this discipline before the World Cup Finals. The battle for the win was won by Germany’s Thomas Dressen, while the two contenders for the discipline cup rounded out the podium.
The sensational winner of the Kitzbueheler downhill, young Thomas Dressen from Germany, managed to claim another win in his absolute best World Cup season so far. Starting in the 25th position of the standings after last season, the 24 years old made his way up starting with the 3rd place in Beaver Creek and never skiing out of the top 15 this season. With now two World Cup victories on his winning list, Dressen is now in third in the discipline standings.
Only +0.08 behind him, the Swiss “Kugelblitz” Beat Feuz grabs his 31st podium in career, the 6th on the Olympiabakken in Kvitfjell. With this good performance, he is able to extend his lead in the discipline standings and will go into the last race of the season with 60 points over his rival Aksel Lund Svindal. The downhill World Champion has a chance to take a World Cup globe for the first time in his career, after he was second in the Overall, in the downhill, in the combined and third in the super-g in 2011/2012.
The Norwegian champion was particularly happy to be back racing on home snow after he missed the three last edition of the World Cup in Kvitfjell due to injuries. The big support of the crowd and a strong run brought him a third place today, +0.17 off the winning pace. Even though 20 precious points were lost over Beat Feuz for the downhill standings, the current Olympic champion was satisfied to be able to ski at his best level until the end of the season and is looking forward to the last downhill in Are next week.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Ragnhild Mowinckel Wins Giant Slalom in Ofterschwang. Shiffrin Takes 2ndCareer World Cup Overall Crystal Globe

Norwegian double Olympic silver medallist Ragnhild Mowinckel claimed her maiden World Cup victory at the Ofterschwang giant slalom on Friday. Leading after the first run, the Attacking Viking skied her second run with all green lights to secure her career-first win in her third World Cup podium appearance. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany kept the home fans happy with her second-place finish, and Mikaela Shiffrin moved up from fourth after the first run to finish on the podium in third.
With Shiffrin's podium finish, the American mathematically clinched her second career World Cup Overall crystal globe holding a 603-point lead over Wendy Holdener with only five scoring races left on the calendar. Rebensburg inched closer to her third giant slalom title and leads Tessa Worley by 92 points heading into the final race of the season in Sweden.
Warm temperatures were of concern for athletes in the morning, but they raved about the effective slope preparation which provided a fair surface despite spring-like conditions. Ricarda Haaser of Austria scored a career-best result in fourth place with bib 23. The top-25 ranked giant slalom skiers, along with World Junior Champion Julia Scheib of Austria, are now eligible to compete in the final giant slalom of the season next week.

4th Stop of the Freeride World Tour 2018 Took Place Today in Fieberbrunn, Austria

The stakes could not get any higher: a world title race, qualification for the FWT finals at the Xtreme Verbier and the 2019 season all on the line today in the Austrian Tyrol, and the world’s top freeriders did not disappoint. With only two days of rest following a stellar competition in Andorra, riders in every category were on fire for “Crunch Time” in Fieberbrunn.

Ski Men

It was a day of firsts for the rookie, Mickael Bimboes (FRA-1st Place) who claimed his first career FWT win and podium thanks to hard-charging big mountain confidence, perfectly stomped airs and a huge must-stick gap jump over the lower couloir, which has never been seen before in a competition on the “Wildseeloder” venue.
"What a surprising day! Having a very late start with my bib number and still getting some good snow and…even winning!", said Bimboes.
Kristofer Turdell (SWE-2nd Place)stood on the podium for the second time this week and clinched the 2018 FWT Ski Men championship after stomping a nearly perfect technical run with tons of air time. The former champion, George Rodney (USA-3rd) was back in form perfectly stomping one of the biggest airs of the day, which landed him back in the winner’s circle.

Ski Women

The Austrians came ready to represent on their home turf in an extremely high-level competition for the category. Defending FWT Fieberbrunn winner, Lorraine Huber (AUT-1st Place) took to the air early with a beautifully executed double followed by a huge drop, which she stomped perfectly to take the win.
"I am so happy that I will compete at The Bec des Rosses in Verbier. I had been not sure if it would work out. This victory means so much to me, especially after my slow start into the season", said Huber
Eva Walkner (AUT-2nd Place) came out of the gate flying and linked up multiple big airs with confidence, fluidity, and control to earn her a spot on the podium next to her compatriot. Rachel Croft (USA-3rd Place) stood proudly on the FWT podium for the first time in her career after stomping a high-confidence big mountain run.

Snowboard Men

Austrian snowboard legend, Gigi Rüf (AUT-1st Place) earned his first FWT win thanks to a textbook run, which began with him smoothly slashing his way through the big mountain spine features at the top of the venue followed by a stylish 360, true to form for the backcountry freestyle specialist. ç
"We found great snow conditions here in Fieberbrunn though it’s already March. I’m over the moon to be first on the podium. I’m just super happy!", said Rüf.
Joining him on the podium was wildcard, Elias Elhardt (GER-2nd Place) whose trademark playful and flowy style was on full display and fellow Austrian, Thomas Feurstein (AUT-3rd Place) who earned himself a second podium this week after stomping a solid technical run with multiple 360s.

Snowboard Women

Defending champion, Marion Haerty (FRA-1st Place) took the top podium spot with solid riding from top to bottom, sticking her entire technical line with confidence.
"I’m so happy to be back on the top of the podium, I feel good and full of energy. I’m gonna try to keep on going like that and just enjoy!", said Haerty.
Manuela Mandl(AUT-2nd Place) earned another 2018 podium with strong fluid riding, putting her in the number one position in the overall rankings. Anna Orlova (RUS-3rd Place) linked up multiple airs with smooth and confident riding for a solid result and overall ranking going into the upcoming finals in Verbier.

Freeride World Tour 2018. Fourth Stop: Fieberbrunn, Austria

The 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 show 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.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Winning Run Kristofer Turdell. Freeride World Tour 2018 Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra

Kristofer Turdell (SWE-1st Place) was the man to beat thanks to a critically stomped straight line to air in the central couloir, followed by a huge and perfectly landed backflip and a stylish 360 to put his stamp on the winning run.
"I feel unbelievably good, just sitting here all the comp, watching all the other guys sending it so much! I can’t believe I end up on the top of the podium", said Turdell.

Winning Run Arianna Tricomi. Freeride World Tour 2018 Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra

Arianna Tricomi (ITA-1st Place) made FWT history for her category today with a beautifully floated 360 and perfect landing to cap-off a stellar run, which put her on the top of the podium and maintained her number one overall ranking.
"I’m stoked that I end up on the podium!", said Tricomi

Winning Run Sammy Luebke. Freeride World Tour 2018 Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra

Sammy Luebke (USA-1st Place), defending FWT World Champion was the rider to beat today with his trademark playful style on offer from start to finish, including a beautifully executed front side 360 to cement his win.
"I feel super hyped to put down that run. My knee is feeling good, I feel healthy, I’m super stoked!". said Luebke.

Winning Run Manuela Mandl. Freeride World Tour 2018 Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra

Manuela Mandl (AUT-1st Place) was the obvious winner launching out of the gate with speed and confidence, linking up two cleanly landed big airs for a solid performance.
"I’m really happy that I won here because now I can continue playing this year just snowboarding! Andorra is beautiful, the mountains here are great, we had so much luck with the face and the snow, I’m super happy!", said Mandl

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Marketing Trophy for Saas-Fee Winter Card Campaign

MARKETINGTAG Known as the "Oscar" of the Swiss marketing scene, the Marketing Trophy honors the most creative ideas and most successful marketing projects of the past year. Nominated for the trophy this time were eight projects, from which the jury has now chosen the winners.
The "Oscar" of the Swiss marketing world was awarded on March 6, 2018, as part of Marketing Day 18 at KKL Lucerne. The Swiss Marketing Association traditionally awards the prize to Switzerland's most innovative and successful marketing ideas. The jury headed by Prof. dr. Sven Reinecke from the Institute of Marketing of the University of St.Gallen has declared Saas-Fee Marketing Campaign winner of the prize for small and medium-sized businesses.

WinterCARD 16/17 - "A Knock-Out Deal!"
In Swiss winter tourism, supply clearly exceeds demand. But hardship makes you inventive.
In October 2016, Saas-Fee revolutionized the ski industry in Switzerland.
With an innovative marketing campaign, the cable cars launched a low-cost season passes deal and sold more than 90,000 season passes between October and December, generating revenues in excess of CHF 20 million. Thanks to the successful campaign, the Saas valley generated a plus of 15 %, the largest increase in overnight stays in all of Switzerland.
The basic idea of the campaign was based on the crowdfunding principle: over 90,000 skiers and snowboarders have a season pass for 222 francs, the «Hammerdeal» became reality. And the European record in crowdfunding set up. The season tickets were sold via the specially developed online platform The corresponding campaign took place on all channels (TV, print, editorial contributions, online). Cooperation partnerships, as well as a broad PR offensive, ensured a complementary broad communication and distribution.
Instead of remaining like the other destinations in Euro shock rigidity or to make the hollow hand beg from the policy subsidies, deficit guarantees and special tax regulations rattled Saas-Fee the Swiss tourism industry thoroughly on. The WinterCARD took advantage of the price elasticity and combined it with the safety factor of a minimum volume.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Freeride World Tour 2018 Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra

It was an epic day in Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra with crucial points on the line in the FWT title race, riders threw down huge on the "Basser Negre" venue in a stellar competition at Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra the first of three European stops of the 2018 tour.
With only two stops left, “Crunch Time” in Fieberbrunn, Austria is next for the last chance to qualify for the finals at the Xtreme Verbier.

Ski Men

It was a day of massive performances and big scores for the Ski Men Category. Kristofer Turdell (SWE-1st Place) was the man to beat thanks to a critically stomped straight line to air in the central couloir, followed by a huge and perfectly landed backflip and a stylish 360 to put his stamp on the winning run. 
"I feel unbelievably good, just sitting here all the comp, watching all the other guys sending it so much! I can’t believe I end up on the top of the podium", said Turdell.
Rookie, Craig Murray (NZL-2nd Place) stood on the FWT podium for his first time in his career after executing a textbook run with style written all over it, including a rarely seen and cleanly stomped flatspin. Two times FWT Champion, Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA-3rd Place) had yet another solid performance in Andorra with big floaty airs and a very fluid run earning him a well-deserved spot on the podium.

Ski Women

Arianna Tricomi (ITA-1st Place) made FWT history for her category today with a beautifully floated 360 and perfect landing to cap-off a stellar run, which put her on the top of the podium and maintained her number one overall ranking. 
"I’m stoked that I end up on the podium!", said Tricomi
Two times FWT Champion, Eva Walkner (AUT-2nd Place) stuck a big mandatory air in the central couloir with ease, which she followed-up with more air time in a hard-charging run to earn her the number two spot. Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI-3rd Place) landed multiple big airs on her fast and fluid run culminating with her standing proudly on the podium.

Snowboard Men

Sammy Luebke (USA-1st Place), defending FWT World Champion was the rider to beat today with his trademark playful style on offer from start to finish, including a beautifully executed front side 360 to cement his win. 
"I feel super hyped to put down that run. My knee is feeling good, I feel healthy, I’m super stoked!". said Luebke
Thomas Feurstein (AUT-2nd Place) had a well-deserved result thanks to a perfectly ridden top section followed by a big stomp off the “Malakhov Cliff”. Backcountry freestyle legend and 2018 Wildcard, Gigi Rüf (AUT-3rd Place) earned his first FWT podium spot with a stylish run, which included a perfectly stomped backside 360.

Snowboard Women

Manuela Mandl (AUT-1st Place) was the obvious winner launching out of the gate with speed and confidence, linking up two cleanly landed big airs for a solid performance. 
"I’m really happy that I won here because now I can continue playing this year just snowboarding! Andorra is beautiful, the mountains here are great, we had so much luck with the face and the snow, I’m super happy!", said Mandl
Audrey Hebert (CAN-2nd Place) took the number two spot on the podium thanks to a fluid run and clean airs. Marion Haerty (FRA-3rd Place) put together a solid technical run, opening up a new line for the category that she followed with plenty of air time to close out a solid day for the snowboarders.

Monday, March 5, 2018

15th Glacier Bike Downhill Race in Saas-Fee

Next Saturday, March 10th, 2018 the 15th annual Glacier Downhill Bike Race will be held in Saas-Fee. This is no usual ride over hill and dale. Rather this race goes over ice and snow down to the glacier village. The riders will start en mass at 3’500m. During the first half of the race, enthralling fights are guaranteed to ensure the lead position. It’s a race without spikes and of high velocity, with riders reaching speeds of 144 km/h.
The mass start is on the Mittelallalin station at an altitude of 3’500m and goes down over the snowy and icy slopes to the glacier village at 1’800m. They will start in different blocks. The starting block allocation is made based on the ranking point of the previous years.
The riders have to manage 1’700 meters of altitude difference and 7 km of distance. First, they ride on a narrow trail along the Fee glacier, which leads them to the panorama hill. For less experienced racers this is a real challenge. The hill is steep and has to be crossed at high speed. On this part of the trail, riders have been measured, per GPS, traveling at speeds of about 144 km/h.
Further down, the ride leads past the restaurant Morenia before entering the Valley run. This is going to be a very exciting part of the race with extremely steep passages, flat transits and narrow curves, and it is a real assessment of the rider and his material. The last part of the ride, a very flat passage, needs strength to be managed. The outcome of the race is often decided during this section of the course.
The helmet and protective gear, as well as the wheel disk, are obligatory for all participants.

The Glacier Downhill Bike Race will be held in three categories:
  • Women born in 2000 and before
  • Men main class born in 2000 and before 
  • Men senior born in 1983 and before 
Shortly before the finish, the route becomes a little steeper. After reaching the desired end of the race, the award ceremony will take place and in the evening the riders party will take place.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Federica Brignone Wins Last Alpine Combined of the Season in Crans Montana

Federica Brignone repeated her performance from last season with an impressive slalom run to claim her second career alpine combined victory at Crans-Montana, Switzerland on Sunday. Skiing from fifth place after the super-G run and 0.91 seconds off the lead, the Italian attacked Mont Lachaux with the third fastest slalom run to take the narrow 0.03 seconds win over Michelle Gisin.
The Olympic champion from Switzerland secured her second career World Cup alpine combined podium to the delight of the home crowd. She was followed close behind by Petra Vlhova, only 0.09 seconds from the win, as the Slovakian claimed her career first alpine combined podium in her first race in the discipline on the World Cup tour after finished fifth at the Olympic Winter Games.
Swiss fans had, even more, to celebrate as Wendy Holdener finished fourth on the day to collect her second career alpine combined discipline title. She will receive her crystal globe at the World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden. Gisin finished second in the 2017/18 alpine combined standings and Brignone was third.

Marcel Hirscher Wins Slalom in Kranjska Gora and takes His 7th Overall Crystal Globe

Another historic day in Kranjska Gora, with Marcel Hirscher winning the slalom and securing both the slalom and the overall globe. Henrik Kristoffersen finishes second and Ramon Zenhäusern takes the third spot on the podium.
Seven in a row! Seven seasons that Marcel Hirscher skis at a level that no one ever imagined, being stable, constant and strong as only very few legends before him. With his slalom win in Kranjska Gora today, Marcel Hirscher extended his lead in overall standings to 289 points, a gap that his closest contender Henrik Kristoffersen cannot close with only two tech races to go before the end of the season. He also secured the slalom standings, bringing his crystal globe collection to 17, only trailing Ingemar Stenmark who claimed 19.
"Incredible. You can't believe it's possible," he said after becoming the first skier in the 51-year history of the World Cup to win seven overall titles. No other male skier has won more than five, and fellow Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell won six times on the women's circuit in the 1970s.His performance in today’s slalom was solid. Despite the fact that he didn’t finish his last race in this discipline (at the Olympics in PyeongChang), Marcel Hirscher had a clear game plan going into the “tricky” slalom on Podkoren and didn’t lose focus despite knowing that Kristoffersen had a great second run.
"This is so surreal, I can't believe it," said Hirscher, who also locked up the slalom and GS titles this weekend, two weeks before the season-ending races in Sweden.
"Now I am going for one week vacation to Are," he quipped. "That is always really nice because the stress has gone away."
"With all the problems before the season started, with the broken ankle, it is... I can't find the right words. It is very surreal (...) The summer really wasn't easy. It went from a possible end of career to my best season," said Hirscher.The Norwegian did the best he could on this day, but as for the 10th time this season, he had to declare himself happy with a second place. A very strong season for Kristoffersen, who claimed not less than 14th podiums. An impressive mark, topped by the win of the slalom in Kitzbuehel.
Kristoffersen, who performed a deep bow to Hirscher at the prize giving ceremony after Sunday's race, called the Austrian "the best ski racer in the world."
"So it's OK for me to be second. At the moment he is just better, so it's OK when he wins the slalom globe, the GS globe, the overall globe," Kristoffersen said.Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhaeusern found his groove in January and is carrying his momentum through the end of the season, scoring successively his first World Cup win in the city event in Oslo, his first Olympic medals (silver in slalom and gold in the team event) and now confirming his excellent shape on the World Cup in his core discipline the slalom. With this performance, the two-meter tall athlete makes his entrance in the Top 7 group of the discipline.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Marcel Hirscher Takes Victory in Kranjska Gora and the Giant Slalom Globe

There is like a “déjà vu” when you look at today’s giant slalom results from Kranjska Gora. Only two weeks after the Olympic race, the same athletes make it on the podium on the Podkoren course: Marcel Hirscher, Henrik Kristoffersen, and Alexis Pinturault.
The Olympic Champion from PyeongChang 2018 has an incredible momentum. After collecting two gold medals at the Olympics, Marcel Hirscher grabs a 56th World Cup win, the 27th in giant slalom, the 11th of this season. This one had a particular meaning for the Austrian superstar as he scored his first World Cup podium on this course ten years ago. Ten years of professional ski racing at such a level is pretty impressive. With this win, he also put the hammer down on his contenders for the cup standings. Besides winning the giant slalom on the Podkoren course, he also secured the crystal globe in that discipline. The 5th in giant slalom, the 15th in total.
Henrik Kristoffersen is constantly close behind Marcel Hirscher this season. The slalom whiz focused on his second discipline a lot in training and made consequent progress in the giant slalom, earning four second places and scoring Top 5 results in all GS events this season. Even if it wasn’t enough to defeat Marcel Hirscher, the Norwegian is proud of his results in that discipline.
Frenchman Alexis Pinturault is the only other winner of a giant slalom this season. Actually, he is the only men not named “Marcel Hirscher” that was able to win a GS since December 2016. Struggling to ski at his highest level at the beginning of the season, Pinturault now found his groove and after earning the bronze medal at the Olympics, he takes his fourth season podium and the 45th in career.

Tina Weirather Wins Super-G in Crans Montana

Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein will head into World Cup Finals with a 46-point lead in the super-G standings following her victory in Saturday's race at Crans-Montana, Switzerland. The 2017 super-G globe winner was able to overtake Lara Gut of Switzerland (seventh on the day) with solid skiing and a precise line, particularly in the bottom section of the course where an off-camber jump proved problematic for many competitors.
Anna Veith of Austria was one athlete who had trouble with the jump, but she pulled off a miraculous recovery through the final gates on course to ski handily into second. She remarked after the race that any podium finish for her is a special result ever since her return from injury that could have ended her athletic career.
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland produced the surprise of the day as the technical skier with bib 31 shook up the predicted podium to finish third. Her teammate Michelle Gisin had previously tied Italian Federica Brignone for the honor, but Holdener bumped the pair to fourth with her clean, attacking run much to the delight of the crowd. It was Holdener's career-first podium in a speed discipline.
The race utilized a lowered start due to unfavorable course conditions on the upper part of the slope. Race organizers hope to use the longer super-G track in Sunday's alpine combined if at all possible.