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After the first day of competition at the SWATCH SKIERS CUP, Team Europe emerged with a commanding 11 – 5 lead over Team Americas, with today’s Big Mountain event held on a heli-accessed face high in the peaks above Zermatt, Switzerland. The 2012-2013 winter has been full of snow in this part of the Alps, and deep, fresh snow coated the impressive venue.
The competitors had two runs each, one on each half of the venue. The conditions resulted in descents not typically seen in big mountain freeride competitions. The snow was so deep some competitors struggled to find enough speed to hit features and jumps as planned.
Standout runs came from riders who took a higher speed, less technical approach like Chamonix local Sam Favret. His runs had few airs – instead he shredded the snow spines and walls at full bore. “I’m influenced by snowboarding and skating, and I was really inspired by today’s venue to bring that surf style to the big mountain,” said Favret.
Other highlights included Team America’s Tim Dutton nearly landing a huge double backflip, coming up the slightest bit short for the landing. Sverre Liliequist triggered a small windslab avalanche near the end of his run yet went on to stomp a backflip off his final air, skiing away with the slide at the tails of his skis. “I haven’t done a backflip since the first SKIERS CUP in Chile in 2011,” laughed Liliequist, “that felt so good!”
The riders will now have a few rest days before the winning team of the SWATCH SKIERS CUP is decided at the Backcountry Slopestyle discipline. “The venue we have for Backcountry Slopestyle is ideal – really good terrain for a variety of jumps and the incredible backdrop of Zermatt,” said head jump shaper and event judge Julien Regnier.
Here are the highlights from the first couple of days out in Zermatt, stay tuned for more to come, including the Backcountry Slopestyle event.