Held in Koenigsee, Berchtesgadener Land, Bavaria, the 2014 wok racing championships – WOK WM 2014 – took place on March 8, with the gold medal going to Joey Kelly, silver to Georg Hackl and bronze to Armin Zöggeler. The team event was won by Otelo team with the four-member team from Jamaica comprised of Hanukkah Wallace, Marvin Dixon, Seldwyn Morgan and Wayne Blackwood. Georg Hackl’s speed record of 88.2 km/h set in 2012 remains unbroken. The four-person-woksled speed record of 97 km/h was set in 2006 by FROSTA team.
Wok racing is exactly what the name suggests – competitors seated in a Chinese cooking wok, racing down a bobsleigh track. Initiated by German entertainer and television host Stefan Raab, the wok racing championship has taken place annually since 2003, when Raab won the gold medal at the host venue in Winterberg. It should come as no surprise that the most enthusiastic supporters of wok racing are skilled lugers who are accustomed to hurtling down tracks at breakneck speed, at times reaching speeds of 140 km/h. The highest recorded speed of a luger was 154 km/h, set by Manuel Pfister of Austria at Canada‘s Whistler track. Of the three 2014 winners, both Georg Hackl and Armin Zöggeler are Olympic champions, while Kelly participates in a number of challenging sports including multi-discipline endurance events.
High-quality Chinese cooking woks are used in wok racing, with modifications being epoxy reinforcement of the bottom and polyurethane foam along the edges to prevent injury. Team woksleds consist of two pairs of woks held together by a frame, and the two pairs connected by a coupling. Much as in luge events, steering of the wok is done with shifting weight and body movements. Competitors wear well-padded protective gear and full-face helmets. To reduce friction competitors wear ladles under their feet, and woks are sometimes heated underneath with a blowtorch to enhance performance.
While it’s unlikely wok racing will become a winter Olympics sport anytime soon, it is a whole lot of fun for both competitors and spectators.
Considered to be one of the finest alpine ski racers in history, Hermann Maier is the holder of two gold medals earned at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games and one silver medal earned at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games, as well as four overall World Cup titles – 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004. He also has numerous World Cup titles in other disciplines, including the World Cup Super-G title for 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004.
Born in Altenmarkt im Pongau, Salzburg, Austria on December 7, 1972, Maier was introduced to skiing at a young age through his father’s skiing school. He showed great promise with his technique and at the age of 15 he was accepted into the Austrian national ski academy. Due to problems with his knees and his smaller than average size, he was dropped from the program and he returned to Flachau, competingin local races and becoming a regional champion in Tyrol and Salzburg.
In January 1996, he achieved the 12th fastest time in a giant slalom event in Flachau, which brought him to the attention of the coaches of the Austrian World Cup ski team and launched his international competitive ski career. On February 10, 1996, Maier made his World Cup debut at Hinterstoder, Austria, finishing 26th in the giant slalom. In February 1997, he won the World Cup Super-G race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and in 1998 he won gold medals for both the giant slalom and Super-G at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. What makes his victories even more noteworthy is that they took place only days after he flew off the course of a downhill race and went tumbling head over heels a few times before crashing through two stretches of B-netting, walking away unscathed. The crash and his gold medal achievements brought him to the attention of the sporting world and he made the cover of Sports Illustrated with the byline “Thrills and Spills – The Olympics as You’ve Never Seen Them”.
Maier’s career went from strength to strength and in 2000 he won the World Cup title, as well as the title for downhill, Super-G and giant slalom, setting a record of the most points garnered by an alpine skier in a World Cup title. (His record of 2000 points was broken in 2013 by Tina Maze who scored 2414 points.) In 2001, Maier repeated his World Cup wins and gained silver and bronze medals at the 2001 World Championships held in St Anton.
In August 2001, Maier was in a serious motorcycle accident which required lengthy reconstruction surgery and rehabilitative therapy. However, he returned to international competitive skiing in January 2003, winning the Super-G at Kitzbühel, Austria. His amazing recovery and return to competitive skiing was acknowledged by the 2004 Laureus World Sport Award for the “Comeback of the Year” after he reclaimed both the overall World Cup title and the Super-G title. It’s no wonder that he is sometimes referred to as ‘The Herminator’.
Following several more victories, and having made an indelible mark on the history of the sport of snow skiing, Hermann Maier announced his retirement from competitive skiing in October 2009.
With days getting a little longer and temperatures warming up, spring in Vermont offers skiers and snowboarders loads of opportunities to get some skiing in before summer arrives. Up to 80 percent of the ski areas in Vermont have snowmaking facilities to supplement the snowfall experienced this winter, and more snow is forecast, all of which is likely to extend the snow skiing season at least to the end of March, possibly into early April.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort is offering some great family packages, with the lowest rates of the season applying from March 14 through to April 5, 2014. Ski and stay packages includes condominium lodging, daily lift tickets, and access to the resort’s indoor pool and hot tubs. They also offer snow tubing and an indoor FunZone with games and gigantic inflatables for the younger family members.
It’s not too late to grab some fun time at Stratton Mountain Resort. Specials include a Kids Ski and Stay Free offer for children 17 years old and younger, on condition that two adults purchase lodging and lift packages. Also, don’t miss the action of the 24 Hours of Stratton skiathon on March 15.
Sugarbush Resort is running a “Show Us Yours, We’ll Show You Ours” initiative where skiers presenting passes for other mountains will be given a discount on lift tickets – offering the perfect opportunity to experience this popular resort in what many consider to be the best time of the year.
From March 17 to the closing day of the season, Okemo Mountain Resort’s Spring Skiesta Card allows cardholders unlimited snow skiing and snowboarding. Plus, if cardholders buy a 2014/15 season pass by April 30, 2014, the price they paid for the Spring Skiesta Card ($99) will be applied as a discount.
Killington Resort’s offer for March 15 through to the end of the 2013/2014, dubbed the 2014 Nor’Beaster, offers snow skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts unlimited skiing and riding, live music and discounted lodging. The Nor’Beaster kicks off with a Shamrock Scavenger Hunt in honor of St Patrick’s Day, followed by a host of fun events such as the Ski Bum Race Series, Life is Good Nor’Beaster Festival, a Woodward Mini Camp for 7-19 year-olds, and much, much more.
Other Vermont ski areas and resorts offering specials to wind down the season include, Magic Mountain, Middlebury College Snow Bowl, Bromley Mountain, Jay Peak Resort and Bolton Valley.
Often referred to as “Sunny South Africa”, this diverse multicultural country on the southern tip of the African continent is generally not readily associated with snow skiing. However, there are snow skiing options in the country, at least one of which is available all year around – The Ski Deck in Ferndale, Gauteng. Facilities at the Ski Deck include wet surface ski slopes, a 20m static ski slope and the country’s first fully computerized simulator, dubbed The Sky Tek Power Carver – for ski and snowboard training. Additionally, The Ski Deck has an on-site shop offering top imported brands in ski clothing.
With a guaranteed 30,000m of skiing slopes, and 30 years of teaching experience on tap, The Ski Deck offers the quickest, and safest, methods of mastering skiing and snowboarding skills. Skiers in South Africa who are planning to head to Northern Hemisphere slopes for a skiing vacation can jump-start their experience by learning skiing and snowboarding techniques beforehand. This means more time on the slopes at their destination, and a whole lot more confidence in tackling the real thing.
Another advantages of learning to ski or snowboard at The Ski Deck include having an instructor on hand, providing pointers and giving correction where needed. Also, with no waiting for ski lifts to take them back to the top of a ski resort slope, students can pack a whole lot of skiing into a short space of time, perfecting their rhythm and turns. Beginners will find this particularly helpful, as learning on snow is subject to changing weather conditions and the sometimes difficult task of making their way back up the slope after each descent.
Experienced skiers can practice their skills on The Sky Tec Power Carver, ensuring they are in good shape when hitting the slopes at their favorite resort. Skiers of all levels of competency can practice their skills all year around, thereby strengthening and toning muscles used for skiing, but not necessarily in everyday life. No more aches and pains to hinder skiers as they rediscover muscles they’d forgotten they had.
Snow sport enthusiasts don’t need to leave the country to enjoy snow skiing. Reservations for the 2014 ski season at Tiffendell in the Eastern Cape Highlands of South Africa are now open. So make your booking and start honing those snow skiing skills.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics well underway, the excitement and competitive levels are running high as countries start to count their medals. Officially known as the XXII Olympic Winter Games, and most often referred to as Sochi 2014, the games feature a total of 98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines. Sochi 2014 is the debut for a number of events, including women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, mixed-team figure skating, half-pipe skiing, mixed-team luge, snowboard parallel slalom, and ski and snowboard slopestyle. The events are taking place at two groups of new purpose-built venues – the Olympic Park in Imeretinsky Valley on the Black Sea coast, and the resort of Krasnaya Polyana.
The Women’s Alpine Skiing event today saw a tie for first place with Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland both covering the 2.7 km stretch in 1:41.57. This is Gisin’s third downhill victory, two of which were ties, the other being a World Cup victory in January 2009 which she shared with Anja Paerson from Sweden. Maze, wearing bib number 21, took to the starting line 30 minutes after Gisin in the number 8 bib. As temperatures rose, Maze appeared to be hindered by softening snow on the final slope, but crossed the finish line with the exact same time as Gisin – and was clearly pleased with the result. Lara Gut of Switzerland took the Bronze Medal, with Daniela Merighetti coming in fourth and Fabienne Suter in sixth place.
Yesterday’s events included the Women’s Pursuit Biathlon, with the Gold Medal going to Darya Domracheva of Belarus, Silver going to Tora Berger of Norway and Bronze to Teja Gregorin of Slovenia. The Short Program Figure Skating Pairs event saw Russia in first and third place, with Germany in second, China in fourth and Canada in fifth place. The Free Skating event will take place tomorrow, with the points earned being added to the Short Program Figure Skating Pairs to determine final score and medal awards.
Highlights of tomorrow’s program include the Ladies’ Classic Cross-Country, Men’s Figure Skating, Team Relay Luge, and Men’s Individual Biathlon. Sochi 2014 continues until Sunday 23 February.
Be sure not to miss North America’s biggest gathering of snowsports, art, music and culture. Winter sporting activities include the AFP World Championship which features the invitational Big Air and open Slopestyle. Also not to be missed is The Shred Show, Demo Park, Mascot Mayhem, Whistler Dogfest, and the Roller Derby.Festival goers can also look forward to a filmmaker showdown, pro photographer showdown, The Mountain Multiplicity Show, Outdoor Concert Series, Bud Light Apres Series, parties and more.
For more information visit www.wssf.com
Date: 11-20 April 2014
Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
The exciting SnowCrown Ski & Snowboard Festival features pro and amateur slopestyle, halfpipe and big air action. All of this is accompanied by parties and a variety of activities for those attending.
For more information visit www.snowcrown.ca
Date: 10-15 March 2014
Location: Blue Mountain, Ontario, Canada
The Helly Hansen Big Mountain Battle is a thrilling scavenger hunt event for teams. Checkpoints are placed all over the mountain and each team of 2 must reach all these points within 3 hours. There are three categories in which teams can enter: Advanced course, Intermediate course, and Intermediate course 12 and Under.
For more information visit – http://www.bigmountainbattle.com/Information/
Date: 1 March 2014
Location: Killington Ski Resort, Vermont, United States of America
The SnowSports ACT Ski and Snowboard Sale & Expo is an annual event that supports the ACT snowsport athletes. At the event visitors can buy or sell preowned and new snowsport gear.
For more information visit – http://www.snowsportsact.com.au/snowsports_sale_and_expo.html
Date: 10 May 2014
Time: 8:30 – 13:30
Location: Old Bus Depot, Kingston, Australia
The Portage Health Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon is ideal for racers of all levels, offering 10km, 25km and 50km trails. The fun kicks off on Friday, 7 March, with Registration, the Junior Bear Chase and a Pasta Dinner. The real action takes place on Saturday, with races comencing between 8am and 9:50 am, following bib pick-up. Following the race is the ever-popular Pasty Lunch, then the awards ceremony and fun-filled square dancing. The weekend is rounded off on Sunday with the Great Bear Race Snow Bike Race.
For more information visit greatbearchase.com
Date: 8 March 2014
Location: Sedetown Trails, Calumet, Michigan, United States of America