Team Europe Wins Swatch Skiers Cup
The first ever Swatch Skiers Cup freeski competition was held in Chile, with Team Europe beating Team Americas 14-10 on 12 September 2011. Even though Team Americas’ freestylers were thought to be ones who would take home the title, Kaj Zackrisson and his team showed everyone what they’re made of.
The Swatch Skier Cup consisted of the Big Mountain segment on 5 September 2011 and of two rounds made up of eight Backcountry Slopestyle duels at Valle Nevado. The terrain consisted of natural cliffs, hits and powder landings, as well as two huge features created by David Ny. A single point was awarded to the winner of each heat.
Team Europe already had a strong lead when heading into the Backcountry Slopestyle segment. Canadian Rory Bushfield put his best foot forward with some impressive moves, including a 360 over the entry hip, cork-720 off the kicker and 180 nosetap from a rolling 10 meter drop. Dylan Hood of USA also showed just how talented he is. Nicolas Vuignier of Switzerland pulled off an amazing cab-540, followed by Markus Eder (Italy) with an unforgettable cab 900 mute and switch 540 revert. The first round ended with Team Europe still in the lead at 10-6.
Round two saw Team Europe’s Henrik Winstedt of Sweden gaining two points for his exceptional, controlled skiing. Sweden’s Sverre Liliequist impressed with his misty 720 and extreme backflip. Kaj Zackrisson (Sweden), captain of Team Europe, landed some great left and right 360s. Team America hit back with Dylan Hood performing a massive cork 720. Josh Bibby of Canada won his runs.
At the end of the day, Team Europe went home with the most points, winning the Swatch Skiers Cup. The inaugural event has received a lot of praise and will likely become a major highlight on the skiing calendar. Captain of Team Americas, Mark Abma, commented that the team feel and camaraderie made the event a success. It was also something different as these athletes are used to working alone and they had a great time creating a team focus. Be sure to watch out for this great competition in the years to come!