Freeride World Tour Kicks Off In Sochi
The big mountain competition scene officially kicks off this week as the Freeride World Tour visits Sochi, Russia. The venerable resort will also host the 2014 Winter Olympics, and the area and surrounding mountains are well known to adventurous skiers, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who visits the area regularly on ski vacations.
But while Putin is nowhere to be seen this week, the snow has arrived after a relatively slow start to the Central European season. The storm hit on Tuesday, with intense weather making the visibility for the riders nearly impossible when they went to check out the venue chosen for the first day of competition. On Wednesday morning, the clouds disappeared leaving blue skies, but the time required to secure the face was a concern for the organization, so they decided to postpone the first day of competition with a possibility of beginning on Thursday. So the 57 riders present will have the opportunity to ski and check out the area today.
The bib draw as part of the opening ceremony took place on Tuesday in the Nissan village at the base of the mountain. Mitch Toelderer (AUT) and Richard Permin (FRA) will trace the first lines in snowboard and ski with bib numbers 1 and 2. The Pro Freeriders Board 2009 made the decision for the second day of the competition to reverse the starting list to even out rider’s chances. The final ranking for the event will be defined by the addition of the scores for the two days unless a second competition day is not possible in which case, the first day will determine the final ranking.
The Salymovski face, chosen for the first day of competition and situated at the top of the ski lifts, is perfect for public viewing; and the finish area is easily accessible for prime spectators. With 300 vertical meters and between 30-45% slope incline with a few trees freshly covered with a thick layer of snow, this face should allow the riders to go fast with many possible lines. The venue announced for the second day, though not yet confirmed, is the Rosa Huta (the Alpine Olympic venue for 2014) that has 400 vertical meters and 35-45% slope incline.
Veronika Sorokina, Russian Nissan Sports Adventure Wild Card skier
â€For me, this event in my home country is wonderful because there are riders here that you only see in the magazines and on TV. To have them here is great… Today, I saw lots of smiling faces on the slopes and it was a real pleasure,” says Veronika Sorokina, Russian Nissan Sports Adventure Wild Card skier
Adds skier Elyse Saugstad (USA), winner of the Freeride World Tour 2008, â€this mountain has incredible runs; we are really anxious to ride it. The energy here is great… we are all ready to go for it: itâ€™s our first competition of the season and the atmosphere is full of energy! I hope we get to go to the second venue with heli access, but I know that whatever happens, we will have a great time. The conditions are perfect for the best to win!â€
“Snow is blessing the Sochi region for the Nissan Russian Adventure 09, 1st stop of the Freeride World Tour,” says Nicolas Hale Woods, founder and organizer of the Freeride World Tour. “It has been snowing close to 1.5m during the last 72 hours, to a point where our mountain guides are eager to see the end of the snowfall. Riders are warming up dropping endless pillow lines, with never ending face shots. Nobody can wait to see these mountains with bluebird days, which should be the case as of tomorrow. Some serious avalanche checks are necessary to confirm day 1, hopefully on Thursday.”
The Freeride World Tour 2009
Since 2008, the Freeride World Tour has made sports history bringing together international freeriders. For the first time, skiers and snowboarders, men and women, travel the world seeking the Freeride World Champion title.
The stages of the Freeride World Tour 2009 (FWT)
20 – 25 January: Nissan Russian Adventure- Sochi, Russia
27 February – 5 March : Nissan Tram Face – Squaw Valley USA â€“ New event
8 -14 March: Nissan Freeride de Tignes, France
20 – 29 March: Nissan XtremeÂ â€“ Verbier 09, Switzerland
The Freeride World Qualifier 2009 events (FWQ)
30 January-2 February: the North Face Masters of Snowboarding â€“ Snowbird (USA) â€“Â
Sister event* of the Nissan Tram Face Squaw Valley USA
5-15 February: Scott Big Mountain Fieberbrunn (AUT), sister event of the Nissan Freeride de Tignes (FRA)
13-16 February: the North Face Masters of Snowboarding â€“ Crested Butte (USA), sister event of the Nissan Tram Face â€“ Squaw Valley USA
15-19 February: Freeride de Chamonix (FRA)
19-22 February: Winter Mysticxperience (ITA) Monte Rosa
20-22 February: The Monster Golden Ticket in Squaw Valley USA,sister event of the Nissan Tram Face â€“ Squaw Valley USA
6-8 March: the North Face Masters of Snowboarding â€“ Kirkwood (USA)
4-7 March: Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships – Taos, New Mexico (USA)
13-18 March: Nendaz Freeride (SUI), sister event of the Nissan Xtreme â€“ Verbier 09 (SUI)
31 March-5 April: Jasna Adrenaline (SK)
22-26 April: RÃ¶ldal Freeride Challenge (NOR), sister event of the Nissan Russian Adventure – Sochi 2010
*A sister event is a FWQ which will qualify the winners of each category to participate in the FWT event to which it is linked