Team Americas tied with Team Europe after Big Mountain portion of Swatch Skiers Cup

Team Americas tied with Team Europe after Big Mountain portion of Swatch Skiers Cup

The second annual Swatch Skiers Cup kicked off on Saturday in Valle Nevado, Chile. On the docket that day was the Big Mountain event, the first of two competitions that comprise the Swatch Skiers Cup. The second, the Backcountry Slopestyle competition, is scheduled for Friday, September 7.


Richard Permin shot by Bernard Jeremy. Photo courtesy Swatch Skiers Cup.

The Big Mountain portion of the event was hosted on a 4000-meter-high mountain near Valle Nevado, featuring a south face packed with fresh Andean snow and littered with cliffs, chutes, natural takeoffs and other features. On the morning of the event, skiers ascended to the venue via helicopter. Following a course inspection, athletes engaged in head-to-head competition, with 16 competitors dropping in total—eight representing Team Americas and another eight representing Team Europe. After a heated battle, the score at the end of Day 1: 8-8.


Photo by Bernard Jeremy. Photo courtesy Swatch Skiers Cup.

Team Americas, headed by Captain Cody Townsend, includes Riley Leboe, Chris Benchetler, KC Deane, Drew Tabke, Chopo Diaz, Oakley White-Allen and Dane Tudor. Team Europe, led by Sweden’s Sverre Liliequist, includes Sam Smoothy, Mathieu Imbert, Paddy Graham, Jacob Wester, Richard Permin, Tom Leitner and Markus Eder.

After the first heat of competition Team Europe led 5-3, with Eder, Liliequist and Smoothy reportedly delivering outstanding runs. “I was pretty knackered after the first run so I decided to go for something with less turns and more air. It was pretty simple but something that I could just charge,” commented Smoothy.

Team Americas was able to bounce back in heat two, however, despite the loss of Chris Benchetler to a shoulder injury. Chopo Diaz skied twice in round two, subbing in for Benchetler. “Chopo was the Team Americas MVP by far, stepping up when Chris couldn’t ski his second run. Doing two runs in one heat, at this altitude, with this long, difficult run is amazing,” noted Cody Townsend.


Photo by D. Daher. Photo courtesy Swatch Skiers Cup.

The two teams traded points back and forth until the final competitor skied his way across the finish line, securing the deadlock at 8-all. “This tight race after Big Mountain day is perfect, it’s exciting to see the close battles run after run. Plus it gives our team a ton of motivation for Backcountry Slopestyle day,” said Sverre Liliequist.


Photo by Bernard Jeremy. Photo courtesy Swatch Skiers Cup.

The action continues on Friday, when one of the two teams will collect the Swatch Skiers Cup trophy and the accompanying bragging rights. Will Europe be able to defend its 2011 title? Stay tuned for an update following the event.

Big Mountain Day Highlights—Swatch Skiers Cup 2012.

A Day with Marcus Eder at the Swatch Skiers Cup 2012.


90 seconds by Cody Townsend: after contest fun—Swatch Skiers Cup.

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