First freestyle contests after the World Championships

On Wednesday, February 4th, the freestyle aces are getting back to World Cup business after the season’s highlight, the 8th FIS Snowboard World Championships in Gangwon, Korea, concluded ten days ago.

Sergio Berger in Gujo.  Copyright: FIS - Oliver KrausSitting just a little bit above the Olympic Halfpipe in Melezet, the Slopestyle course offers six features. Starting with a rail another Butter Box offers some time to slide before a kicker series of four jumps leads straight in the finish.

This milestone in the World Cup history attracts about 150 riders from 25 countries to Italy including some of the world’s best and most recognised snowboarders. Especially the ladies’ line-up promises some snowboarding at its best. Besides US-American top stars like Olympic Gold medallist Hannah Teter, Silver medallist Gretchen Bleiler as well as Kelly Clark and Jamie Anderson, Australia’s Torah Bright and Holly Crawford have travelled all the way from “down under” to Bardonecchia.

But there are also some top athletes from Europe getting ready for some action. Norway’s Kjersti Buaas who rounded out the Olympic Halfpipe podium as third and her team mate Lisa Wiik are also part of the provisional entry list as well as Paulina Ligocka from Poland, Sina Candrian from Switzerland and French Anne Sophie Pellissier who won the Halfpipe competition last year.

On the men’s side, also some of the crème de la crème have applied to start: From the US there are Louie Vito, Steve Fisher and Elijah Teter. They will meet Mathieu Crepel and Gary Zebrowski from France as well as Norway’s Fredrik Austbo, Tore Holvik, Roger Kleivdal, Kim-Rune Hansen and Gjermund Braaten. In addition, Iouri Podladtchikov, Christian Haller, Daniel Friberg, Rolf Feldmann, Sergio Berger and Air & Style-winner Colin Frei will give their best for a good Swiss result.

Also Marco Grilc (CRO), Matevz Petek (SLO), Kevin Baeckstroem (SWE) as well as Markus Malin from Finland, who placed second last year in the Halfpipe contest, will perform at this freestyle World Cup events. The Italian spectators will cross their fingers for their fellow countrymen such as last year’s surprising Halfpipe winner Manuel Pietropoli as well as Lorenzo Buzzoni and Stefano Munari.

Iron Night 2008.  Copyright: Organiser
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Iron Night 2009: Boarder and Freeskier at Crystal Ground

On Saturday February 14th the Crystal Ground – Snowpark Kleinwalsertal again becomes the place-to-be for the snowboarding and freeski scene.

Crans-Montana 2008.  Foto: Arnaud Derib
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Champs Open: Switzerland´s most historic contest

All happening February 4th till 7th, 2009, one of the most historic competitions on the Tour will feature an upgraded Star level, a stacked riders list and a monster 650 meter Slopestyle course.

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