May has managed to sneak up on us, which means one thing, the winter season has sadly come to an end. Seasonaire folk return home, some unpack then repack their bags and split to the sunshine in Europe for the summer while others, like me, head back to the UK to catch up with friends and family, while hoping get some British sun in the meantime.
It feels like just weeks ago we were all counting down to Winter 2013, and now it’s over, the countdown to Winter 2014 begins (7 months!). After two seasons in France I have just spent my winter in the exclusive Austrian town of Kitzbuhel.
One of the highlights on my season was the Hahnenkamm Race in January, which brought in the world’s fastest skiers to Kitzbuhel for a weekend of downhill racing and partying. With slopes nearing 85% gradient, jumps up to 80m and speeds spiking at 140km/ph, the Streif is considered the most spectacular ski run in the world and requires skiers to tackle almost everything. The 3312m length race course record is 1:51:58 mins, set by Fritz Strobl in 1997. Watch Red Bull’s POV video down the world’s toughest course here.
The Kitz-Ski area isn’t exactly snowboard friendly so I made the most of powder days, and got in as much off piste and fresh snow as I could. Kitzbuhel has some rad off piste spots so towards the end of the season I headed out with my ski instructor buddies as much as I could in search of fresh tracks.
We can all agree that it was an extremely eventful season in the Winter Sports World. It was impressive to see so many home grown names involved in the international events and the ever growing presence that winter sports is having in the UK and it’s media. A recent highlight is young British snowboard cross racer Jamie Barrow broke the British snowboard speed record at hit 94mph down the Mont Fort speed track in Verbier.
Throughout winter our news feeds have been filled with videos of snowboarders stomping backflips and rodeos, even 13 year olds are throwing out triple corks now. Norwegian star Marcus Kleveland now joins Torstein Horgmo, Mark McMorris and a handful of others who have landed the triple.
Travis Rice followed up Supernatural with The Red Bull Ultra Natural Series which brought together again the world’s best freestyle snowboarders for a unique backcountry competition. It was Gigi Ruf who stole the top score from the 55 degree face at Baldface Lodge in Nelson BC, with Nicolas Muller and Bryan Fox taking the runners up positions. Check out the jaw dropping event recap from Red Bull here.
Tignes in France was a center point for many highlights this season. March saw the European X-Games where Louie Vito stomped a solid performance and took home the gold in the Men’s Snowboard Superpipe, while ‘I-Pod’ landed the first YOLO flip (Cab double cork 1440) during the finals. It wasn’t just about ski and snowboards, remember the Mini cooper backflip off a jump in Tignes? Then the week after The Brits came to town to show off our local talents in the super park.
It was awesome to see so many European ski resorts still dumping as the last punters left resort, this may mean that in the next few years winter will be extended (yippy! #foreverwinter). But while the mountain gods figure that out, I’m back in Blighty and stoked for a festival filled summer, before another powder fuelled winter.
Guest post by Krystelle