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Team Americas Seeking a Comeback after Backcountry Slopestyle at The Skier’s Cup
Posted on February 25, 2015

Andy Mahre with the Matterhorn in his sights at The Swatch Skier's Cup

Team Euro took a 10 to 8 lead in the first day of competition of the Swatch Skier’s Cup, with Eddie Bauer skier Andy Mahre winning one of his two head-to head match-ups against French freeskiers in the backcountry slopestyle portion of the international freeskiing event in Zermatt, Switzerland. Mahre won his first round match-up against Richard Permin by throwing a massive backflip, but lost his second head-to-head in a closely contested battle with Sam Favret. Team Americas seeks a comeback in the final, deciding day on Thursday with the big mountain competition. Follow the action at www.swatchskierscup.com and read the recap for day one below.

Images by Shannon Skouras, Recap below courtesy of Swatch Skier’s Cup

Bottom photo by SwatchSkier’s Cup/J Lindberg

The Matterhorn has been around for ages, but certainly she hasn’t seen this kind of action right at her feet in decades. On the longest backcountry slopestyle venue in history with a vertical drop of 600m (2000 ft), the rivaling teams threw on one duel after another of acrobatic accomplishments and unbelievable balance. The judges—including former pro skier and 2002 X Games bronze medalist Philippe Poirier (CAN)—scored the runs by heats of two from a simple scale of win or lose with many nuances and details going into the final determination of overall impression including air, style, fluidity, originality and stomped landings.

 

First Round Recap

The first round difficulty is amplified because both teams have only had a visual check to determine their line choice. They have to rely solely on their feel for the snow and their experience to adjust the speed to the different features. Sam Favret (FRA) started out taking a point for Europe in the first heat by beating Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA) – both stomping their runs but Sam throwing tricks of higher difficulty. The next four rounds would see all four points going to Team Americas. Both Richard Permin (FRA) and Sven Kueenle (GER) crashed hard in their heats, taking them out for the second round and sending them straight for a medical check-up.

The first round finished of with a duel between the two Team Captains, Seth Morrison (USA) and Julien Regnier (FRA) with the victory going to Julien after Seth had laid out with a Flat 3 Japan up top followed by a huge back flip off a cliff earning him the baptizing rights. He just managed to save the landing but then crashed after the next feature. The first round ended with a score of 5-4 to Team Americas.

Second Round Recap

Round two is traditionally the round where the riders pull off their best trickery, after having tasted the terrain and felt how much speed is needed to get the air wanted in the first round. The second round kicked off with a duel between duel Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) taking the score even by beating Rory Bushfield (CAN) who almost beat the strong Frenchie by going for the wow factor, opening off Big Kicker 4 that none felt tempted to take on in round one.

Several succeeding rounds kept the score very close, alternating wins to the two teams all the way up to the much awaited heat of legends: Seth Morrison (USA) versus Sverre Liliequist (SWE). Both skiers showed that they are not done playing yet. Seth sent an even bigger back flip than first time off “his” cliff – inspiring Sverre to send an evenly big back flip off another cliff. Both crashed but their mutual sickness definitely delivered the highlight of the day. Sverre got the point taking the score to an even 9-7.

Andy Mahre (USA) set up a spectacular second run but not enough to beat Sam Favret (FRA) in this very tight heat. Finally, Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) stepped in for Sven Kueenle (GER) in the heat that showed the highest level of the day against Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA). Sage won the heat with probably the most creative line of the day, including combination of a man-made and natural feature into a double up top and opening up a new air.

“No one else hit it [the kicker] and I would just rather land in powder,” Sage recounted. “It’s always better to do a different line than what everyone else is doing in these types of contests where it’s about overall impression. Since no one had hit it, it’s kind of more surprising.”

The score of the backcountry slope style portion of the team event ended 10-8 to Team Europe. One event remains before the outcome of the 5th edition of the Swatch Skiers Cup will be decided and that big mountain event will be held on Thursday, with Team Americas needing a comeback in Ryder Cup style to take the title back home to the USA and Canada.

Head to head results at The Skier's Cup

 

Author: - Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
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