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Team Americas Suffers Head-to-Head Loss in Skier’s Cup Big Mountain
Posted on February 27, 2015

Andy Mahre taking flight in Zermatt. Phot: David Carlier/Swatch Skier's Cup

Team Americas suffered a tough head-to-head loss in the second stage of the Swatch Skier’s Cup, falling 20-16 in the world’s premier head-to-head freeskiing event. Eddie Bauer freeskier Andy Mahre fought tight head-to-head battles with French freeskiers Fabien Maierhofer and Nicolas Vognier in the heli-accessed venue in Zermatt, Switzerland but came up just short in his effort to secure another critical point for the Team Americas squad on the final competition day. The North American team pushed Team Euro to the penultimate heat, losing when Freeride World Tour world champ Loic Collomb-Patton of France defeated Canadian Rory Bushfield with a stomped second run. As a result, the coveted Swatch Skier’s Cup trophy—and international freeskiing bragging rights—will remain in the Alps until the next incarnation of the event in 2016. —LYA Editor

Andy Mahre, checking his line, in Zermatt for the Swatch Skier's Cup. Photo: Shannon Skouras

Andy Mahre Photos by Shannon Skouras, Recap below by Swatch Skier’s Cup.

Other Photos Courtesy of Dom Daher, J Bernard, and David Carlier/Swatch Skier’s Cup

After enjoying powder and bluebird conditions for both backcountry slopestyle and big mountain events, the 5th edition of the Swatch Skiers Cup concluded today with Team Europe keeping the coveted Skier’s Cup trophy in the Alps for the next year.  The cumulative tally for the event now stands at 3-2 with the Euros holding a close lead in the international freeskiing competition.

Yesterday’s decisive big mountain stage was held on a heli-accessed face with heats divided into two head-to-head rounds. Team Euro took a 10 to 8 lead into the event, after Wednesday’s backcountry slopestyle, completing the victory with another close 10 to 8 victory after the day’s action was complete. The result was a decisive victory for the Europeans and a 20 to 16 final tally.


First Round Recap

The first round was marked by tricky snow conditions with riders having to feel where they could charge and where to be smooth and light on their skies. Highlights included Sam Anthamatten (SUI) hitting a gap that did not look rideable and linking it into a fun overall use of the face and playing with the many wind-created formations, leaving little chance for his opponent to beat him. Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) also put on a run that stood out in his heat against Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA) with a fluid run and stomped landings. The fastest paced run of the day, packed with action, was delivered by Rory Bushfield (CAN) who made it look like the face had been groomed just for him, showing his acrobatic skills as well. The first round ended 5-4 with Team Americas pulling one point closer in the overall.


Final Round Recap

Lagging three points behind, with an overall score of 15-12, Team Americas dropped in with motivation into the second round with their captain, Seth Morrison (USA) taking the first point against European Team Captain, Julien Regnier (FRA) with his signature backflip in the first heat. However, in the next two heats, the stand-ins for Sven Kueenle (GER) and Richard Permin (FRA) took home two more points for Team Europe: one was event co-founder, Kaj Zackrisson (SWE), who was on fire with what he afterwards called “monkey skiing.” The other was a spectacular run from Freeride World Tour rider Nicolas Salencon (ARG/FRA) in a playful freestyle mode. In heat 4 and 5, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa (USA) and Logan Pehota (USA) did what they could to bring back hope to Team Americas, delivering sweet lines and taking points from the two strong Europeans, Sam Anthamatten (SUI) and Sam Favret (FRA). Tanner Rainville (USA) then confirmed Team Americas’ determination beating Nicolas Vuignier (SUI) and bringing the score to 16-17, one point behind Team Europe.

Andy Mahre (USA) and Fabien Maierhofer (FRA) kept the suspense with probably the most even heat of the day, but one that landed the Frenchie an all-important point. The next face-off was an imposed all-or-nothing strategy for Rory Bushfield (CAN) when Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) stomped a second full repertoire run, underscoring why he is the world champ in the big mountain discipline. Rory went big but crashed after an ambitious attempt at backflipping in a huge jump turn, putting an end to Team Americas chances of holding on to the trophy for one more year. Since the outcome was settled, Dana Flahr (USA) and Sverre Liliequist (SWE) decided to ride together in their heat, in the spirit of the event.

“Technically, it’s the same approach as for a run on the Freeride World Tour, but the atmosphere is really special for this competition,” Loïc Collomb-Patton summarizes. “We are all together during this week, Europeans and North Americans alike. We both push and challenge each other. For my second run, Sam [Anthamatten] helped me a lot choosing the line and I skied more or less his line – just in a different way.”

“The level of skiing is amazing – but what strikes me most is the good spirit between the teams,” Freeride World Tour General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI) recounts. “It has been really interesting to witness how the guys helped out each other. This morning I saw the young Logan Pehota being coached by Cody Townsend about his line for example. That’s the spirit that makes this event so special and we will do our part to keep it that way.”

To the victor go the spoils, and the Skier's Cup. Team Euro takes the win. Photo: D Daher/Swatch Skier's Cup


Author: - Friday, February 27th, 2015

  1. Maddie T.

    The wordsmith once again turns facts into a cool tale, thanks for the news.

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