Sunny skies, a blanket of fresh pow and some of the world’s best riders of Europe and America added to the epic experience at the Swatch Skiers Cup in Zermatt, Switzerland. The intense head-to-head competition of the backcountry slopestyle course at Big Mountain consisted of natural terrain as well as huge, man-made jump features towards the bottom half of the mountain. With two days of riding at a new location, the intensity of the competition peaked at Big Mountain.
Air time in Switzerland | Photo: J. Bernard
Three knowledgeable judges Ben Murphy, Mike Rogge and Julien Regnier kept a simple format of giving one point to the team with the rider who had the better ride between the match-up. The 2013 tie-breaking event for the Swatch Skiers Cup was broken as Team Europe won and took the trophy from Team America who was last year’s defending champ. Team America and Team Europe had epic rides but it was Team Europe who claimed victory. With a final score of 21 – 11, Team Europe showed their dominance in this year’s championship.
Co-Mastermind of Swatch Skiers Cup and team rider of Team Europe Sverre Liliequist set the bar high in his run with a creative double cliff drop to backflip and a big double front flip attempt. “Even though Slopestyle isn’t my strength, it doesn’t make me nervous to give it my best try. I know I’m stretching my abilities super far, but the features are very safe and the vibe here is so encouraging that it creates the perfect environment to push your comfort level,” said Liliequist.
Fabio Studer of Team Europe had an unforgettable run of the day. Studer started the course with a switch cork 540 off the ridge, sped through a hidden couloir, and completed the run with a clean cork 720.
Swatch Skiers Cup 2013 Zermatt, Switzerland | Photo: D. Carlier
Team America didn’t give up their title easy. Rory Bushfield from Canada took one for the team and skied an extra run for injured teammate Tim Dutton. Bushfield stomped every single trick. Noteworthy to Team America is the switch cork 900 almost pulled off in deep pow by Charley Ager, who was the last competitor of the day.
Those involved with Swatch Skiers Cup are fully dedicated. Jump shaper and judge, Julien Regnier from France, understands the commitment it takes to create a successful event. Regnier commented on the event, “We deal with huge challenges to make this event happen. Putting in tons of work on the jumps, and the safety protocols, and judging, and then hoping mother nature cooperates. It’s a job, but I love it, and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
Get ready for the 2014 Swatch Skiers Cup because the two team captains for Team America and Team Europe have already been chosen.The chosen ones are legendary riders Julien Regnier of France to lead Team Europe, and JP Auclair of Canada to head Team America. Keep posted for the next competition location on www.swatchskierscup.com
Team America’s Charley Ager going switch| Photo: D. Daher
Team Europe wins the 2013 Swatch Skiers Cup |Photo: J. Bernard