Prior to last years Verbier Contest, just the day before the contest, some of the competitors have been nearly buried in a spontaneously triggered massive powder avalanche. PowderGuide is providing knowledge for backcountry risk management therefore I am very interested in the preparation of the contest safety. How is it done? Are the riders involved into the risk assessment?
As a professional freeskier we expose ourselves to alpine dangers but we are prepared and try to minimize the risk wherever possible. The avalanche danger is always present; even during a freeride contest. For a contest the mountain is under long term monitoring and for everybody safety is the first rule to respect. The mountain guides are working hard for us. Usually the faces are cleaned off avalanches by bombing but it happens that some parts of the mountain are closed.
From contest to contest it seams to be different. In some the competitors are having backpacks (with safety gear?) whereas during some others you don?t see backpacks. I assume you all are wearing an avalanche transceiver and a harness for fast rescue. Please tell us how you prepare yourself for a freeride contest.
The day before, I check my line perfectly. I always have two lines to be able to choose. Which line I take I decide at the start. My backpack is filled with all needed rescue materials and one extra goggle as well as my bib number. In any case, my main resion for continuing doing contest is because I never forget to enjoy it.
The evolution of extreme skiing events is clearly visible. In the past the main focus was to ski close to the impossible taking high risks because of no fall zones in the lines. Meanwhile more flow and faster runs can be seen. Which is the future way of freeride contest?
This year, some of the freestylers take part on the FWT 2009. It?s a good thing for the development of this sport. They bring new style and different tricks into the big mountain. Last year the Henrik Windstet – well known freestyler – has won the title for his first year on a freeride tour event. I hope more big names will come soon to join us.