WITH some of the World’s best skiers gathered in the French Alps for Tignes Airwaves – and 150,000 Euros in prize money – it was always going to be an attractive event.

For the fifth successive year, Tignes Airwaves drew thousands of visitors to the famous glacier resort to see skiers at the top of their game.


New this year was The Riderscup – directly inspired by the golf tournament between the United States and Europe!

The Riderscup was based on a team format – something new for freestyle skiing – the Americans and the Europeans going head to head in the Big Air and the Half-pipe.

Stars of freestyle, Candide Thovex captained the European team, while T J Schiller headed the team from across The Big Pond.

In the spectacular Big Air and Half-pipe events (see the photographs), 16 riders battled it out two by two, with points being awarded towards the trophy.

It didn’t take long for the atmosphere to build as the Europeans started to edge ahead thanks to some amazing rides!

After the opening Big Air – where skiers hurtled down a slope and then rode up a specially made slope to pull off tricks – the Europeans were comfortably ahead by 10 points to six.

Despite a brave effort from the Americans in the Half-pipe – where skiers rode the high walls and created spectacular technical turns and jumps – the Riderscup went to Europe, who won overall 23-11.

One of the highlights of the week was the Fourcross Mountain Biking event – where riders hammer it down a pisted – but extremely tricky – track. Yes, it sounds crazy and it is! Imagine sitting in the saddle and pedalling like mad down an icy hillside with jumps and banked turns…

The following day came the Skiercross, one of the most technical events where six skiers battle away down a 1,500m long course of enormous rollers and banked turns – a bit like the old film Rollerball except on snow!

For the past two years, the girls have also competed in their own Skiercross – and they were certainly not to be outdone by the guys for bravery as they hurtled down the steep track.

But the highlight of the week, for me, was the floodlit mogul skiing competition. Imagine standing at the top of a long, extremely steep slope. Then flinging yourself down the mountain and negotiating huge moguls (bumps) and finishing off with a spectacular leap – where skiers pull off some amazing tricks.

Eight of the World’s best mogul skiers battled out for the coveted title of King of the Bumps. The action was amazing – it still seems incredible that someone can ski straightline down a series of bumps and stay upright!


The whole Tignes Airwaves event was a marvellous experience. As well as being able to get close up to the action, there were giant television screens showing the competitions, too. The evening events were floodlit and incredible sound systems bellowed out great music – and lively DJ-style commentary – as the action unfolded.

Why not give the event a whirl next year? Find out more by visiting

www.tignes.net

 

• There were no snowboarding events this year due to lack of support from top World riders in recent times, but it is hoped to attract boarders to next year’s Tignes Airwaves.

• Tignes will host the only French leg of the Freeride World Tour from March 8-14.