Bakuriani, Georgia – Following the success of the Europa Cup in February, Georgia’s mountain resort of Bakuriani hosted weather-affected test events of the Slopestyle World Cup this weekend. The competitions were hosted by the Georgian Ski Federation (GSF), of which Silknet is the general sponsor.
With qualifications cancelled on Thursday and Friday, due to high winds, Freeski Slopestyle finals took place directly on Saturday. The event was able to go ahead after a major effort from the GSF and a host of young volunteers to overcome the bad weather.
After a minute’s silence for the victims of the war in Ukraine, Canada’s Megan Oldham and Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli battled through for the wins. In the Snowboard Slopestyle, the weather also saw qualification cancelled, however despite this, Germany’s Leon Vockensperger and Canada’s Laurie Blouin went on to win the event in Sunday’s finals.
The test events of Slopestyle World Cup are the first to take place since the conclusion of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. After just missing out on a medal in Beijing, Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli returned to action in the men’s Freeski slopestyle, alongside Swiss compatriot and former Olympic champion Sarah Höfflin.
Canada’s Laurie Blouin and Jasmine Baird, both finalists in Beijing, featured in the women’s snowboarding event. Meanwhile, Georgian snowboarder Jaba Skhvediani and freeskiers Nika Eloshvili and Luka Chopikashvili finished in 14th, 8th and 9th position, as they competed in World Cup competition on home soil for the first time.
The trials took place as Georgia gears up to host the FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships next year for the first time in its history. During the pandemic-disrupted 2020-21 World Cup season, Bakuriani and Gudauri made their debuts as host venues, while Bakuriani also saw Europa Cup action last month for the first time.
Speaking after the competition, FIS Secretary-General Michel Vion said “I was impressed by the event, it was a good course with good preparation, despite the weather on the previous day, and a very good competition.”
George Ramishvili, Chairman of Silknet, emphasised that “hosting world-leading winter sport events like this are crucial for Georgia’s growth and couldn’t be done without the commitment of the Government and GSF. The development of winter sports brings us closer to Europe as it is the most European of sports, which as a naturally mountainous place, creates greater affiliation between Georgia and the continent’ said