Bakuriani, Georgia – Stages of the Europa Cup were held in Georgia for the first time recently, as the country ramps up preparations for hosting the FIS 2023 Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships.
Under clear skies and bright sunshine, the Georgian resort of Bakuriani hosted Parallel Giant Slalom and Giant Slalom snowboarding events withing the framework of the 2021-22 Europa Cup, under the auspices of the International Ski Federation (FIS).
The spectacular events, in which two rivals compete simultaneously on a course marked with control alms, featured over 70 athletes from 12 countries. Athletes from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were among the winners, with Georgian snowboarder Revaz Nazghaidze also participating on home soil.
“The weather, people and environment are incomparable – there is no reason to feel bad. I think the competition went well, just as we planned. This place, the snow and the courses are extraordinary,” said Christophe Behunek, FIS Technical Delegate.
“I came to Georgia to see what’s happening next year, to see the surroundings, the slopes and accommodation – it’s really cool. It’s dry snow and the conditions here on the race slope for the European Cup are like a World Cup. I’m loving being here and enjoying the sun, the weather and Georgia,” said Benjamin Karl, five-time world champion and Olympic champion.
In 2018, the Georgian Ski Federation (GSF) was unanimously chosen by FIS delegates to host the 2023 World Championships for the first time in its history. Since then, the Georgian government has invested heavily in infrastructure and ground works in Bakuriani, including new ski lifts and artificial snowmaking systems.
The latest events in Bakuriani served as test events in preparation for the 2023 World Championships. Despite pandemic-related restrictions, the resort successfully hosted test events of the World Cup last year. On 3-6 March 2022, Bakuriani will once again host World Cup stages, with up to 200 athletes from 40 countries visiting Georgia to compete.
“Georgia has put on a great show with some world-class athletes and we’re proving to the world our full potential as a winter sports destination. The work of the Georgian Ski Federation and its partners gives me every confidence that the 2023 World Championships in Bakuriani will be a wonderful event, putting Georgia on the map for international visitors and inspiring a generation of Georgians to get involved in winter sports,” said George Ramishvili, Chairman of Silknet, the GSF’s general sponsor.
“Winter sports have an extremely important place in the direction of Silknet’s social responsibility programme. We have been the general sponsor of the Georgian Ski Federation ever since our beginnings as a company and we’re delighted that, with our cooperation, Bakuriani is hosting events of this calibre and quality,” said Kato Javakhishvili, Silknet’s Head of Special Projects.
On 3-6 March 2022, Freeski and Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup will be hosted in Bakuriani and broadcasted in Georgia and internationally.