All pictures by 3rd-eye.ch
Madeleine Grimhall from Sweden (Snowboard Women), Remo Maffiew from Untervaz (Snowboard Men), Verena Fendl from Germany (Ski Women) and Sten Lundstrom (Ski Men) living in Andermatt are the winners of the fifth “Kick the Vik” Freeride Contest.
“Vik” is described as “a large bay area, where the coastline retreats”; according to some scientist this is the settlement site of the Vikings.
The freeride contest “Kick the Vik” redefines “Vik” as: “a large mountain, with a big face and heaps of powder”; according to some scientist the natural habitat of the freerider. You can find “The Vik” by the loud roars of the domiciled Freeride Monster commonly known as Viktor.
Viktor roared and summoned 59 skiers, snowboarders and free heelers that found their way to their powder hunting grounds and compete at the unique Kick the Vik freeride competition. This event is so unique, because the participants – similar to the old vikings – had to endure a long and tiring journey through the depths of the Swiss alps.
Starting point was the Maighelshütte, which you find after a 2.5 h long ski-touring ascend from Tschamut (Sedrun). The alpine cabin is known for its great food (we can confirm this).
From the Maighelshütte the 59 fighters had to endure a 2 hour ascend to the Piz Poign Crap in the Maghelsvalley to reach the competition grounds. Crampons were a “nice to have” to get to the 47° steep chute.
The Eco Freeride Contest
So why is this event an “eco” event? Similar to the old vikings, the fighters of the “Kick the Vik” contest had to reach the top of the mountain with their own physical strength. No lifts, no helicopters. The entire event material (beachflags, movie equipment, swords, tents) were carried up by the organizers. Now snow-cats, no ski-dos. The preservation of our nature and our powder is one of the main goals of the event.
The warm days and the lack of snowfall during the last week aggravated the conditions for the competitors. From deep powder to hardback to grim ice layers, everything could be found within a couple of meters. Landings where hard to asses and a good choice of line was important.
The 25 skiers, 4 free heelers, 8 ski ladies, 16 snowboarders and 8 snowboard ladies didn’t have a an easy challenge and the upcoming snowfalls handicapped the skiers somewhat more.
The harsh conditions provoked some spectacular falls. Snowboarder Linda Camathias for example, the only Snowboard woman with a ballsy line this day took an approx 3 meter high cliff, couldn’t keep it together after the landing and tumbled just up to the next cliff section. Adrenaline boost for the viewers.
“Stouni” Steinman – second place winner of last years competition – wowed the crowed with a crazy double cliff but hit a hard bit of ice. He had to be flown out with a leg injury. We wish you all the best buddy. Luckily there were no more big injuries that day.
Many skiers showed some spectacular lines with large drops, despite the hard landings. This shows that the level of riders was really high. Ueli Kestenholz, this years third place winner in snowboarding loved the event: “I’ve always wanted to participate. I think the idea of the event is great. This is the best ending of my already ended competition series” the former Olympia winner said with a smirk on his face.
“Even though the weather and conditions were not that great, this years event was a success. I’m happy we didn’t have any more injuries and everything went well” organizer Markus Boss states. ” We want to have a Freeride event that is fun for everyone. The setting at such an event is really important. Here on the Maighelshütte we can get to know each other, find new friends and gather freeride experience” Boss said. The organizer team really showed a lot of effort and even the film- and picture crew didn’t avoid dangerous climes to get the best pictures of the skiers.
All videos and pictures can be found on kickthevik.com
Also available in: German