Monday, February 11, 2008

Drew Tabke takes 2nd in Russian Freeride Comp

More Backcountry, er rather news. athlete Drew Tabke took second place in the Russian leg of the Freeride World Tour.

From Drew:
"Hello! I just got back from 11 days in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia where I competed and took second place in the Freeride World Tour Russian Adventure.

Everything about the trip was amazing. It was a string of wild travel experiences with a great group of ski and snowboard competitors from all over the world. Sweden, Switzerland, France, Argentina, Norway, Canada Austria, The United Kingdom, and Russia all had competitors present.

Krasnaya Polyana is an amazing ski area. The chairlifts are four old doubles that go one right after another straight to the top. Not having much area accessed by lifts to either side of this central line might seem like a bad thing, that is until you take a short hike or traverse into an untracked canyon that goes 4,000 vertical feet back down to the valley floor.

The organizers wanted to hold the competition on a heli-accessed face adjacent to the resort. However due to very unsafe avalanche conditions (4 competitors were caught and carried, but luckily not buried, by avalanches prior to and after the competition while skiing on their own!!) the exposed faces were ruled to be too dangerous. Also, Russian president Vladamir Putin was in town, and he grounded all air traffic in the area during his visit, which meant no heli-skiing during the competition. Despite these setbacks, the lift-accessed terrain chosen for the event was amazing. It hadn't been skied by anyone, and on competition day, we got to make first tracks down amazingly steep pillows and flutes. It was some of the most fun terrain I've ever gotten to ski, and getting to compete on it was even better. I tied for second place in the competition with Frenchman Sebastien Michaud. Swedish skier Henrik Windstedt took the $10,000 first prize.

Now I get to hang out and ski the amazing snow we have in Utah now for two weeks before heading back to Europe for a month. I will compete in the Big Mountain Pro in the Alps, The Freeride of Tignes in France, and the Extreme Verbier in Switzerland. I am currently ranked 3rd overall in the Freeride World Tour and these next three stops will decide the overall champion."

Nice work Drew and good luck on the rest of the tour!



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