Alpine Report #3: summertime pipes and rails
Momentum Ski Camps brand new S-rail | Photo: Momentum Ski Camps Facebook

The French Freestyle Skiing team, well known as the Freeski Project, has realized some kind of a season these past few months. Kevin Rolland wrapped up his 3rd X Games Superpipe gold medal in Aspen and a second crystal globe symbolizing first place in the overall classement of the Halfpipe world cup. On his side, Ben Valentin realized the best season of his career. The young man got on the podium four times including a memorable third place finish during the X Games Aspen Superpipe contest, his first in the biggest extreme sports competition. Unfortunately, Thomas Krief injured himself in early January, breaking his left collarbone.

The summer preparations on snow started for the team, which is complete now. The boys reached the resort of Les Deux Alpes to work in the first place on new and old tricks thanks to an airbag.

Kevin Rolland is delighted to come back on his playground | Photo: Kevin Rolland
Kevin Rolland is delighted to come back on his playground | Photo: Kevin Rolland

The guys enchained the tricks before being able to shred a halfpipe again, shaped for them and Marie Martinod who shares their successful coach Greg Guenet.

Besides the snow tracks, the athletes of the Freeski Project enjoy a brand new sports complex dedicated to snow sports in Albertville, in the heart of the Alps. This complex offers them a ramp of 7 meters and a pit filled with foam cubes to work on the acrobatics off the slopes. This promises us a good incoming season preparation for the French guys.

Thomas Krief tests the Freestyle Skiing ramp of the Ski & Snowboard French National Center | Photo: Thierry Guilot/Ski Chrono
Thomas Krief tests the Freestyle Skiing ramp of the Ski & Snowboard French National Center.
Photo: Thierry Guillot - Ski Chrono

US Freeskiers give back in Mexico

Earlier this month, American athletes from the alpine skiing, snowboarding, and freeskiing teams headed to Tijuana, Mexico, in order to build a house for a family in need. Guided by Hope Sports (a non-profit organization which encourages values growth through services trips) this experience is a valuable human experience for the athletes who also work on their team spirit. Among the skiers, we can find Devin Logan, the first Halfpipe/Slopestyle skier to take the Overall Big Crystal Globe of the 5 coveted disciplines of the FIS Freestyle or Aaron Blunck, who climbed on the Halfpipe Overall FIS podium as second last season.

After landing in Mexico, the riders got to meet the family they would build a house for. A strong moment of sharing for all. The athletes first learned how to use the tools before having a finger in the pie. In not even a full days time, the shape of the house was done and the following days were as productive as the first one.

"I didn’t think we were going to build everything from scratch. I thought we’d be doing small things, rather than us being up on the roof doing the whole project ourselves. It’s cool because we were hands-on and a huge part of it." said Jake Vedder, snowboardcross rider, and 2016 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist.

The athletes were determined and motivated to help the Lopez family Photo: usfreeskiing.com
The athletes were determined and motivated to help the Lopez family
Photo: usfreeskiing.com

"Seeing how bad the poverty is here, it’s worse than you even imagine in your mind. I’m now so much more grateful for everything I have. Knowing that our worst days are their best days is very humbling." said Devin Logan.

At the end of the adventure, the riders gave the keys of the brand new home to the Lopez family before celebrating this rewarding experience with homemade meals. You can learn more about this service trip on the U.S. Freeskiing website.


Get to know the Momentum Ski Camps

After well deserved holidays it's time for the athletes to start again their preparation and come back on their skis. North Americans Freestyle Skiers (mainly) can enjoy a perfect summer spot: the Momentum Ski Camps. This playground situated in Whistler, Canada, offers the best slopes possible during the off season. The best skiers in the world can then prepare themselves for the incoming season while playing the role of a coach for the younger ones, a nice move. The Ski Camps count in their ranks Joss Christensen, Nick Goepper, Gus Kenworthy, Mike Riddle, Roz  Groenewoud, Dara Howell and many more big athletes.

The glacier gives great snow conditions to the campers and the professional skiers, which is what the athletes are looking for during the summertime. They can expect fresh pow, frosty snow as much as soft snow and hot weather. It is then not exceptional to see the riders with T-Shirts on the rails.

Evan McEachran riding a C-rail | Photo: Rich Glass
Evan McEachran riding a C-rail | Photo: Rich Glass

At this time of the year, some professionals already took their marks on the Canadian slope, some other are expected to arrive in a few days. Indeed, the Momentum Ski Camps is the only one to offer moguls, slopestyle and halfpipe infrastructures which are more than interesting for all the athletes, even more for the most polyvalent ones.


Gus Kenworthy nominated at the ESPYS

Photo: freeskier.com
Photo: freeskier.com

After a successful season punctuated by two silver medals respectively during the X Games Aspen Superpipe and Slopestyle (a combination that had not been carried out since 2005) Gus Kenworthy has been nominated for the 2016 ESPY Awards in the Best Male Action Sports category. The talented young man also ended at the top of the AFP World Tour this year (Association of Freeskiing Professionals).

It doesn't end there. Kenworthy showed courage last October in announcing his coming out, a notable breakthrough in the world of extreme sports.

The EPSY awards will air on July 13 in Los Angeles and will be broadcasted by ABC at 8/7.


Just married!

Elias Ambühl, 2016 X Games Aspen Big Air bronze medalist, married his long time love Sarah Pedrett in Switzerland, at the heart of the Alps. The ceremony took place on Saturday, June 25th with gests including Freestyle Skiers coming from all around the world. As example Joss Christensen and Jossi Wells respectively came from the United States and Australia to celebrate the wedding of their fellow competitor and friend. All our best wishes to the newlyweds!

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