For the third consecutive year the SFR freestyle tour has come to Tignes for the final leg of the series, the halfpipe. The previous stops on this prestigious tour were slopestyle events held in the French resorts of Font-Remeu and La Clusaz. The best athletes from around the World come to France to compete on this highly regarded freestyle tour, which last year awarded no less than $120,000 in prize money, and also points towards athlete’s ranking on both the AFP World Tour and the FIS leader-boards. This event is in fact, the FIS World Cup halfpipe final, so the prize-giving will include the sought after Crystal Globe for the overall winners of the FIS freestyle tour.
You can find the Tignes superpipe in Val Claret, just next to the Lanches chairlift. We’ve been watching them build the impressive course which is 200m long, 22m wide with 7m high walls over the past couple of weeks using the specialist machinery shown here in the photo, affectionately called the Pipe Dragon.
The original programme for the event has had to be changed due to the weather we are currently experiencing in Tignes. Saturday and Sunday were due to be training days. Unfortunately for the competitors, the weather was not on side on Saturday, so the training was cancelled. Gusty wind and heavy snow is forecast for Monday, when the qualification rounds were due to take place. Instead the athletes had a short time to prepare this (Sunday) morning and the qualification rounds began at just after 9am.
Of the 50+ athletes who came to Tignes for this event 6 women and 10 men have qualified for the final which will take place on Tuesday from 5.30pm.
Unfortunately none of the British athletes got through in either the men’s or the women’s category. However, last year’s winner in the men’s category, Kevin Rolland (France) is through to the final, as is Benoit Valentin (France) who last year came 3rd. In the women’s category all eyes are on local lady Marie Martinod (France) who is ON FIRE this season, and is currently leading in the AFP ranking by 300 points, and the FIS ranking by 125 points, which is a lot. Winners of this event will win 100 points towards their FIS ranking, so she has, in fact, already won the Crystal Globe this year whether she wins the final on Tuesday or not! That won’t make the event any less exciting to watch though, and you can expect to see some incredible skiing from both the men and women on Tuesday evening. If you’re not lucky enough to be in the area to watch the event in person, the final’s will be broadcast live on French TV channel Equipe 21.
To help get you in the mood for Tuesday’s big event, here are highlights from last year’s halfpipe World Cup final. Happy viewing, and see you Pipe-Side Tuesday!!