The 11th annual Snowkite Masters wrapped up in Serre Chevalier in France last week. Here’s an update from White Kite News reporter and photographer, Boulgakow:
Two competitions took place – the SKM MOOD Cup Race during the two first days before the WORLD SKM FREESTYLE took over to raise the level for the end of the week.
Almost 60 kite racers on skis or snowboards went full speed across the big, wide spot at La Pyramide, with super strong winds and thin slices of fresh powder covering a hard snowpack. There were four flags to pass and two runs for each heat with riders finishing on the line right behind the Hotel des Glaciers at the Lautaret Pass. Racing is getting more and more popular as everyone can compete and provides a cool opportunity for anyone to go up against the best racers in the world. Safety and pleasure are the main points, so there’s no stress and it’s good for everyone.
Organisers Régis Labaune and Wareck Arnaud were well supported by a passionated support staff of twenty people who works hard to ensure the event ran as well as possible. We shall never be able to thank all the SKM members enough for working day and night all week.
With light wind and icy snowpack, the first day of freestyle was just a warm up with no one wishing to get injured. Things got stronger on the day two when the freestyle area moved to the bottom of La Pyramide, with changeable winds blowing from 5 – 25 knots. New terrain and different conditions, the snowkiters had to produce their best and find their highest levels of technical skill.
At the end of day two the rankings were taking shape with some well known names leading the way: Benoît Miquel, Didier Botta and Tobias Deckert on skis and Laurent Guyot, Romain Barchko, Didier Botta on snowboards. A few girls competed on both with skis and snowboards so had long, hard days. Norwegian legend Kari Schibevaag was on the way to her 9th Snowkite Masters title here, followed by Céline Rodenas, Marie Trévillot, Muriel Vandenbempt and other smiling girls who were jumping with style and technicality.
Every day the whole SKM crew enjoyed their rest at the Hotel Les Glaciers with superb lunch, tea or coffee and time to check out the strongest images captured that day.
Live music surrounded the SKM Village with DJ JAZ and Stephen mixing great sound all day long. Daily happy hours in the late afternoon at the Le Frog frog pub near Villeneuve where DJ Stephen provided more music for a great atmosphere. No real SKM day would be complete without the traditional crazy night on the dance floor at Le Chazelay, with famous local live music bands each night.
Thursday provided magic highlights on the snow as the conditions were the best we could wish for : sunshine and blue sky, 20 centimetres of fresh powder from the night and a stable 10-20 knot wind. The best freestyle area was found near Le Jardin Alpin, with steep slopes and a powerful kicker to keep the show increasing.
The final results were kept secret until the prize giving ceremony set at the wonderful Casino Barrière in Briançon.
SKM Freestyle Men Snowboard:
1 Didier Botta (FRA / Rapace)
2 Romain Barachko (FRA / IKON)
3 Laurent Guyot (FRA / Flysurfer)
4 Etienne Lhote (FRA / F.One)
5 Antoine Clerc (FRA / North)
6 Pascal Schmidt (GER / HQ Powerkites)
7 Lukas Vogeltanz (CZE / Flysurfer)
8 Abe Alzouman (GBR / Flysurfer)
9 Léo Nguyen (FRA / Vagues et Vent)
10 Alexis Tepletchi (FRA / Flysurfer-North)
11 Christophe Bouyé (FRA )
SKM Freestyle Men Ski:
1 Benoit Miquel (FRA / Flysurfer)
2 Didier Botta (FRA / Rapace)
3 Tobias Deckert (GER / Flysurfer)
4 Eloi Rondeau (FRA / Rapace)
5 Hugo Chaboud (FRA / Slingshot)
SKM Freestyle Women Snowboard:
1 Kari Schiebevaag (NOR / RRD)
2 Céline Rodenas (FRA / F.One)
3 Marie Trevillot (FRA / Best)
4 Marion Tolza (FRA / Magic Bruce)
5 Muriel Vandenbempt (FRA / F.One)
SKM Freestyle Women Ski:
1 Kari Schiebevaag (NOR / RRD)
2 Marie Trevillot (FRA / Best)
3 Muriel Vandenbempt (FRA / F.One)
4 Céline Rodenas (FRA / F.One)
5 Marcela Verdugo (NOR / Core)
SKM MOOD RACE
1 Dominik Zimmermann
2 Laurent Sublet
3 Gautier Alghibi
4 Pascal Boulgakoff
5 Benoit Miquel
1 Laurent Guyot
2 Lukas Vogeltanz
3 Romain Barachko
4 Sébastien Lavallart
5 Reinhold Gehrer
1 Kari Schiebevaag
2 Julie Borgis
3 Marie Trevillot
4 Leila Nouar
5 Magali Dequivre
6 Marcela Verdugo
1 Céline Rodenas
2 Marion Toiza
Many thanks to Serre-Chevalier Valley resorts, all the other SKM sponsors, Régis, Wareck and their staff and to all the kiters for coming and producing an amazing show.
See you next year at the spot!