Winning again: FWQ**** Big Mountain Hochfügen/Austria

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credit: eye5 – Daniel Zangerl

As happy as I can be:

First FWQ 4-star of the season and I’m winning it.

And it wasn’t easy. University term was just coming to an end, that meant hand-ins, exams, no sleep. No sleep. Leaving Vienna at 3:45 am on Friday to get to accreditation in Hochfügen on time. Luckily Liisa Korpela had some business in Vienna as well, so we could share a ride and also share the early morning exhaustion.

First rider’s meeting and bib-draw: I’m number 70, last rider in the face.

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Face check on Friday: No visibility. No face check possible, except for approximately 10 minutes, when the fog lifted. My old little digicam finally broke down entirely, something with the image sensor, it’s not focusing any more. Anyways, there were no contrasts, you couldn’t imagine the slope, nor see any details of the snow cover.

The snow cover was another issue: too little snow in general this season, and the competition face seemed to be no exception.

Good thing that it was Hochfügen though: Everything is very well organized. Friday night the annual Rider’s dinner took place, where we enjoyed a fantastic meal. It was the 5th edition of Big Mountain Hochfügen, so there was a lot of celebration and kind, well earned words.

It’s good to sit together with everyone and share the latest news.

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Hot wine before we go inside

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music at the dinner

Afterwards Liisa got good fotos of the face from Niklas Hollsten, which were taken the day before in bright sunshine. So one could start planning a line.

Weather for Saturday didn’t look too good. Breakfast at our bed&breakfast was already good fun: we were an international crew of contest riders. Saturday at 8:30 there was the first rider’s meeting on the mountain, fog. Later that day more fog. Every now and then one gets a glimpse of the face. The weather window somehow didn’t open. Contest postphoned to monday. Yihaa.

Ready to party on Saturday, good thing that Sunday is a day off. More good news: Eva Walkner, a good skiing buddy and amazing skiier won the Freerideworldtour stop in Chamonix at the Skier women category after a long break due to injury. So happy for her. Watch her winning run here.

Also happy for Sascha Hamm, 2nd at SNB Men, crazy good run, here.

The party this year was good fun, a lot of dancing, and as usual, the French were the party animals. We couldn’t do without them;)

Sunday I got ill, maybe because of drinking, maybe because off the lack of sleep over the past weeks. Nice dinner in the kitchen of our bed&breakfast together with Irian, Mikaela and the French Crew around Mickael Bimboes. Before going to bed, we still chat about our lines and watch some of the FWT runs from chamonix for inspiration.

Still trying to figure out a line. Not sure at all. Couldn’t sleep properly.

Monday morning, sun’s out!

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Bib number 70 was not too bad at all, as I was still working on my line. That were probably the most unprofessional line worries ever. In the end I decided for the upper part of the line I was planning since days, and which was still untracked, and then followed a tip from Maria Kuzma, to just do it and go speedy in the lower part of the face.

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Speedy it was. It really helped that I’ve been memorizing the whole face for days. And it was also a unique line choice. My fastest ride down at a contest ever. Luckily the judges liked it.

Video of the run.

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SNB women podium: 3rd Liisa Korpela, 1st Manuela Mandl, 2nd Maria Kuzma credit: eye5 – Daniel Zangerl

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