Skiing’s International Friendly Finishes Tomorrow
Anyone who happened to see the hockey game between Team Europe and Team Americas on the downday in Zermatt knows that the competitive spirit at the SWATCH SKIERS CUP runs high. Two periods were planned, but after the clock ran out, the riders-turned-bruisers refused to leave without a third period, launching into 20 more minutes of intense hockey action.
Team Americas won the hockey game, 9 – 6, building confidence after their defeat on Big Mountain competition last Sunday. But once they left the ice, the only emotion visible was that of camaraderie and goodwill between the two teams.
This perfectly illustrates the vibe behind the skiing that goes down during the week at SKIERS CUP. The two days of competition form the foundation for the week in Zermatt. The action will finish tomorrow with the Backcountry Slopestyle discipline, which is sure to be a fiercely fought matchup between 16 of the best riders in the world who truly want to win the SWATCH SKIERS CUP trophy for their team.
But that fiery competitiveness is really only found on the venue itself while the riders are making their runs. At the finish line and at the dinner table, that competitive intensity is nowhere to be found.
Team Europe captain Kaj Zackrisson explains, “When you’re there in the starting gate, of course you want to perform the very best you have. But if Europe wins, I’m super stoked. If the Americas win I’m super stoked for them.”
Europe leads the Americas by a score of 11 – 6, so Cody Townsend’s team will need to make some serious moves to make up the gap. But with the good vibes between everyone, does it matter if the Americas pull off the comeback? Townsend says, “Winning is just fun. When we won the last SKIERS CUP in Chile, celebrating together felt amazing. You don’t often get that team spirit feeling in our individualistic sport.”
The winning names are engraved on the SWATCH SKIERS CUP trophy, becoming a part of ski history. But the names represent a lot more than a victory. Zackrisson says, “For me and Sverre, we’ve been skiing all our lives. We’ve been in alpine racing, skier cross, dual slalom, photo shooting, film shooting, and freeriding. And here we get to bring that all together in one week with our best buddies. I mean I’ve been skiing for 37 years and I still love playing around on my skis. I want to share that. The mission is to share happiness on skis.”