The first day of the final weekend of the IKA Swiss Snowkite World Cup in Silvaplana was very successful and action packed. The race committee decided a few days earlier, that due to the north-westerly wind, the Long Distance Race will take place at Bernina Lago di Bianco.
The day started with the registration and riders meeting at “Sportzentrum Mulets”. 19 riders from all over Europe took part in that challenging race. The start was due to the new location (which
required a 30 minutes drive from Silvaplana) already postponed, so that everyone had enough time to drive to Bernina and getting ready for the competition.
With about 20 cm new snow, sunshine and good wind between 20 - 25 knots, the course was set and the crew was ready to start the race at around 1.45 pm. The ski division started first, followed three minutes later by the snowboard division. With no early starts, tangles or crashes the race committee called it a clear start so that the race, which was limited to 90 minutes, continued as planned. After a third of the time the wind started picking up so that some of the competitors changed their equipment.
Florian Gruber from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) was leading sovereign the ski fleet, followed by his landsmann Felix Kersten (Meerbusch / GER). Bruce Kessler (SUI) took over the lead within the snowboard fleet and left Reinhold Gehrer (AUT) in second position.
The wind shifted slightly, became very gusty and the view got worse and worse so that the race director, Mirco Babini (ITA), decided to finish the race already after around one hour. Not every competitor was happy with that call, but in the end it proved that the team took the right decision as some very unpredictable and strong gusts kicked in and made some competitors quick-release their kite.
All in all it was a very smooth race, with no crashes, tangles and protests. Florian Gruber won again within the ski fleet and completed the course 11 times. Felix Kersten became second and finished the Long Distance Race at Bernina Lago di Bianco with 10 laps followed by Ukrainian Dmytro Yasnolobov, who also completed 10 rounds. A big compliment goes out to Michael Kaspar from Switzerland for walking through the finishing line with his released kite. Bruce Kessler (SUI) took the victory within the snowboard fleet with 8 laps just before Austrian Reinhold Gehrer and German Snowkiter Felix Köttnitz (both completed 6 rounds). The three girls took small kites and completed the race and definitely proved that girls go as fast as the guys. Aija Ambrasa from Latvia completed the Long Distance Race on her snowboard with 6 rounds in her pocket and won before Chanti van Boxel (NED). Italian Cristina Corsi finished 2 rounds on her skis.
The award ceremony for todays Long Distance Race will take place at 9 pm at the venue “Bernina Ospizio, followed by a promising party.
The registration for Saturday is open from 09:30 am until 10:30 am. The rest of this weekend will be dedicated to Course Racing and Freestyle.
Pictures of the day by Lasse Schneppenheim