The snow was long awaited in Sochi and it fell! On Tuesday, thick snow made the visibility for the riders nearly impossible when they went to check out the venue chosen for the first day of competition. On Wednesday morning, the clouds disappeared leaving blue skies, but the time required to secure the face was a concern for the organization, so they decided to postpone the first day of competition with a possibility of beginning on Thursday. So the 57 riders present will have the opportunity to ski and check out the area today.
The bib draw as part of the opening ceremony took place on Tuesday in the Nissan village at the base of the mountain. Mitch Toelderer (AUT) and Richard Permin (FRA) will trace the first lines in snowboard and ski with bib numbers 1 and 2. The Pro Freeriders Board 2009 made the decision for the second day of the competition to reverse the starting list to even out their chances. The final ranking for the event will be defined by the addition of the scores for the two days unless a second competition day is not possible in which case, the first day will determine the final ranking.
Everyone is in the starting blocks for the first stop in Krasnaya Polyana with two great venues chosen by the mountain guides present:
The Salymovski face, chosen for the first day of competition and situated at the top of the ski lifts, is perfect for public viewing; andthe arrival area is easily accesible thus they will be able to see the riders up close. With 300 vertical meters and between 30–45% slope incline with a few trees freshly covered with a thick layer of snow, this face should allow the riders to go fast with many possible lines. The venue announced for the second day, though not yet confirmed, is the Rosa Huta (the Alpine Olymic venue for 2014) that has 400 vertical meters and 35–45% slope incline.
Veronika Sorokina, Russian Nissan Sports Adventure Wild Card skier: «For me, this event in my home country is wonderful because there are riders here that you only see in the magazines and on TV. To have them here is great… Today, I saw lots of smiling faces on the slopes and it was a real pleasure.»
Elyse Saugstad (USA), winner of the Freeride World Tour 2008 in ski: «This mountain has incredible runs; we are really anxious to ride it. The energy here is great… we are all ready to go for it: it’s our first competition of the season and the atmosphere is full of energy! I hope we get to go to the second venue with heli access, but I know that whatever happens, we will have a great time. The conditions are perfect for the best to win!»
Nicolas Hale Woods, founder and organizer of the Freeride World Tour: «Snow is blessing the Sochi region for the Nissan Russian Adventure 09, 1st stop of the Freeride World Tour. It has been snowing close to 1.5m during the last 72 hours, to a point where our mountain guides are eager to see the end of the snowfalls. Riders are warming up dropping endless pillow lines, with never ending face (snow) shots. Nobody can wait to see these mountains with bluebird days, which should be the case as of tomorrow. Some serious avalanche checks are necessary to confirm day 1, hopefully on Thursday.»