Siviez, 4th March 2007 – Day 4 of the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro kicked off at 5.30am on Sunday, as Nicolas Hale-Woods and his team of contest organizers were determined to make the most of a favorable window in the weather system crossing over the Alps. Leaving the Col de la Forclaz, the convoy of vehicles and the contest coach arrived in Siviez at 7.30am for the heli-lift to the observation point opposite the backcountry peak.
Once at the observation point, riders scoped out their lines for 45 minutes, and gave an indication of what might be to come. Jules Raymond, third in line to make his run, was excited at the prospect of scoring some fresh turns. He said: Yeah, I have my line planned and I think the peak has plenty of potential. I'm pretty concerned about the snow conditions as I'm one of the first to drop, though.
And as it turned out, Jules cautious approach was fully justified. As riders were being helied to the top of the peak, a huge avalanche thundered down the central area of the mountain. With that, organizers had no option but to pull the plug on today's contest, and you could tell the riders appreciated the call. Jonas Emery added: Wow, that was pretty sketchy. I saw the avalanche from the top, and I'm very hapy with the organizers decision to cancel the runs today. Sometimes the hardest decision is the right one, and in this case I think they got it spot on. Safety of the riders should always come first.
Nicolas Hale-Woods, event organizer, had this to say: As everyone can see, the conditions are just too dangerous today. The sunny weather and warm temperatures are having a considerable effect on the snow pack, and rather than risk anyone's life, we think the best option would be for everyone to go for a freeriding session this afternoon on terrain that is much less exposed.
So while there was disappointment at the high avalanche risk today, riders are stoked to have an opportunity to explore the vast ski areas of Verbier and Nendaz. Another session among friends in the sun - you can't ask for much more, can you?
Check back tomorrow for another update from the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro 2007.
For more about the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro 2007: www.bigmountainpro.com
For more about all other O’Neill events: www.oneilleurope.com
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