Words by: Skisluts.be - F.Magnus
Pictures by: Skisluts.be - Badamicale
Zinal Freeride is an annual event hosted in the Swiss alps. It is organized by local riders from the entire valley(and beyond) and grows bigger and bigger each year. The main event is the Freeride contest but that's only part of the full picture, there are also fireshows, bbqs, guided descents, a festival with live djs and bands, skitests and a lot more!
The first day of the event is a warm-up day,other riders begin to arrive and scout the terrain. The number of fatskis in the little Swiss resort rises exponentially, by the afternoon we see people hucking cliffs all over the resort. There's an overall chill vibe and we are really pushing/inspiring eachother to do rad things!
The resort itself is pretty small but has plenty of interesting freeride terrain that is easily accessible. It is situated high above the treeline so it really has this alpine feeling to it and the view is just amazing!
So many possibilities !
At the end of the day we meet up with the other riders on top of the Sorebois chairlift and are divided into small groups of around 8 riders. Each group is led by a mountainguide or local rider and is guided down the backside of the resort towards Grimentz where we're welcomed with free drinks and music!
Happy people !
The next day is game-day! We all gather at the top of the tram-station for a safety and contest briefing. There are 4 runs, the 2 best runs count towards your final score, a crash is an instant 0 and you need to do at least 3/4 flanks.
We decided to push ourselves and worked in a small group of three riders and managed to do all lines before noon before they completely got trashed. In the afternoon we simply kicked back and enjoyed watching the other riders, the riding level was incredibly high, we didn't expect to see so many good riders, the wow-factor was pretty big!
One of the four runs, pretty mellow terrain but with lot's of really fun lines to ski !
At the end of the day we all gathered down in the village for the fireshow with a huge kicker and live music, the vibe was good, the beer was cold and the burgers were tasty ! We were also excited to hear the results and find out which 10 riders were selected for the finals. We had seen such good runs that we didn't really expect anyone of our Belgian crew to be selected but against all odds, Reiner did qualify ! He put down 2 very clean runs which put him in the running for a podium spot!
Benji throwing backflips off every cliff imaginable
The final run was situated high above the resort and required a hike of about 1 hour to reach the starting gate, i hiked up with Reiner to make some pictures but towards the end of the climb the weather changed and we were completely enveloped in dense fog. To make a run you had to wait for one of the brief moments that you had a window through the fog and then you just had to go for it and hope that it didn't close on your way down. The entire run was about 3 times as long as the runs from the qualifiers, this combined with super flat light and a trashed bottom part made it a pretty big challenge to ski it cleanly all the way down. In the end he qualified 9th, not bad for a Belgian !
See you next year Zinal!
Enjoy the edit thanks toToast Productions!