80 Skiers from 15 nations descended on the resort of Vars in the Southern French Alps for the 2013 FIS Speed Ski World Cup. The Chambrieres piste is renowned for being the steepest and if not one of the fastest in the world. It is a truly frightening piste for the faint hearted, but one that every speed skier wants to conquer. Speed skiing is the fastest non- mechanized sport in the world, whereby it requires it special type of person to go in a straight line down exceptionally steep mountains. Every stage of the race the skiers go from higher until the final, which is from the top!
Speed Ski GB had 5 athletes attending the first Speed Ski World Tour stage along with their coach Millar Reid. Speed Ski GB had one athlete, Benja Hedley, competing in Speed 1, which is the fastest category to compete in whereby they wear rubber suits and ski on skis that are 238cm. This was his first race in this category and hopefully there will be many more to come in the future as his top ranking was 8th in the Speed Downhill Category. The winner of the overall Speed 1 category was none other than the world record holder himself Simone Origone from Italy with a speed of 240kmph.
From the Speed Downhill category, which is where racers wear normal alpine downhill catsuits and ski on skis that are a maximum length of 225cm. Great Britainâ€™s men did exceptionally well despite no funding or support. Tom Horn, British Record holder of 202.38kmph was narrowly beaten to progress to the quarter finals despite breaking two ribs on the way to the first run! Jan Farrell and Yannick Green both made it through to the quarter finals and Yannick Green also was the second fastest Brit with a speed of 176.05 Kmph in the competition.
It is normally quite rare for Britain to do well in winter sports however Marc Poncin, a veteran of Speed Skiing made it into the final. Marc began Speed Skiing in the late 80’s and has gone on to become Britainâ€™s most decorated Skier at World Cup level, the holder of two FIS crystal globes. Marc competed in the 1992 winter Olympics when Speed Skiing was a demonstration sport. He has achieved a great amount in the sport including being Britainâ€™s fastest skier, clocking 245.23kmph. This World cup he clocked a speed of 195.38kmph, which placed him 4th in the competition. The winner of the speed downhill category was Gregory Meichtry from Switzerland with a speed of 207.40kmph.
Millar Reid, 220.72kmph, indoor world record 2006-2011 at 103.05kmph is also Speed Ski GBâ€™s coach and team manager said that, â€œ The boys put in a commendable effort all week. Its good to see younger guys like Yannick Green and Jan Farrell coming through as it bodes well for the future. I am happy that Benja Hedley has progressed to Speed 1. We definitely have something to build on, as all of the hard work in preparation for these Championships has been off our own back. We receive no funding or support from our governing body despite having some of the best winter results for Britain. Currently we are supported by Adidas, Frencys Clothing and Dirty Dog Eyewear who have helped us a lot with our kit for this season, so many thanks to them for all the help!â€
If you would like to find out more about how to support Speed Ski GB please contact Yannick@teamevolution.eu
If you would like to find out more about Speed Ski GB, athletes or the sport of Speed Skiing, please contact ScotsSpeed@aol.com