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Female skiing sensation and model, Lindsey Vonn, has written to the FIS requesting permission to compete in the men's downhill in Lake Louise next month. Could this be another Red Bull first?
Lindsey Vonn has dominated Women's downhill skiing for years, both on the mountain and in the press. At 27 she already has 33 World Cup victories to her name, 26 of which are in downhill skiing. If being one of the greatest women skiers on the planet wasn't enough, Vonn's looks have also led her to being a poster girl for both the sports and the US Winter Olympic team.
Photo: © U.S. Ski Team
Vonn certainly has the skiing ability and public appeal to take on the boys at their own game, and as she already trains with them, you can bet she's pretty confident in beating them too. But is this all down to Vonn, or does having an ambitious sponsor like Red Bull help.
When it comes to action sports and high adrenaline, Red Bull are the masters of PR. This week the Red Bull Stratos took place — where Austrian sky diver jumped out of a balloon at 120,000ft breaking both the sound barrier and the record for the world's most ridiculous, sorry, highest sky dive. So, is it any surprise they are supporting another one of their prized assets taking on a world first?
The decision to take on the Men's Downhill apparently comes from Lindsey Vonn's team, as opposed to the US ski team, which this statement from the US team seems to back up: "We clearly have great respect for Lindsey, her accomplishments in the sport and her desire to seek this new challenge. But we have not had any formal discussion yet between Lindsey and FIS. As with any issue or opportunity, decisions we make are management decisions but include all appropriate parties."
So, could and should Vonn be allowed to take on the men? There is no reason why she shouldn't, unless the likes of Bode Miller are worried that she could pip them to the podium positions. British women's skier Chemmy Alcott seems to think not, according to a post on Facebook this week:
"Most people will expect me to be averse to Lindsey Vonn's request to ski against the boys. They will probably expect me to be jealous, as a peer who will never have the opportunity she is seeking.
Or they might think that I will deem it unfair that Lindsey will, if she continues to compete on the women's World Cup tour, "break" FIS rules by skiing on a piste the week before an event. This would give her a big advantage in the women's race because the gate setting in Lake Louise next month is the same.
However, this is far from true. I am sympathetic to Lindsey's plight. She is not just any female requesting the opportunity to compete against men in her sport - she is the best, and by far. Numerous times she has destroyed the competition in speed events by seconds (a lifetime in our sport)."
I say let her compete against the boys to see how they cope with her taking the limelight on and off the slopes...
The dates of Warren Miller's Flow State have finally been announced. This year's film will be spending the next few weeks travelling around the country showcasing some epic skiing on the big screen — then leaving us salivating until its DVD release in 2013.
For both of the last two years we have made it to one of the showings, and we are already getting excited about an evening of big hits and epic powder lines, all on the big screen. Last year's film ...Like There's No Tomorrow was superb and will hit the shelves in the coming days, and Flow State looks easily as impressive.
The guys at Warren Miller have been making incredible ski films for longer than any of us dare to remember, and the Warren Miller Tour is one of those great events that reminds you that winter is just around the corner. So, if you are missing the snow, want to see one of the biggest ski films of the winter on a huge screen and fancy winning a prize or two, then get yourself down to the Warren Miller 212 Tour.
For a full list of dates and ticket information go to WarrenMiller.co.uk. If you haven't already seen it check out the Flow State trailer below.
Last night, Absinthe Films brought their latest film, Resonance, to the UK, kicking off the premiere with big name riders, Danny Kass and Sylvain Bourbousson. We were invited to the Coronet Cinema and Notting Hill Arts Club for an evening of snowboarding, beanie-wearing and beer drinking.
Snowsports' film premieres are always fun and everyone has their own way of doing things. Red Bull like a dramatic IMAX showcase, Warren Miller like to head to Leicester Square and Absinthe went for an arty corner of London — but made it feel like you were in a ski resort. Everywhere you looked it was tight jeans, baggy t-shirts & beanies and Danny Kass couldn't look more like a stereotypical (in skier's eyes) snowboarder if he tried.
This of course, set the scene perfectly for the film. Resonance follows a formula that Absinthe Films have perfected, which is to make snowboarding look fun. They might be doing super-human riding, insane lines and taking on 68-step rails, but it looks fun — completely unachievable, but fun.
Danny Kass (centre), with Laura and Nick from our ski team
Resonance hasn't attempted to boast an innovative approach, a Red Bull budget or far-out destinations, but it does capture your imagination. Absinthe favourites Romain de Marchi, Mikey LeBlanc and Travis Rice have been replaced with younger, equally impressive and outrageously good riders Bode Merrill and Cale Zima over recent years, which keeps the films feeling fresh. There are only so many times you can watch Mikey LeBlanc smashing up a snowboard after a bomb drop or attaching bindings to a sledge.
For me, the stand-out section of Resonance is all about the aforementioned Bode Merrill. It looks like you're watching a mate playing on his Playstation as Merrill goes off a huge back country booter, fully inverted and tweaking out his grab, only to realise he's doing the whole thing one footed — one footed, really! Bode Merrill has been playing the one-footed trick for a while, but the huge hits he now does and the styled-out tricks are taking it to a new level. It's almost as if he's taken a look at the double/triple-cork and 1440 scene, put two fingers up and said "yeah, but I bet you can't do this".
Cale Zima is fast becoming a favourite of mine and is giving Mikey LeBlanc a run for his money with his urban riding. There's one section where he does a bomb drop and slides his heel edge along a vertical grate — I'm not doing this justice here — which is both insane and cringeworthy as you wonder how he lands it. God only know how Zima still has all his teeth — his approach to urban snowboarding is terrifyingly on the edge of a painful face plant most of the time.
The film finished with a double section from Nico Müller, I don't care if you ski, snowboard or even snowblade, there isn't a snow-lover out there who won't enjoy watching this living legend tear-up the back country. Powder lines, rooster tales and styled-out tricks where you can actually see what he's attempting. I sometimes miss watching David Benedek, but watching Nicolas Müller soon fills that gap, and then some.
Resonance is another fantastic offering from Absinthe Films that makes you want to crack open a beer, sit back and chill out for an hour. Then you'll be planing your next trip on your board as soon as it finishes. Hats off to Patrick Armbruster and Justin Hostynek for making another Autumn bearable.
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