Ski cross thrills Olympic crowds

22nd February 2010, by Chris Gill

Men's ski cross

Men's ski cross

It’s fast, furious and pumped-up the Vancouver crowds on Sunday; it is ski cross – the no-fear event making its Olympic debut in 2010.

The first Olympic ski cross competition took place at Cypress Mountain at the weekend, and its reputation for speed and spectacular crashes didn’t disappoint.

The men’s competition took place on the the same course that hosted the snowboard cross a few days ago, and proved just as manic. The racers take part in an initial timed qualifier before the top 32 are split into groups of four for the various heats.

Once four start racing together the fun begins in a free-for-all that inevitably lands a few juicy crashes along the way. And the crowds were not disappointed.

Glory day went to Switzerland’s Michael Schmid, who was the favourite to take the title. Andreas Matt from Austria took the silver medal and Norway’s Audun Groenvold the bronze.

Keen downhill racing enthusiasts might recall Daron Rahlves as a familiar name on the circuit? Well, he has moved into ski cross these days and reached the quarter finals before crashing out near the end of the course.

The women’s competition kicks off on Tuesday 23 February, with all eyes on local girl Ashleigh McIvor (World Cup Champion) and France’s Ophelie David. Back here in the UK we’ll be watching Sarah Sauvey,  racing for Team GB.

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