Speed skiers go for record in Verbier

15th April 2013, by Abi Butcher

Speed skier Simone Origone training in Les Arcs last week. Photo courtesy of Ski 2

Speed skier Simone Origone training in Les Arcs last week. Photo courtesy of Ski 2

Speed skiers have descended on Verbier this week in the hope of beating the current world record.

All of this week, the world’s fastest skiers will be racing in the XSPeedSki, on a 60° slope running from the top of Mont Fort.

There are three XSpeedSki competitions over the week — the first held this weekend was a race open to all. The 2013 FIS Speed Ski World Cup Final starts today until Wednesday followed by the Speed Master Pro on from Thursday to Saturday (20) April.

The world record for the discipline is 251.4 km/h (156 mph), currently held by Austrian Simone Origone. When he’s not on the international speed-skiing circuit, 34-year-old Simone works as a ski instructor and mountain guide in the Italian resort of Champoluc, often with Ski 2 Ski and Snowboard School.

Simone is in Verbier this week, hoping to beat his own record this week in the final of the 2013 FIS Speed Ski World Cup. He is currently in the lead of the championship, ahead of his brother Ivan.

A ramp was built on Mont Fort two years ago specifically for speed skiing, but hasn’t been used in competition yet because there hasn’t been enough snow to date. The current conditions, however, are perfect and it will be used for the final two days of competition, for the Speed Masters.

Eric Balet, managing director of Téléverbier, said: “This will be the year!”

Verbier residents are hoping that local Bagnes skier Philippe May can set a new world record in the Speed Masters.

Speed skiers regularly go faster than 125mph (200 kph) and wear dense foam fairings on their lower legs and aerodynamic helmets to increase streamlining. Their ski suits are normally made from air-tight latex, or could have a polyurethane coating to reduce wind resistance. Most only give minimal protection in case of a crash.

UK snowboarder Jamie Barrow is also in Verbier this week, hoping to set a new British speed record.

Back to news

Recent news

Share |