Sochi ski and snowboard cross course revealed

13 November 2013 23:00
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The International Ski Federation (FIS) has today released the ski and snowboard cross course designs for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The ‘Cross’ course is located in the so-called “Extreme Park” at the 1000m level of Rosa Khutor (RUS) ski area.

This custom designed and built course - which was designed in cooperation between the freestyle skiing and snowboarding disciplines - will provide one of the most dramatic settings for two of the newest and most exciting Olympic events presided over by the International Ski Federation.

Ski cross (SX) was introduced at Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010. The 1200m course at Sochi in 2014 will consist of a series of eight turns sections punctuated by a series of jumps and is sure to be a strong, exciting test for the top ladies' and men’s ski cross athletes this coming February.

In the cross event, a group of four skiers starts from a special gate which drops open to allow the athletes onto the course. From each elimination round the top two skiers in each heat move on to the next round. The final medal rankings are determined by the athletes' placing in the final heat.

The ski cross competition represent perhaps the most complete display of talent of any of the FIS Freestyle events, as jumps, turns, gates, speed, and head-to-head competition test every aspect of an athlete's skill set.

The ski cross course will share a start and finish area with the snowboard cross competition, as well as around 80% of the cross course proper. There will be one area where the course will split into separate ski and snowboard sections in order to more specifically target each respective discipline's skills.

The course was successfully tested during the 2012-13 FIS Freestyle World Cup season when the Olympic test event was held in mid-February, 2013. Feedback on the course from the World Cup athletes was almost overwhelmingly positive.

The course has been designed and refined over the past four years and has been specifically sculpted into the slopes of Rosa Khutor. The course has a vertical drop of 210m and is 1300m in length, with an average grade of 16%. The course contains some 25 different features, including nine turns. 64 ski cross and 64 snowboard cross competitors will compete over the course of four days in February, 2014, with each heat clocking in a run time of between 1:15 and 1:30.

The cross course shares the same finish zone with the snowboard parallel events and the ski and snowboard slopestyle competitions. 12 different events will end in this custom built competition venue, which is located roughly 250m from the halfpipe, aerials, and moguls venue (known as the HAM Stadium), and just over 1 km from the Olympic alpine skiing venue.

The FIS technical advisors of David Ny (SWE) and Nicolas Vaudroz (SUI) have built numerous World Cup and World Championship courses and their efforts, in cooperation with the FIS cross specialist and former ski cross Olympian Martin Fiala, have been utilized to create a exceptionally dynamic and challenging Olympic cross venue.

Fiala anticipates the Sochi event to be a historical highlight for both ski and snowboard cross, stating, “The Olympic programme always provides some extra special characteristics from our World Cups and World Championships courses. The cross course in Rosa Khutor challenges all skills from both snowboarding and skiing.

"I would like to thank all involved from the Rosa Khutor ski area, National Ski Association(s), from the Organising Committee and also to the course designers and the course builders for their hard pre-work on the road to the competitions and wish all the teams and athletes a safe, successful and exciting Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 for what could become a true highlight of the programme.”

FIS Freestyle Skiing Race Director Joe Fitzgerald has high expectations for the sophomore outing of the Olympic ski cross competition, stating, “Ski cross had a great introduction in Vancouver, and since then we've had four years of experience to learn from and refine the sport. As well, we have more time and more extensive resources then ever before to develop a really spectacular course at the Sochi Games, and we expect the competition to showcase that.

"At the Olympic test event last February we received nearly unanimous feedback from the athletes on the quality of the ski cross facility, and from that we bring great confidence to the upcoming Games that the ski cross event will be a highly competitive and exceptionally exciting event once again, with lots of passing, big jumps, and intense head-to-head competition.”


SX and SBX:

A steep start with two short steps leads to a double roller and a step-up jump, followed by a roller section and a small kicker. The following roller section leads into the first right-turning banked turn into a small kicker, followed by a double roller and a variable double-up and a roller or a triple-up.

The following double roller leads into the first left-turning bank and then into a long flat roller section. After, a quarter banked turn to the right is followed by a further flat roller section leading into a right-turning bank with an small kicker exit.

The next medium-sized kicker leads into a double roller and then the next left-turning bank with a medium-sized kicker exit. After the landing a medium-sized step-down leads to a big step-up where the SBX and the SX courses separate. The SX will continue to riders left while the SBX course will continue straight.

SX Section:

After the big step-up another step up double / triple is followed by a negative turn leading into a big kicker. After this kicker SX joins SBX course again.

SBX Section:

After the step-up a roller section leads into a big kicker. After this kicker the SBX course joins the SX course again.

SX and SBX:

After the landing of the big kicker a left-turning bank leads into the last roller section, followed by a right turning bank with a medium size kicker exit. The following steep section leads to the final big kicker and long landing/final approach section before the finish.