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Verbier's famous and infamous High Five competition (www.verbierhighfivebycarlsberg.com), sponsored by Carlsberg, returns on Saturday, 31 March. The fun contest is unusual and exciting as it mixes professional ski champions alongside amateur skiers and snowboarders competing in five races: giant slalom, boardercross, speed skiing, a fun triathlon and parallel slalom.
Last year's event saw Didier Cuche, Alberto Tomba, Luc Alphand, Eric Guay, Edgar Grospiron the famous French 'mogulist' who took part in the very first High Five compete in attendance, as well as the then still-injured Didier Defago and J2Ski contributor Chemmy Alcott who were able to join the festival and assist with the race commentary, meeting their fans and giving last minute racing tips to the 350 amateurs.
After the four classic disciplines of the High Five (Giant Slalom, Speed Race, Skiercross and the Triathlon), it was Federica Brignone (ITA) and Sandrine Aubert (FRA) who had tied for first place but for the men, Christoph Innhofer (ITA) was the winner. From the 350 amateurs, Natalia Cornaz was the best of the women and Sebastien Revaz for the men.
The four top female amateurs and the eight best men then had the chance to ski with the Pros and compete in the hotly-contested Parallel Slalom. At the end of the two runs, the mens pro-am team of Luc Alphond and Serge Kummer came out on top, as did the women's team of Fanzi Auftenblatten and Natalia Cornaz.
Under the hot sun and in front of an enthusiastic public, Luc Alphond, drew on all his skills and experience to win his two Parallel Slalom Runs. The friendly French Champion could not conceal his joy at having won after six previous appearances at the High Fives.
"At last, I have won a ski race 12 years after retiring from the White Circus." I have had great fun all day in these perfect conditions".
"It could not have been better. The organisation was perfect, the conditions optimal and the piste just right. And moreover, everyone enjoyed themselves. It was tremendous fun!" said Didier Cuche.
At the awards presentation, Keld Strudahl, Carlsberg's International Marketing Director explained how this once-small event has grown in stature, significance and popularity. "The High Five is now a true brand in its own right; it combines the best of sport with fun, entertainment and sharing good times with friends."
I have put it in my diary .... quite fancy that
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