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Gudauri hosts Snowboard Cross Europa Cup for the first time

By Levan Abramishvili
Monday, March 11
On March 8th, Gudauri hosted the first Europa Cup race in Snowboard Cross among ladies and men.

It was as early as last year that Georgia took an honorable spot amongst the world winter tourism destinations when it was announced that it was going to host the 2023 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championship in Bakuriani. As a preparation for the championship, the International Ski Federation holds Europa Cup races in Georgia.

Snowboard cross became an official Olympic event at the Turin Olympic Games in 2006. It was also included in following Winter Olympics. In the race, four to six competitors race down a course. Snowboard cross courses typically are designed to challenge the riders' ability to stay in control while maintaining maximum speed.

Over the weekend (March 8th-10th) Gudauri welcomed snowboarders from across Europe. Snowboard Cross Europa Cups were held on March 8th and 9th; and FIS Race on 10th. The 57 athletes represented 14 different countries. The first day of the races was spent on the “Kudebi” Mountain on a course that was specifically built for the event.

The FIS Europa Cups races were organized by Georgian Ski Federation, with its general sponsor – Silknet, The Government of Georgia, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia and the Mountain Resorts Development Company. The race day began with a press conference from the organizers of the races.

Zurab Kostava, the president of the GSF, emphasized the importance of holding international races in Georgia. He mentioned that the infrastructure that these races bring with them aren’t temporary and will remain for Georgian public and the tourists alike to enjoy for many years to come.

The race on the first day lasted almost 5 hours. The athletes in both Ladies and Men’s categories created an exhilarating race that was a pleasure to watch.

The quality of the snow and the race organization were praised by the athletes. Hanna Ihedioha, who represented Germany and won the first place in the Ladies category, was “surprised with how good the courses were, I think they did a really good job for the first time here. Everything was super organized”.

Sharing his thoughts about Gudauri and the race, the Men’s category winner from Austria, Jakob Dusek, said that even though he hasn’t seen much of the country yet – “the mountains here in Gudauri are really nice and I would really like to come back here to make some heli rides and go freeriding”. Regarding the course itself, he mentioned that while the turns were a bit small, he could still go really fast – “It was a very good race for me. I protected my lines so the other guys didn’t have the chance to overtake me and it was very nice to race”.

Jerome Lymann, who ended up second in the race in men’s category, compared the mountains of Gudauri to the views of his native Switzerland. He praised the design of the course and expressed joy that the athletes got a chance to familiarize themselves with Georgia in a preparation for the 2023 championship.

The Chief of Competition, Klaus Waldner, commended the organization of the race – “it’s improving every day and the race today was really fun for all the athletes”.

Georgian ski resorts are slowly but steadily attaining an international exposure. High profile races like this are a key to making tourists from across the globe interested in the mountains of Georgia.

Meanwhile, the Georgian Ski Federation, along with the people dedicated to popularizing the winter tourism in Georgia, will continue their hard work to make Georgia a praiseworthy host of the 2023 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championship.