The O’Neill Xtreme by Swatch freeride contest in Verbier, Switzerland, is gearing up for a Sunday start (28/03/04).

With excellent weather conditions forecast for the weekend, the 22 snowboarders and 10 skiers have today been given the provisional green light to engage the formidable Bec des Rosses on Sunday and kick off, what is expected to be, a classic 9th edition of the Xtreme.

Flat light and near constant snowfall has been the theme of the last few days with over half a meter of snow dumped at 3000 meters. This curtain of hostile weather is, however, beginning to lift and will be replaced by optimal conditions for the weekend. Fine weather, with the occasional light cloud, on Saturday will allow the contest director and safety officials time to secure and prepare the mighty Bec des Rosses for the contest to finally get underway early Sunday morning (1st rider at 10am, prize giving ceremony at the Col des Gentianes at 3pm).

With the build-up and anticipation escalating throughout the week the riders can begin to channel their energies towards Sunday. No one is more ready to take on the Bec than the USA’s Wendy Keller.

‘I’m so happy that we have a start day now. I think everybody has been getting pretty built up over this past week. I’m a bit anxious now and I think everybody feels the same way so it’s going to be good to finally get up there.’

Began Wendy ‘Mother nature has definitely been in charge this week. We have had a few days to sit and talk and think and read and study so now its time to go up and see how things have changed with all the snow we’ve been having… The Bec has no comparison in the world I don’t think. It’s the biggest. It’s the steepest. It’s the most exposed. The gnarliest. And gives you the most sense of accomplishment when you reach the bottom. It’s the most unique venue in the world. I can’t think of anywhere else that compares to it. I just can’t wait to get up there on Sunday,’ She added.

Further updates and developments will be broadcast today after further meteorological consultation and assessment.

For more details contact:

Isabelle de Lalène
Freeride Association
Phone: +41 27 771 50 83
Fax: +41 27 771 50 84