As cool as ice! Freestylers flock to one of Europe’s oldest and most exciting freeski events for weekend of stunning stunts
Winter sports enthusiasts gather this week in the ski resort of Kotelnica Białczańska, in southern Poland, for the Garmin Winter Sports Festival.
Now in its 16th year, the event on 15-16 February brings together skiers, snowboarders and bike enthusiasts from Poland and abroad for two days of airborne action.
“For us, it was always about creating the best event, and giving young and talented riders an opportunity to be in the spotlight,” said Andrzej Lesiewski, the Festival’s organiser, quoted on its website. “We are always looking for new ways to bring more attention to the incredible skills of the athletes.”
Formerly known as the Polish Freeskiing Open, the event was founded in the Polish mountains in 2004. According to the organisers, it is one of the oldest annual freeski competitions in Europe.
In 2016, the skiers were joined by snowboarders and dirt jumpers – cyclists who become airborne by riding over jumps, in this case made from snow.
Kotelnica Białczańska is hosting the event for the fifth time in a row. The largest ski station located in Poland’s southernmost Podhale region, it has 14 km of ski pistes, catering to a range of levels.
On the snow feature, located on part of the main ski slope, participants will perform stunning jumps and tricks in mid-air, rising several metres above the snow.
The Garmin Winter Sports Festival is now part of the FIS Europa Cup calendar for skiing and snowboarding.
In addition to people from Poland, contestants from several European countries including Austria, Finland and Ukraine are expected to take part.
The agenda starts with training and qualifiers leading up to the finals on 16 February. The event will close with a prize ceremony, followed by an after-party in Zakopane.
The event is sponsored by companies including Garmin, an American multinational technology company, and Audi. It can be watched on YouTube here.