Verbier Xtreme Freeride World Tour 2012

Verbier, Switzerland, 23 to 25-MAR-2012

From 23 to 25-MAR-2012, the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2012 made its 6th and final stop in Verbier, Switzerland.  A Swatch The Club event was organized around this great skiing and snowboard happening at the Bec des Rosses (3222 meters).  17 collectors participated at the event (10 from Switzerland, 7 from other European countries such as Germany, Italy, UK, ...).

We met on friday afternoon at the Hotel du Parc in Martigny and drove the 30 km (and 10 turns) to Verbier with two mini vans.  One of the main roads in Verbier was closed for cars during the weekend.  Instead, there were many booths for eating, drinking, clothing, Swatch watches etc. etc., like a small village fair.

Especially exciting were the presentations on the tightrope ("slackshow").

In the middle of the road, a huge stage was built and we just arrived in time for the drawing of the starting numbers.

yes, it was really warm, also in the early evening!

Ms. Emch (president of Swatch) introducing the Swatch Skiers Cup

And to top it all:  The Swatch Dancers were also there....

drinks at the Swatch container

Ski station Médran

In the evening, we were invited to the presentation of the upcoming Swatch Sports Collection at the Hotel Nevaï (also including a fantastic dinner).

The new Swatch Sports Collection consists of six New Gent watches designed by six different Swatch ProTeam members:

Wonder Zebra by Mat Rebeaud (freestyle motocross [FMX]; SUOZ703)

Coco Ho (surfing; SUOZ143)

Courtney Conlogue (surfing; SUOZ706)

High Wonder by Xavier De Le Rue (snowboard; SUOZ137)

Wonder Flora by Anne-Flore Marxer (snowboard; SUOZ704)

Wonder Inspiration by Kassia Meador (surfing longboarding; SUOZ141)

The watches are not limited and they come in regular plastic boxes, no special sleeves...

ProTeam member Kaj Zackrisson

Four ProTeam Swatch watch designers were present at the launch:  

From left to right:  Anne-Flore Marxer, Mat Rebeaud, Arlette-Elsa Emch, Xavier De Le Rue, Kassia Meador

Ms. Emch introduced each Swatch designer individually, and everyone could say a few words about the "inspiration" of their respective watch.

Swatch has put together a nice video about the launch event and the preparations before...

On saturday morning, it was time for the big contest of the Swatch Freeride World Tour finals at the Bec de Rosses (3222 meters) in Verbier. 

About 8500 spectators were present at the Col des Gentianes (2950 m), a great place to watch the spectacle (maybe a bit too far away, although we received Swatch binoculars).

Mont Fort (3300 m)

start of the ladies competition

Well, I won't bore you with all the details of the competition and who won what, you get a much much better impression from the videos that were shot from the helicopters:

Maria DeBari (1st Women Snowboard) during an interview

In the afternoon, we had some free time for skiing.  As the weather was perfect (maybe a bit too warm), this was a lot of fun.

Back in Verbier, the "slackshow" was taken to the next level...

Swatch had arranged an autograph session with the ProTeam members for the collectors.

picture by Swatch

In the evening, we had dinner at Le Hameau in Verbier, everyone who was remotely or closely involved with the Swatch Freeride World Tour finals was invited, so at least 200 people were there.

Afterwards, it was party time at "Le Garage".  We arrived a bit too early (at 11pm) and as the party began only at midnight, the lights were still "on".  So we decided to call it a day and we went to bed :-)

The participants at the event received a special Swatch Freeride World Tour 2012 (SUOB704C) in the paper sleeve.  This watch is quite rare as it was not available for sale anywhere during the event and these were the very last pieces that were distributed anywhere (except for a few that will be at the G&P kiosk). 

The event participants also received the new Xavier De Le Rue (SUOZ137) special watch:

And finally, an overview picture of all the stuff that the collectors received at the event:

Thanks to everyone from the club for a great event, it was fantastic to be back in my favourite skiing area!

Andreas Wiethoff, 27-MAR-2012.

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