Review Tavascan 2015

March 2nd

EFT ©NikolNovotna

Miroslav Kube (CZ) the winner of the category Men (snowboard & ski)


EFT Tavascan review

The first Kick The Vik Eco Freeride Tour Stop (EFT) of the 2014/2015 winter season took place in Tavascan, Catalonia (Spain). Heavy snowfall, storms and extreme temperature fluctuations forced the organizers of the Eco Freeride Tour to be very flexible in making schedule changes. Instead of three days of lodge events along with wide powder runs, the organizers needed to arrange a crisp one-and-a-half day freeride program in the wild Pyrenees.

A snow-rich event weekend in Tavascan, Spain, was on the horizon in the week leading up to the first EFT stop in the Catalan Pyrenees. While traveling by public transport from Chur (Switzerland) to Lleida (Spain), the organizing team received the incredible message from the local mountain guide Pau Gomez that two-and-a-half meters of fresh snow had fallen at the Tavascan Ski Resort, located at an altitude of 1,725 m. Access to the Refugi de la Pleta del Prat lodge, which was to be the starting point for the upcoming three-day freeride event, workshops and cozy mountain lodge evenings among peers was blocked.
The base camp needed for onsite preparations over two days was quickly moved to the village of Tavascan itself: The hotel Llacs de Cardos, which is the only hotel open at this time, was selected in the village of Tavascan.
The event start time was postponed to the later evening, as is typical for this country. The following day, the local mountain guide Pau Gomez dug snow profiles. After consulting with officials responsible for the cable railway, the guides responsible for the safety decided to hold the contest at the Refugi. Transport was organized to take the arriving participants to the riders meeting up at the lodge. As the organizers were greeting participants arriving from Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Spain, the mountain guide Pau Gomez received a message from the area security officials that a massive avalanche had destroyed the lower station of the T-bar ski lift and buried the chairlift under six meters of snow. The director of the cable railway in Tavascan stated: "In order to secure the ski area and the infrastructure, the steep-sloped passages in the catchment area of the cable railway were shot with avalanche cannons. We bombarded the critical slope four times, releasing light avalanches along the upper sections. The final, fifth shot released the whole slope and a massive base-layer avalanche rolled down the slopes and over the lift facilities."
Without further ado, the participants were transferred to the hotel in Tavascan. After a tasty dinner the participants concluded their day by relaxing at the hotel bar. Meanwhile, the organizing team finalized the alternative event program and they introduced an event that is unprecedented in Eco Freeride Tour history: a Tree Skiing Contest (forest run) in the nearby secure area of Port - Ainé. The 20-member group, including guides, filmmakers, photographers and organizers, climbed 300 meters to the start with their touring skis and splitboards. Thanks to the rapid execution of the contest, the participants climbed up for a second forest run, followed by workshops: The local mountain guides conducted a safety training, which was highly appropriate given the current avalanche situation, and then provided a lesson about alternative rappelling techniques requiring little equipment.
The traditional riders’ judging criteria were replaced by an assessment by the EFT team due to time constraints. The jury determined the winners according to classic freeride criteria based on the video recordings of each descent. During a traditional local dinner, the participants enjoyed the company of new and familiar faces, and were delighted by their rankings after they were announced.


Men Ski and Snowboard:
1. Miroslav Kube (CZ)
2. Axel Blersch (AT)
3. Pau Lanzetta Porta (ES)

Women Ski and Snowboard:
1. Janine Tschanhenz (AT)
2. Simone Feyerabend (CH)
3. Nina Blersch (CH)

The unusual and difficult situation demanded a high degree of flexibility, local area knowledge and cooperation. The organizers received a stellar level of support from local partners and the friendly local population. Thus, the event ended successfully for participants, organizers and partners.


TAVASCAN 27.2. - 1.3.2015

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