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Artem crowned king of the snow

Artem Garashchenko wins the Snow Kite Masters and is crowned Snow Kite World Champion again! We catch up with him following his impressive performance and cracking result.

Where was the competition held? 

The event was held in the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, France. It was pretty unique for snow kiting.  We had to take two ski lifts up and  then freeride down the slopes and into the snow park created especially for snow kiting. It was well done with plenty of kickers, relief and rails.

Tell us a bit about the snow kiting competition format?

Due to the very challenging and every-changing conditions at 2000m, the format wasn’t classic.  The organisers of Snow Kite Masters offered something fresh where everyone still rode in heats of 2-3 people, but not competing against each other - you are essentially competing against yourself and individually scored. The winner is picked after the full sequence of heats, of which there are three rounds.

What do the judges want to see?

The main judging criterias were technical difficulty and execution. They only counted 3 unhooked and 3 tricks hooked-in tricks which was also new. Luckily I had some signature hooked-in snow kite moves such as a one foot and tic-tac - these scored high. At the beginning of the comp there were sliders that we could hit. Unfortunately some of the riders had some pretty gnarly landings and the judges decided to remove rails from the area for the safety reasons. 

How is the snow kiting scene evolving?

The level of snow kite freestyle increases every year. Of course it is not as high as on the water because it’s hard to get the same pop, but riders are doing 5’s off the flat, 7’s off the kickers and pure wakestyle tricks with the kite low…doubles are just around the corner too.

What gear do you ride?

I use the same quiver on the snow as I do on the water for freestyle or park riding. I use the Vegas with the Wakestyle Bar on Hard settings. The only difference is more protection and a snowboard instead of a kiteboard. 

Highs and lows of the comp?

We had 30cm of fresh powder for the first two days of the competition, but without any wind. When the wind did blow the park became an icy concrete surface. I realised quite quickly that there was no room for error when I flew upside down mid Slim Chance. Of course the best bits are always landing hard tricks and getting on the podium. I’m stoked!