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The Nordkette presented itself from its best side this weekend: blue skies, bright sunshine, glistening snow - exactly the right conditions for the Freeski World Rookie Fest, which took place for the fourth time in the Nordkette Skyline Park as part of the international World Rookie Tour from March 3 to 6, 2022.
Perfect conditions for the Freeski World Rookie Fest
I ask Meinhard Trojer - the organizer - what keeps attracting the Freeski World Rookie Fest to Innsbruck: "It's obvious, the Nordkette Skyline Park offers optimal conditions for such an event. It is the perfect photo location, the view of the city is breathtaking. In Innsbruck this sport is lived , and please let's be honest, where else can you get directly from the city center to the mountain in the shortest time, that's unique." True, I have to agree with him. As I sit comfortably in my deck chair at the edge of the slope on Saturday, letting the sun shine on my face and watching the young athletes, I hear other spectators talking next to me - according to their dialect, they are not from Tyrol. Again and again they emphasize how beautiful they find it here and how comfortable they feel. Inwardly I nod, I can only agree with them. Innsbruck is a sports city and the Nordkette is not called the "Jewel of the Alps" for nothing.
More than sport
Since 2005, the global World Rookie Tour has been THE platform for freeskiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and, since summer 2021, surfing young talents to gain their first competitive experience. The competition is important, but by far not the most important thing. Above all, it is also about supporting young athletes, whether through workshops, photo shoots or by showing them, for example, how to get sponsors and subsequently how to work with them. "For us, it's about keeping young talent in the sport, supporting them and not burning them out. The fun is in the foreground," Meinhard Trojer explains to me. "It's important to us to turn great young people into responsible athletes. We offer workshops and also work with charitable organizations, among others. Like this year in Innsbruck, for example, with Viva con Agua, a non-profit organization that works to provide access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene."
Keeping young talent in the sport is a top priority.
The philosophy of the World Rookie Tour can be summed up well: "Sport, Education and Fun!"
Today on the Nordkette - tomorrow at the Olympics
I was able to feel this spirit as a spectator on the Nordkette this weekend. I could not discover any dogged athletes or, even worse, dogged parents. The fun of skiing was the most important thing for all participants. Of course, everyone who takes part wants to get hold of one of the coveted tickets for the finals in Madonna di Campiglio in Italy. After all, the World Rookie Champions - snowboarders and freeskiers - have a guaranteed spot in next year's FIS World Cup. The future of the former rookies is promising. The results of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing testify to the excellent junior work of the World Rookie Tour, as the former World Rookie Tour winners and participants achieved a total of 24 final appearances as well as four medals.
The participants of the Freeski World Rookie Fest are divided into two categories: Rookies and Groms. Rookies are young men and women born between 2004 and 2006. Groms include participants born in 2007 and younger. This year again international athletes competed in Innsbruck - among others from Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The winners of the Rookies are Luis Resch in the men's race and Sarah Schönach in the women's race. Andreas Penz was able to prevail in his age group and was the best among the groms.
Innsbruck - a winter sports city
As it looks, we can look forward to the World Rookie Tour on the Nordkette again next year. And maybe - but that's not quite sure yet - we can then welcome the snowboarders in Innsbruck in addition to the freeskiers. Be that as it may, 2022 was a complete success as far as the Freeski World Rookie Fest in Innsbruck is concerned. Innsbruck is and will always be a city where winter sports will always find a place! In this sense, enjoy the last winter days on the slopes, spring will come sooner than you think!