The Swatch Skiers Cup 2015 in Zermatt, Switzerland, near the peak of the Matterhorn Mountain, summoned 16 of the world's most elite free skiers to stare down over the snowy abyss—some serious as death, others unnaturally giddy, waiting their turn to drop into ultra-fresh pow. In just two seconds one of them will take one final look at the surrounding claws of mountains and hurl himself over the crisp, blinding edge. All the free skiers' aims are singular: to perfect the sickest, most unimaginable acrobatic tricks while free skiing at speeds of 30 and 40 mph. Your turn. Here's a highlight reel, photos, and GoPro video of the 5th annual battle in the Swatch Skiers Cup: Europe vs The Americas. And with an all-new team, after the untimely death of last year's Americas team captain J.P. Auclair, this is a ride of remembrance and to build true camaraderie in a sport that is very individual. Free skiing's finest lay it down together—and STOMP it! WATCH: The Highlight Reel >>>
You may be alone at the top , but free skiing is a team effort to get you down.
In the mind of an extreme sportsman, focus is the only word for this moment. Townsend says, "You have to have fear out there. That’s what keeps us safe and helps us make the correct decisions. So I just think we play on a different scale with it."
High flying down the craggy cliffs takes precision and the guts of a madman. Townsend says, a huge wall has endless perfect lines to traverse, and that huge wall "is what they're looking for all the time."
Back flip and down to crush the competition. The score was tied this year, until Team Europe started rocking the mountain so hard, the judges couldn't deny it any longer.
Freeskiier, and Line of the Year 2014 winner, Cody Townsend says, "On the scariest stuff you dont fall, but on the stupidest thing you can. So you need to have focus [at all times]."
Whoever said man can't fly has never met these guys, and will never know what they've missed.
"What do the mountains give you that cities just can't? Freedom," says France's freeskiing favorite Richard Permin. Townsend pipes up: "It's up to you and your own imagination as to how you get down."
A cascade of snow falls as the freeskiier drops below the lip.
Redefine cliff diving with this favorite cliff crossing at the base of the Matterhorn.
Never forget which way is down.
Don't quit your day job, especially if you have this one. Permin "I grew up outside the city and then at 16 moved to the mountains. Compared to a city, the mountains have everything I need, really."