Felix Neureuther of Germany won a parallel slalom on a giant ramp built near Red Square in a promotion of Alpine ski events at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Friday.
Neureuther was among 14 world-class slalom skiers along with two Russian champions invited to compete in the exhibition by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
The ramp — 55m high, 33m wide and 150m long with 14 gates — was erected on a square in front of Moscow University’s main building at Vorobyevy Hills. Because Moscow has been warmer than average, more snow for the event was delivered from Siberia, more than 3,500km away.
The event was shown live by two dozen broadcasters in Europe and the skiers toured the Kremlin and met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who noted the event’s importance in promoting skiing in Russia ahead of the 2014 Games.
World Cup overall champion Bode Miller of the US, who was third in the event, was impressed with the ramp.
“The idea is strong. We talked about it for a long time,” Miller said. “The ramp is giant. It’s hard to believe how much effort and time it takes to build something like that. That’s the main problem, but I think it’s really cool to see it actually happen and come to reality.”
A smaller ramp was built for a snowboard and freestyle World Cup last February, which gave FIS the idea of holding an Alpine race in the city. The new ramp will host another freestyle and snowboard World Cup next month.