Alto Sangro: snow kiting in the heart of Italy | Photo: IKA

Thirty Formula GPS kiteboarders battled it out on the mountains of the Alto Sangro, Italy, for the second leg of 2018 IKA Snowkite World Cup.

The first day of racing was scheduled to take place in the Fredda Valley, a rather flat area with less steep slopes where speed and distance were more rewarded than gaining height through the terrain. Some impressive performances were recorded early on, with two GPS tasks completed.

On day two, racing was moved to Toppe del Tesoro, the highest area of the Alto Sangro ski region. Winds were light, and despite some great individual performances in the early stages of the challenge, racing was finally abandoned as the wind completely died.

Day three saw one of the best conditions recorded in competition - winds averaging 15-20 knots, bright sunshine, and perfect snow conditions.

Again, Toppe del Tesoro was the venue of choice with a stunning view over Monte Greco, the highest summit of the area. Two completed tasks left the athletes exhausted - but not too tired to miss a good party in the evening.

The final day of competition started with sunshine and moderate winds. Cross-Country racing was the call for the day but, unfortunately, shortly before the start of the race, a strong cloud cover moved in, making it impossible to get it underway for safety reasons.

German rider Felix Kersten took the win in the Men's Ski division, followed by Italian athlete Andrea di Lisa and Spanish snow kiter Javi Mezo.

In the Men's Snowboard category, the Austrian Reinhold Gehrer claimed the top honors, followed by world champion Guillaume Chastagnol and Felix Werner.

In the Women's Snowboard, Carola De Groot took the victory ahead of Maria Stellitano and Francesca Sarcone.

The destination proved to be a paradise for fans of the discipline, who have been able to carry out the various tests in all the competition areas of the region depending on the weather conditions.

The Formula GPS generated great interest from athletes and proved to be quite flexible for the organizers, characteristics that will certainly make it suitable for other disciplines.

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