We mentioned that Ryder-Walker hiking guide Willi Glanznig won the 2012 U.S.A. Powder 8 Championship held in Aspen, Colorado. A few of our guests wanted to know how Willi trains for an event like the Powder 8. We caught up with Willi during his busy winter season schedule, and this is what he had to say:
Willi, congrats on your recent win in Aspen! You’ve won this competition before, haven’t you?
Yes. I won the US National Powder 8 Championships in 2006, with a different partner at the time. I also took 2nd at the World Powder 8’s during the same year.
Two Thousand Six was a good year for you. How long have you trained for this event?
I have competed in this sport for over a decade, skiing with various partners, including Staffan Bjorklund, (Ryder-Walker guide), in the last couple of comps. We placed 4th on one occasion, and 5th on another.
What about this year’s partner? How did you meet?
This year I teamed up with Steve Cieciuch, who has lived and skied in Telluride, CO for many years. He used to compete in powder 8’s during the 1990’s.
He had a lot of experience himself, and after skiing together a few times, we realized that we could be a competitive team. We skied together off and on over a period of about 6 weeks. We shot video. We trained early in the mornings, and we tried to get together on powder days, which we fortunately had quite a few of during February. We felt quite confident going into the competition.
What kind of equipment do you use?
This year we had some awesome powder skis, the Atomic Atlas, from Bootdoctors in Telluride. They were the perfect tool.
What was the competition like?
We practiced on the venue the day before the event and had about a foot of powder in Aspen Highlands bowl. It was fantastic! We knew what the conditions would be like for the next day, and we were well-prepared!
We did well on day one. We placed 3rd. Then we went cat skiing the next day on Aspen Mountain where we skied on some beautiful powder fields and had fresh tracks every run. It was perfect!! After skiing against several teams head-to-head, we always advanced and ended up in the finals against the top Aspen team. It was a close race, and we were not even sure if we’d won . We had to wait until the evening presentation, and when they announced the final results, we were SOOOOO excited that we pulled it off!
It must be a nice feeling to stand on the winner’s podium again. What else would you like to say about the event?
It was a great couple of days .. great snow, great people, great skiing. It could not have beeen any better!
We can’t wait to see you on the hiking trail this summer!
Thanks! This winter has been great, but I can’t wait to get on the trail again.
Top image: Steve Cieciuch (left), Willi Glanznig (right)
Bottom Image: Willi Glanznig (left), Steve Cieciuch (right)