The 8th edition of the GP24Hour ski race in Villars took place last weekend on the pistes of Bretaye under blue skies and bright sunshine, with Jacques Villeneuve and Craig Pollock playing host to their event as usual.
They were joined by Paul Stewart and a number of other stars of Formula 1, skiing, cycling, sailing and show-biz including the Team Alinghi, World Champion fencing Philippe May, footballer Von Siebenthal, and skiers Chantal Bournissen & Xavier Gigandet.
780 participants in categories Open, School and Paralympic made up 106 teams of 4-6 racing in relay and accumulating 6635 pistes during the day and an amazing 10'029 descents of the night piste under a beautiful full moon.
Also this year, a new record for the event was set whilst skiing 48,372 kilometres which, thanks to the system of sponsorship coming in per kilometre, lead to a grand total of 350,000 francs raised which will be distributed in its entirety to the 3 charities chosen this year by Formula Charity.
Two World Premières
a) Jacques' first public performance of songs written and sung by himself. As many people know, one of Jacques main hobbies is music and he has played guitar and written music for many years. In years past he has jammed with his guitar with other artists on the concert stage, but this year was his debut performance as a singer song-writer and he took to the stage with his own band of professional musicians from Paris with a 20-minute set of his own material.
b) the public demonstration of a new and revolutionary sport called ‘Woopy Jump’ had it’s world premiere flight in public during the weekend. This aerofoil worn by skiers or snowboarders combines snowsport and flying and leads to even greater sensations of speed!
A First In Villars
The night skiing, that takes place on a different piste to the day skiing, this year passed in front of the pop-concert stage, between the musicians and the public, which generated a new ski-meets-music experience! This also lead to a greater number of skiers taking to the piste throughout the night and thus a knock-on-effect on kilometres and sponsorship raised.
The 2006 Pop Concert
It was another fantastic concert this year, which kicked off at 8pm with a local rock group 'Rock en Stock' followed by the well-known Lausanne group 'Smile' (60’s & 70’s rock & R&B).
Jacques then took to the stage with some musician friends of his from Paris and performed a number of his own songs, both singing and on guitar. He was then joined by Max Gazze, the well-known Italian pop-star and Steve Smith of the platinum-album and Grammy Award winning group ‘Dirty Vegas’. Paul Stewart joined them on stage for some cover songs.
Then came a group of four young guys from Newcastle (UK) called the ‘Hungover Stuntmen’ in an hour-long and spell-binding set of original and cover songs that lit up the crowd with their energy and incredible performance. With their Beatles-meets-Oasis look, and their Indie Brit Pop-Rock sound they are already being tipped as the next big thing to come out of the north of England.
Finally, the suparb voices of Isabelle Renaud (finalist of Star-Academy, Canada) and Lorenzo Marra (winner of Superstar, Swiss-Romande and Swiss representative at the Eurovision) performed a selection of songs on the Sunday, entertaining the crowd between the end of the race and the prize awards.Source website JV