As the light faded across Hinterglemm today a lone figure, dressed in red, with skis on his feet and poles in his hands, hurtled down the slopes opposite the Alpine Palace, overtaking the tourists, the beginners and the fallen; pulling up just short of the starting blocks of the freestyle area.
The “Red Arrow” airborne
Then, after girding his loins, he shoved off in the direction of a snowy ramp, hitting it perfectly, flipping vertically, and landing with all the grace of a flock of swans. Not done, he used his momentum to tackle a second, slightly bigger ramp, nailing it with the dexterity of an Olympic gymnast jumping through a bathroom window while being chased by the Feds. It was a marvel, one met by spontaneous applause by a cynical press pack looking for wipe-outs.
Hinterglemm by night
While that skier, since dubbed The Red Arrow, managed to tackle not one obstacle but two, it rather conveniently tied in to events taking place in the tournament room, where Michael Tureniec, fresh from a first EPT win in Copenhagen three weeks ago, attempted the same, bagging up 186,800 chips tonight, using that momentum from Denmark to rest for the night in third place.
But the Swede fell short of the overall lead, a position held by Vladimir Geshkenbein, from Russia, a former APPT High Roller winner, who beat the Swede to top spot at the bell, closing on a sizeable 253,700. That gives him the overall lead, some way ahead of the top man yesterday, Martins Adeniya who closed on 182,500.
Chip leader Vladimir Geshkenbein
In second is Philiop Meulyzer on 188,100, then Iulian Ruxandescu with 158,100. But regardless of that it will be on Day 2 that the genuine contenders will step forward and a day during which the real drama will unfold.
Thomas the Tank Engine finished with chips
While Day 1A may have punched at super welterweight, today’s heavyweight field would remind any sceptics how difficult it is to win an EPT title. No fewer than 14 former champions were in the field today, four of whom – Kevin MacPhee, Liv Boeree, Kevin Stani and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier (who arrived several hours late) – would find themselves at the same table. All but ElkY will return tomorrow, to join the likes of Salvatore Bonavena, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Anton Wigg.
The trouble table, with Luca Pagano at the far end
Elsewhere Team PokerStars Pros flourished, among them Luca Pagano (an 18th cash?), Florian Langmann, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Max Lykov, while their liveried brethren Sandra Naujoks, Dario Minieri, Lex Veldhuis and the De Meulder twins, would all be restricted to just outdoor pursuits, as are Alex Wice, Jeff Sarwer and Roberto Romanello.
Fatima Moreira de Melo
The field of 302 players reduced to just 166 today. They’ll join the 102 survivors of yesterday’s eight levels, with details of how they reached that point there for all to see, along with the odd video of how to spot a single Austrian girl, at the links below…
Coverage of all that has gone on today can be found in the potentially rival PokerStars Blogs written in German, Dutch, Italian and French. We have no way of knowing but we suspect the German one might be better than ours.
Thanks to photographer Neil Stoddart, who kept us up to our necks in pictures today, and finally thanks to the makers of the video, shown in tribute to the late Gianni Giaroni prior to the start this afternoon.
That’s all for Day 1 then. We’re back at 2pm local time tomorrow for Day 2 of EPT Snowfest.
Join us then.