Speed Climber Kendra Stritch Becomes First American UIAA World Cup Winner

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Speed Climber Kendra Stritch Becomes First American UIAA World Cup Winner

Bozeman, Mont. – (Dec. 19, 2014) – Last week marked the first time the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup was held in North America at the Bozeman Ice Festival, presented by Black Diamond Equipment. 

The Bozeman competition kicked off the 2015 World Cup and was the first of six events that make up the World Tour followed by Cheongsong (Korea), Saas Fee (Switzerland), Rabenstein (Italy), Champagny-en-Vanoise (France) and Kirov, Russia where the tour concludes on March 8, 2015. 

Unseasonably warm weather on Friday night didn’t stop crowds from gathering to cheer on the Speed final won by Nikolai Kuzovlov of Russia (Mens) and Kendra Stritch of the United States (Womens). Kuzovlov’s victory came after a series of crushing runs under six seconds with the final two runs being a 5.17 second and 5.43 run for a combined score of 10.6 seconds. He beat fellow Russian, Egor Trapeznikov in the finals. 

Stritch’s victory made history because she is the first North American to win a stage of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour, which she did in grand style with a 7.8 second run and a 8.2 second run for a combined score of 16.4 seconds. Previously in 2000 and before the competition was a UIAA sanctioned event, Kim Csizmazia a dual American-Canadian citizen and American Will Gadd won the overall World Cup title. 

Close to a thousand people descended on the grounds of the Emerson Cultural Center in downtown Bozeman on Saturday, December 13th to witness the Women's and Men’s Lead finals. Liudmila Badalyan and Maxim Tomilov were crowed Women's and Men’s Lead champions of the first stage of the 2015 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour.

"The amount of people working behind the scenes is phenomenal and it’s amazing how much the community has come to embrace the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup,” says Festival Director, Joe Josephson. "The town has adopted all these competitors and we can’t wait to see them back.”

The Bozeman Ice Festival (BIF) raises funds for Friends of Hyalite, the 501(c)3 parent organization of BIF dedicated to keeping nearby Hyalite Canyon Road open in winter. Since 2011, the Bozeman Ice Festival (BIF) has raised over $22,000 for Friends of Hyalite to help keep sections of the road open that would otherwise be gated. Gallatin County plowing crews operate under a voluntary agreement with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and Friends of Hyalite. Without road plowing in the winter, climbing, skiing and outdoor enthusiasts would have to walk or ski about 17 miles to access all that Hyalite Canyon has to offer.

For the full results and athlete rankings, please visit www.iceclimbingworldcup.org. To learn more about the Bozeman Ice Festival, visit www.bozemanicefest.com

About BIF and Friends of Hyalite
The Bozeman Ice Festival (BIF) presented by Black Diamond Equipment began in 1996 is dedicated to promoting and protecting the world-class ice and mixed climbing in Hyalite Canyon and also promoting Olympic-caliber competition. For more info, please visit bozemanicefest.com. Proceeds from BIF directly support Friends of Hyalite, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to funding winter road plowing in Hyalite Canyon, home to the longest season of accessible ice in America. For more info, please visit hyalite.org.

About the UIAA - International Climbing and Climbing Federation
The UIAA was founded in 1932 and has a global presence on five continents with 80 member associations in 50 countries representing 3 million people. The organization's mission is to promote the growth and protection of climbing and mountaineering worldwide, advance safe and ethical mountain practices and promote responsible access, culture and environmental protection. The UIAA is recognised by the International Olympic Committee for climbing and mountaineering.

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