Monday, December 21, 2015

Kjetil Jansrud Wins Parallel Giant Slalom On The Gran Risa

Today, the legendary Gran Risa slope was spectacularly illuminated for a new and further innovative Ski World Cup competition: the parallel giant slalom competition, which is now an official discipline of the FIS,
The 16 athletes from the WCSL of the giant slalom, the best 4 athletes of the WCSL-Overall and the best 12 athletes of the first run of Sunday 20th December were in a challenging race
The first of it’s kind on the World Cup, today’s PGS was full of surprises, with many pre-race favorites making early exits and a dark horse or two providing thrilling action in the new format.
Norwegians Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal had spent the last hour methodically picking off opponent after opponent on the modified Gran Risa slope. At the end, it was Jansrud who took his first victory of the season,
Third-place finisher Andre Myhrer of Sweden took the victory in the small final by a sizable margin over German surprise contender Dominik Schwaiger, whose best World Cup result before the night was 19th in the previous day’s GS. This result marks Myhrer’s first trip to the podium since his runner-up finish in the 2014 Adelboden slalom.
Surprisingly, many of the World Cup’s top GS skiers looked uncharacteristically sluggish on the relatively flat course, perhaps flustered by having a racer next to them or by two sizable mid-course jumps that quite literally threw almost every racer off line at one point in the night.
Marcel Hirscher, Ted Ligety, Felix Neureuther, and Henrik Kristoffersen were all knocked out in the first round. In fact, six of the top-seven finishers were seeded outside of the top-15, perhaps indicating that success in traditional GS is not indicative of success in the parallel format.
The entire event took under 90 minutes to complete, providing intense, spectator-friendly action in a reasonable amount of time compared to a traditional day-long ski race.
To make the Gran Risa slope suitable for the competition at night, works for 1.2 million euro in total have been done. The project has involved the establishment of 14 new light poles, each one 24 metres high, on the last 330 metres of the slope in order to meet the high standards of the FIS whilst minimizing the impact on the environment.
"We are particularly happy that this new race of international importance will be held this year. In 2015 we are also celebrating the 30th edition of the Ski World Cup in Alta Badia: this event has ensured enormous prestige to our entire valley, making it a household name and a popular ski resort in the world. This new competition is a further opportunity for us to show to the world the beauty and the diversity of our region", said Marcello Varallo, the President of the Ski World Cup Organizing Committee Alta Badia.
"Finally everything is arranged, thanks to the effort of everyone involved", said Sergio Tiezza, Manager and Director of the project. "In addition, we have completed an overall testing as well as a testing of the LED headlights, which have been positioned for emergencies in case of the absence of energy supply. All requirements for a perfect race are met".
For those curious as to how the FIS was able to make a fair race in a one run knockout format, Men’s World Cup Chief Race Director Markus Waldner provided details before the event.
"We measured everything with laser, especially the course setting and the basic course preparation", Waldner explained. "The slope has been prepared with a GPS-equipped snowcat, so that the snow and the shape of the terrain become very similar, and even equal. The course setting is also done by GPS and we manage to get really close. The difference between both courses is less than 1–2 centimeters".

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