Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mikaela Shiffrin and Linus Strasser Wins Stockholm City Event

It was a tale of two victories at tonight’s Parallel City Event in Stockholm, Sweden. On the men’s side, German Linus Strasser emerged as victor among a field loaded with the top names to claim his first-ever World Cup victory and podium. Meanwhile American tech ace Mikaela Shiffrin earned her 28th Audi FIS World Cup win and her 40th podium.
Linus Strasser, who was a late replacement for teammate Felix Neureuther, entered the competition with bib 15, setting up a tough first round match-up against Norwegian slalom king Henrik Kristoffersen. But Kristoffersen went down in the first round, just like his main slalom rival Marcel Hirscher (AUT), paving the way for the rest of the field. Strasser had yet another had test in the semi-finals against hometown hero Mattias Hargin, but he made it past that obstacle, much to the disappointment of the massive sell out crowd, to move onto the finals.
One last hurdle awaited Strasser, Frenchman Alexi Pinturault, who was his toughest match of the evening as the two matched each other turn for turn. In the end, Strasser edged Pinturault and skied away with his first World Cup win. Hargin ultimately finished third.
"I am here instead of Felix because of his knee and he said, ‘Come on, boy. That’s your chance. You’re in it to win it,’ and I took my chance", said Strasser. "Yeah, you know, it goes so fast, and then in the next moment you’re standing in the finals against Alexis Pinturault and that feels amazing. And then I thought, ‘Alright, now you’re in the final. Now, you have a chance to win it’ and yeah, so I did".
Mikaela Shiffrin had an equally difficult path to her win. In the first round, Shiffrin had to swerve to avoid a near collision with Adeline Baud Mugnier (FRA). After surviving that scare, Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) was Shiffrin’s next victim, setting up the semi-final showdown against crowd favorite Frida Hansdotter (SWE). Once again, the Swedish fans had to settle for the disappointment of seeing their favorite knocked out of the finals.
Shiffrin met Veronika Velez Zuzulova (SVK) in the final and continued to be flawless as she cruised to her first ever City Event victory. Additionally, Shiffrin picked up valuable points in the hunt for the overall World Cup title as her biggest competition Lara Gut (SUI) sat out tonight’s race. Nina Loeseth of Norway finished third.
"Yeah, I mean, it was a great show tonight. I think everybody enjoyed it. We could here you (the fans) screaming. It was really fun", said Shiffrin. "I trained a little bit of slalom and trained a little super-G in the same day and then I went and raced and the conditions there (Cortina) were perfect, so it was a great day to just go for it. Today, yeah, I don’t know, I just trained a little this morning, and tried to do it. I came here for a reason, so happy to get that crossed off the list".

Les Diablerets Launches Own Currency For The Renewal of Isenau's Gondola.

Since December 1, 2016, 50,000 Isenau coins– each worth CHF10 ($10) - have started to circulate in the local economy of the the mountain village of Les Diablerets alongside the Swiss franc. The "Fondation pour la défense des intérêts du domaine d'Isenau" launched the currency to help finance a replacement for the aging four-seater bubble lift in the Isenau area above the village. It was originally built in 1953. The foundation also wants to raise wider awareness about the future of the sunny south-facing mountain area, which is a favourite with beginners and families in winter, and hikers and mountain bikers in summer.
Residents and visitors in the mountain resort can invest in their cause by paying for local products and public services with Isenau money.Replacing the distinctive bubble lift has turned into a highly symbolic emotional battle for the small ski resort, whose population grows in winter from 1,400 to 10,000 thanks to many Swiss, British, French and Scandinavians visitors.
The fight to save Isenau has been going on for over six years, ever since canton Vaud established a moratorium on public funding for ski projects.In 2011, it was proposed to scrap the Isenau area largely for financial reasons, but locals fought back and in 2013 finally got Isenau’s renewal registered in the Vaudois Alps cantonal development plan.
But saving the lift and mountain area came with conditions: the merging of Les Diablerets tourist office with the one in neighbouring Villars as well as their ski lift companies, and for the local community to put their hands into their own pockets for the new cable car.
The foundation hopes the currency scheme will raise CHF 250,000 by April, 30th when it ends. The money will reimburse a municipal loan that forms part of the CHF 4 million the foundation is seeking from private donors. The lift company is responsible for the remaining CHF 9.5 million.
While the fundraising looks like it is on target, the Vaud government and parliament must still give a final green-light. And locals are concerned that a separate Les Diablerets ski lift project, suggested for the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games, could scupper the Isenau lift at the last minute.

The Project:
  • 38 cable cars with 8 seats each
  • 13 pylons of 15 to 30 metres hight (instead of 25 actually)
  • 1200 people per hour at a speed 6m/sec.
  • Travel time of 6,30 minuts
  • A new departure station 
  • an arrival station moved and modernized to provide easy access to the slopes and useful facilities.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Season Opener of the 2017 Freeride World Tour To Be Staged in Vallnord-Arcalís (Andorra)

In order to guarantee safe conditions for all competitors, event organizers have decided to reschedule the competition to take place alongside the second stop of the Freeride World Tour.
After careful assessment, local guides and event organizers have determined that due to safety concerns, the fifty-two competitors scheduled to open the season in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc will face off in Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra. Two competitions will take place at the Andorran ski resort during the event window from February 9-16.
FWT guides attempted to locate a competition face outside of the ski areas on a very remote venue only accessible by foot. Despite a sufficient quantity of snow in region, strong winds have eliminated every possible option for a competition on an out-of-bounds venue in safe snow conditions in the Mont Blanc Valley as well as potential neighboring venues.
Organizers accepted the fact that conditions were difficult in the mountains.
By hosting back-to-back events in Andorra, the FWT aims to guarantee three competitive stops before the first round of qualification cuts are made after Fieberbrunn, Austria.
Event organizers have combined events three times in the past ten years due to difficult snow conditions and/or safety concerns. The upcoming event will be the second time Vallnord-Arcalís hosts a combined contest due to the multiple options for competition sites situated around the ski resort.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Outstanding Victory for Marcel Hirscher in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Lately, the Giant Slalom is marked by a duel between Alexis Pinturault and Marcel Hirscher, the two racers sharing 13 wins in the last 16 races in that discipline. Today’s race on the Kandahar in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was a little different.It was a clear victory in the men’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Giant Slalom race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup men's Giant Slalom +1.50 ahead of Matts Olsson and +1.95 of Stefan Luitz.
Hirscher laid down two great runs (second in the first one and first in the second one) to claim his second Giant Slalom victory of the season. It was Hirscher’s 43rd career World Cup win. It was also his 20th Giant Slalom win. With his 20th victory in slalom claimed last week in Kitzbuehel, Hirscher became the second man to reach 20 World Cup wins in two different disciplines, feat achieved only by Ingemar Stenmark so far. Hirscher also made a big step forward in the Overall standings, where he is in the lead with 1260 points, followed by Kristoffersen with 828 points.
"For sure, I take this victory, and I’m super happy", Hirscher said. "It was a really tough racing day today here in Garmisch as all the races this weekend so far, and luckily, back on the podium in GS as well, and that is very good for today, and I’m already looking forward to Sweden".Surprising third after the first run, Sweden’s Matts Olsson confirmed his excellent shape in the second run and finished in second place. Coming back from an ACL injury contracted last season, Olsson is signing another strong result, after a 6th place in Adelboden. The Swede’s best result so far was 4th place in the Giant Slalom in St-Moritz 2014, so he will definitively be one to watch in the upcoming World Championships.
"First run, I had a great feeling from top to bottom", he shared. "Sure, I was a little bit surprised that I was third. Second run was, for sure, tougher from the conditions. It was bumpy. It was dark".Local Stefan Luitz delighted the crowd with his 4th career podium. Despite good and constant results last year and this season, the German didn’t manage to create the exploit and climb on the podium again since his third place in Are 2014. But something triggered in front of his home crowd and after a great performance in the first run (5th, +0.96 behind), Luitz managed to hold on to a podium placement and ranked third.

Ilka Stuhec Wins Super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Ilka Stuhec from Slovenia claim her 5th World Cup victory today in  Cortina d'Ampezzo. Sofia Goggia crossed the finished line 0.31 seconds behind. Joining them on the podium was Anna Veith 0.70 seconds back of the winner.
Stuhec selected bib 1 despite having the choice of three numbers in the draw the previous evening and had to watch every challenger come down and threaten her victory.
"I feel great", said Stuhec. "It was a great course and felt really, really good to ski so I'm definitely happy with the outcome. It was definitely stressful to stand here and watch everyone coming down, but it's part of the game. At the end, we need to ski fast and show our best no matter what course is set".
Sofia Goggia, meanwhile, was able to hit the reset button on her Super-G season after two previous disappointing performances, bit her run was not without a mishap where she nearly lost her line on the lower half of the track.
"It was not that easy coming from two DNFs in the last two Super-Gs, and I was happy when I crossed the finish line and saw I made another podium. It was really OK, even though my skiing performance was not pushing at 100 percent, but I think I skied from 75 to 80 percent of what I can do".
The surprise story of the day, of course, was Veith's third-place finish. who surprised herself on her comeback journey to score her first podium finish since the 2015 World Cup Finals giant slalom. Although she has posted fast splits in previous races, she has struggled to make it to the finish line.
"It's pretty emotional. When I came to the finish, I didn't expect that because I was seven-tenths behind and I didn't feel that it was that good of a run because it was very fast. I was fighting for a good position, and it wasn't so easy. Now, I'm pretty happy that all the work has paid off now and I'm on the right way. It's been pretty hard because I know that everybody knows how my skiing was before my injury and I'm not at that point now because my body isn't like how it was before. It was tough the last weeks because it was always fighting against myself. And today, I just wanted to ski fast and nothing more and I'm pretty happy that it paid off", said Veith.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hannes Reichelt Wins Downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

In the final downhill race before World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Austrian speedster Hannes Reichelt found the fall line and won the 12th World Cup race of his career.Hannes Reichelt takes his first World Cup win of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen followed by Italy's Peter Fill (+0.16) and Switzerland's Beat Feuz (+0.52).
After the challenging day of racing yesterday, the men knew the course was nothing to be trifled with.
Arguably, no one was hungrier to improve than Reichelt, who finished in fourth place on day one, just 0.07 seconds off of the podium. He took that motivation and turned it into a victory on a slope where he also won in 2015.
"Yesterday we were surprised by the high speed, but today we knew it would be even faster", the Austrian shared. "The only question mark was on the Kramer jump, but after inspection I could see that they worked on it, and I had a good feeling".
Reichelt is the first man to win a World Cup downhill with bib one since Italian Christof Innerhofer did so in Bormio in Dec. 2008. He said that he picked bib number one for a strategic reason.
"The run is pretty tough and spectacular, so I picked number one because I prefer not to see the others going down before me", he said. "The course also gets bumpier with every racer, so I would have picked an early number anyway".
Behind him was Peter Fill. Despite not taking the win, it was a great day for the Italian, who took the lead in the downhill standings thanks to his second-place result. His 279-point total puts him 32 points ahead of Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud.
"I feel really good", Fill shared. "My skiing is really nice. It’s all easy, and I’m fast. Now, we go to the World Championships. I’m in a good shape, and I hope to go fast also there".
Feuz made his return to the World Cup Downhill podium for the first time since winning in St. Moritz last March, coming in third. The Swiss athlete will be one to watch for the World Championship race early next month as he competes in front of a home crowd.

Lara Gut Takes Victory in Cortina Downhill

Lara Gut raced to her career 23th World Cup victory today. Gut timed 1:37.01 down the Olympia delle Tofane course in the majestic Italian Dolomites to lead Italy’s Sofia Goggia by 0.05 and Slovenian's Ilka Stuhec by 0.47 seconds.
The Olimpia delle Tofane slope in Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most spectacular settings on the World Cup, surrounded by the jagged Dolomites and atop a gorgeous town.
Swiss Lara Gut claimed her first downhill victory of the season and seventh of her career at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, propelling her to within 30 points of Mikaela Shiffrin in the race for the overall title.
"The top wasn't really clean and I didn't trust myself to push 100 percent on the skis, so after the second split I really had the feeling that I had to change something. I tried to ski a little bit smoother and it worked out. I'm happy. I knew that if I did what I can, I could be really fast", Gut said with a smile.
Runner-up Sofia Goggia was fighting to get back on the podium streak she started early in the season.
"I think I made a great performance today in the downhill. I'm pretty happy with my skiing but still a little bittersweet for the last interval. But still, it's really OK. I'm trying to push every race close to my limits. It's ok when you try and fail, the important thing is not to lose the confidence you have earned during the season", Goggia reflected.
Downhill standings leader Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia also recorded a podium result for the first time since December in Val d’Isere.
"My run felt OK, not perfect, because I know that I made some mistakes and lost some time. That's why I'm not winning, I guess. But for sure, it's a beautiful day to ski. And here is always very, very nice because we've done two trainings and a race and there is no track in the snow – no nothing – so it is perfect, and I love it", Stuhec said.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Travis Ganong Wins Downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Friday’s race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, was a make-up race for the canceled men’s competition in Wengen, Switzerland, and meant that the athletes only took one training run on the formidable slope. The schedule shake-up seems to have suited the U.S. Ski Team’s Travis Ganong as he took the win with a final time of 1:53.71, 0.38 seconds ahead of Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud and 0.52 seconds ahead of Italian Peter Fill.
The Kandahar course was relentless. Covered in dark shadows, the men were challenged to ski technical sections and handle the changing terrain as well as the demanding jumps. More than one athlete was helicoptered off the hill, falling victim to the mountain’s might. It’s exactly the type of slope that played to the winner’s strengths.
Travis Ganong’s success makes a lot of sense when you consider his knack for tackling dark, shadowy slopes. His only other World Cup win was in Santa Caterina, Italy, in 2014, which is an equally challenging venue. It's the first time, an American racer won the Kandahar downhill in Garmisch.
"I think it was so difficult because we only had one training run, and during the training, it was really slow. Everything skied really easy, and everyone kind of relaxed like ‘Oh, this is really easy,’ and then today, the speeds were way faster", he explained. "…They injected a section for the giant slalom race on Sunday, but they didn’t inject the whole course, so you’d hit that little patch of ice on every turn and accelerate, and I think that was a big issue today. Also, people pushing really hard, and turning off jumps. That’s never a good thing to have your ski bent when you go off a jump, and you could see that on the jump there at the bottom. It was throwing people all over the place, and it was really big
More familiar to the World Cup podium is Kjetil Jansrud, who has been in the mix six times this season in three different disciplines.
"I have to be satisfied now, coming in from Kitzbuehel", Jansurd said. "It was bad weekend for me with a lot of mistakes, and today I made mistakes, too, but a lot of people does, and I think the only one that didn’t was Travis and his win’s well deserved".
This result puts Jansrud in the lead in the men’s downhill standings with 202 points, eking out a three-point lead over the day’s third-place finisher, Fill. The Italian, who won the 2016 World Cup downhill globe, has had one other downhill podium finish this season, earning second place in Val d’Isere, France. He was not completely satisfied with his run, though he was happy to be on the podium.
"I made a big mistake in the lower part and lost a lot of time there, but today was not easy", Fill said. "A lot of guys was having trouble around the course, and it was really not an easy run".

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Henrik Kristoffersen Wins Night Slalom in Schladming

One year later. same podium. As usually on the Tuesday after Kitzbuehel, Schladming stages his traditional Night Slalom. More than 50’000 people were present to cheer for the skiers that kicked off the start gate today.
Henrik Kristoffersen takes his 6th season win at Schladming-Dachstein followed by Marcel Hirscher +0.09 back and Aleksandr Khoroshilov +0.63 off of the Norwegian’s pace.
After leading the first run, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen was able to hold on to his lead and won his 14th career slalom win. Despite an unsettled second run, where he clocked only the 7th time, last year’s globe winner was able to raise up the level and cross the finish line as a three times winner at the Night Race in Schladming, a feat only achieved by Benjamin Raich (4 wins) so far. This win is even more important for the Norwegian, as he skied out for the first time in 21 slaloms in Kitzbuehel two days ago.
"I actually did not know that the finish bridge lights up green when you're in front and red when you're behind. My teammate Sebastian (Foss-Solevaag) told me this summer. Before the second run, I was like, 'Don't look at it! Don't look at it!' I came through the last split and was like, 'I gotta look! No! it's red, I gotta go!' So I was a little stressed, but I think I charged it at the bottom there so it was pretty good".
For the 9th time this season, second place goes to Marcel Hirscher. The Austrian attacked the second run and claimed the best time in every second split to end up with a solid lead. However, even if the gap between the two slalom dominators is getting smaller, Hirscher had the feeling that it would be enough for the win.
"I knew it exactly when I crossed the finish line that the last fifteen gates were not good. I was too shy, not enough to go one-hundred percent of risk through the last fifteen gates. It's my personal mistake, but better eighty points in the books than zero points for today. I'm getting closer to Henrik, that it good and he deserved it anyways and skied excellent".
Alexander Khoroshilov claims another podium placement, the 9th in career and the 3rd this season. The winner of the Night Race 2015 has a special story with this hill and had a delay in his summer preparation, so he is particularly happy to be on the podium again here.
"I really love this hill. It's almost for me like a home race because we are spending a lot of time here and in Reiteralm so I really feel like it's at home. The crowd here gives you so much energy while you ski down, it's awesome. Before the first World Cup, I was a little bit injured so I started to ski pretty late before Levi -- two or three days -- and then I started to train a little bit with Dave (Ryding) and we started to push each other and then I could see how fast I am".

Federica Brignone Wins World Cup Giant Slalom in Kronplatz

For the first time ever, Kronplatz, Italy, hosted a World Cup on Tuesday, becoming the 23rd Italian resort to do so. The technically demanding ERTA piste with a downward slope of 61 percent at its steepest point challenged the ladies in the Kronplatz giant slalom to ski a clean line.
Federica Brignone of Italy led the charge, winning with a combined time of 2:10.05. She was joined on the podium by current GS standings leader Tessa Worley and her teammate Marta Bassino, who were 0.55 and 0.57 seconds off the winning pace, respectively.
Federica Brignone was the first Italian woman to win a GS on home snow in a decade, as Karen Putzer was the last to do so in January 2007 in Cortina d’Ampezzo.Brignone won the first run, and she was able to expand on that lead in the second to take a win in front of her fellow countrymen. The Italian, whose other World Cup Giant Slalom victory was at Soelden in 2015, believes that steep hills like this play to her strengths–mostly because they scare her.
"When it’s tough, I just try to do my skiing because I’m already preoccupied on how to do the slope, so then I like the ice and today was icy", Brignone said. "So, I just tried my best really to make every turn after every turn, but in the second run, I felt awful and then, I don’t know if you saw me, but I crossed the finish line and said, ‘No, no. It’s never gonna work.’ And then I saw one, and it was amazing. It was incredible".
Her winning margin, which was just over half a second, surprised Brignone, but her competition knew she was skiing well. The lone Frenchwoman in the top 30 was happy with second place behind the Italian.
"It’s another podium", Worley said. "It’s another second place, and Federica really skied so well this last part, and I had a tough time over there, but I mean I fight it ‘til the end and it was totally worth it, so happy with second place".
Rounding out the podium in third was Marta Bassino, who has podiumed at Soelden before just like Brignone, but doing it in Italy, in front of a home crowd, is a bit more special.
"It’s a dream in Italy with all these people", Bassino shared. "It’s amazing".

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Marcel Hirscher Wins Hahnenkamm Slalom

Another amazing day concluded the Hahnenkamm race week in Kitzbuehel, with a thrilling slalom on the Ganslern course. Marcel Hirscher earned his 20th slalom win ahead of Great Britain’s Dave Ryding and Russia’s Alexander Khoroshilov.
The challenging course saw a bunch of top athletes putting an early end to their chase for podium placements, as for example Henrik Kristoffersen, Manfred Moelgg, André Myhrer didn’t make it to the finish line. The door was now wide open for the other athletes, and Great Britain’s Dave Ryding created the surprise by setting the fastest time of first run.
Only 9th in the first leg, +1.02 seconds off the pace, Austira’s Marcel Hirscher knew he had to push the limits in the second run. Especially as it was clear that Kristoffersen wouldn’t score points on that day. So he risked it all and laid down the best performance in every single section of the course, to finally claim his 20th slalom win in career and a second “Goldene Gams” after his win in 2013 in Kitzbuehel.
"You know, after the first run, that was for sure not what I was looking for. So often in this season so far, the first runs are not my best ones, maybe too much thinking of making points (for the overall). I don't know. Between the runs, I was thinking about what I can do to be faster in the second run. At the end, it was the complete trust in myself to take the risk. Before second run, we discussed it; take the risk, it doesn't matter if I ski out or not. It is racing and not a tactical game".
By topping the first run, Dave Ryding proved that he is ready for his first career podium and close to write history for Great Britain, as no British skier has ever won a World Cup race and the last podium goes back to 1981. He was able to stay focused and to repeat a fantastic performance in the second run, claiming his best career result (previously a 6th place in Levi at the beginning of the season).
"I never even dreamed it. It's so far beyond my dream that it's just like, 'Is this really happening? Am I really doing this in Kitzbuehel, of all places?' It's incredible, I'm speechless. Crossing the line, I couldn't believe it; it was just so cool that it really happened. Coming down into second felt like a win. I had two runs where I really did exactly what I wanted. I just hope it inspires a whole generation now and we can take from this, like, it's been so long since a Brit was in the top ten -- never mind a podium. All the Brits out there, it's time to go and we can do it".
The third place goes to Russia’s Alexander Khoroshilov, who earns his second podium this season (after his 3rd place in Val d’Isère) and his eight podium in career. So far, the Schladming winner of 2015 had never been on the podium on the Kitzbueheler Ganslernhang and his particularly happy to finally achieve this feat this year.
"I've had some injuries before, but now I am in good shape. I am really happy to be on the podium every time and it's amazing, especially in Kitzbuehel. It's a quite difficult slope and also, you need some experience to ski fast here. I think it's almost impossible to beat Marcel, he is really fast. Every time second run he is pushing like hell. I tried also, but I made some mistakes on the top, so it was not easy to catch him. Congrats to him and especially Dave also".

Lara Gut Wins Third Consecutive Super-G

Lara Gut won the third Super-G race of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Stephanie Venier came in second +0.67 behind and Tina Weirather took third +0.85 seconds out.
Coming into the finish area, Gut shook her head, an indication that she did not feel her run was good enough to hold onto the lead.
"Our coaches set the Super-G, and it was, for sure, more difficult than usually", Gut said. "Lake Louise was really an easy super-G and in Val d’Isere, we had a lot of space between the gates, and here it was again more technical. I had to ski with my head, and I wasn’t so clean on my lines and not even on the ski. I had the feeling where it was turny in the middle part that I should have skied more on my skis and not just a passenger of my skis, so I wasn’t really satisfied about that".
With this victory, Gut becomes one of only four women ever to win the first three super-Gs of the season and marks her 11th World Cup super-G win. She currently leads the super-G standings with 300 points while Weirather sits in second with 220 points. This win is also crucial in Gut’s efforts to close the gap between her and the U.S. Ski Team’s Mikaela Shiffrin in the overall standings. Gut now has 873 points, 135 points behind the American.
Behind Lara Gut was Venier, making her debut on the World Cup podium. The 23-year-old skier’s best result until Sunday was sixth place in Val d’Isere, France, this December.
"Everything is special", she shared. "I’m on the podium, and it’s great, and it’s feeling so good, and I’m so happy".
The Austrian continued to say that she knew she had the skills to make the podium even though she was a bit surprised with her result, and her next goal is to take the win.
Tina Weirather has also shown consistency in super-G this season, landing on the podium in every race so far.
"Today, I really didn’t feel like it was going to be a good result when I crossed the finish line, but I think it’s just my super-G skiing is by far my best discipline right now, so I don’t need to have a perfect run to be further ahead than in downhill, for example, where I ski great and sometimes I end up 10th or something", she said.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dominik Paris Wins Hahnenkamm Downhill

Kitzbuehel 2017 has its downhill winner, and his name is Dominik Paris. Dominik Paris who emerged victorious with a winning time of 1:55.01 seconds, beating out a pair of Frenchmen with Valentin Giraud Moine in second, 0.21 seconds back, and Johan Clarey in third, 0.33 seconds off the pace.
It was a fantastic day on the Streif in Kitzbuehel! The course presented itself in a perfect shape, the weather allowed to start from the very top with a bright sunshine and approximately 50’000 spectators came to watch the show on site. With a relatively early start number of nine, Paris charged the notoriously icy track and risked it all on the bottom sections of the Hausberg and traverse in order to take the lead and hold it through many tough challengers, particularly that of Swiss racer Beat Feuz, who was well ahead of Paris at the Hausberg before getting a little too ambitious on the traverse and finding himself in the net.
And as in 2013, Dominik Paris is the one standing at the very top of the podium.
"To win twice at the Hahnenkamm is an incredibly special and brilliant experience. I was lucky today, as some of my competitors didn’t handle the Hausberg section as well as I did – that is what decided the race at the end of the day. Let’s see if we can top the party of 2013".
In second place, Valentin Giraud Moine surprised everyone and confirmed his talent on one of the toughest course in the world. The 24 years old skier was in the spotlight in Kvitfjell last year, where he skied to second position, and the 4th place in the second training was definitively a hint for his excellent feeling on the Streif.
"I felt confident after the summer. I was not very lucky at the start of the season but now is is paying off and I am really happy to make a good run today and I am really, really, happy to make it here in Kitzbuehel. It's the most dangerous race in the world and it's incredible to be here".
His teammate Johan Clarey has more experience already, as he has been on the circuit for twelve years already and mastered the Streif eight times. So much experience, that he even considered retiring with three career podiums in Kvitfjell (2nd in 2014) and Val Gardena (3rd in 2013 and 2009).
"I've had some good results here; I was fourth last year and fifth a few years ago. I said to myself last year when I was fourth, 'You have to be on the podium.' I was almost retired at the end of last season and I said to myself that I have to do one more season to live Kitzbuehel again and weeks like this and now I'm on the podium. I'm speechless. We are two French on the podium, it's the best day I have lived on the World Cup circus".

Lindsey Vonn Wins Downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Lindsey Vonn proved to herself that she is still capable of collecting wins by posting the fasting run of the day at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 0.15 seconds quicker than Swiss Lara Gut in second and 0.48 seconds speedier than home crowd favorite Viktoria Rebensburg in third.
This World Cup victory, the 77th in Vonn's career, came a day after she struggled in the training run on the slope and missed what proved to be a critical gate to her success the following day.
"I didn’t really try very hard to make the gate yesterday. So I knew as long as I stood on it and I gave myself a little bit of extra room just so that I carried the speed through that section. It wasn’t really in my head too much", Vonn said. She teared up in the finish area immediately after seeing the green light. "It feels amazing. I just got to the bottom, and I cried. Worked really hard to come back and you know, I feel like sometimes I come back so quickly, everyone forgets how much time and energy, blood, sweat and tears it takes to come back without any training and just jump in there. And I had to trust myself and my team and my technician, and we all did our best and today was just amazing".
In Vonn's return to competition in Zauchensee, Austria, she finished 13th.
"I’m so happy, but it only took me two races to get back on the top step. I mean, honestly, I wasn’t sure after Zauchensee how long it would take me and I proved to myself today that all the work that I put in is really coming through", she concluded.
Although Lara Gut had a slight mistake toward the bottom of the course, she was glad to pull off the close second-place finish, further demonstrating her podium consistency this season. It was the first Downhill podium of her career at the German resort.
"I’m pretty happy because I know I can be close to the win all the time if I ski the way I can", Gut noted.
The German crowd was awed by Viktoria Rebensburg's return to the Downhill podium for the first time in a year, since the Garmisch-Partenkirchen race last season when she also finished third.
"I knew from the training that I felt pretty well down there, but the run didn’t feel that great beause I think it was faster than yesterday. So the turns were pushing way more than yesterday also. Then, I thought, I’m really down, but it was fast, I tried to keep the skis running, and yeah, I’m pretty happy about it", Rebensburg said. "I mean it’s always so nice to be on the podium. For sure, it’s been quite a while in downhill. I think it was maybe a year last time. I don’t know. So it’s super to be up on the podium again. For sure, now we [are at the] end of January, so I think it’s a good time also to be on the podium".
Rebensburg added that she hopes to carry this momentum into the upcoming FIS Alpine World Ski Championships which will be held in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, in February.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Matthias Mayer Wins Kitzbühel Super-G

The 77th edition of the Hahnenkammrennen officially kicked off in Kitzbuehel with a Super-G held on the legendary Streif today. Matthias Maier clocked the fastest time, followed by Christof Innerhorfer in second and Beat Feuz in third.
Austria has been waiting for a super-g win at Kitzubehel for six years now and today Olympic Champion Matthias Mayer put an end to this drought. Getting his second super-g win in Kitzbuehel, where he already podiumed in this discipline in 2015, is a dream come true for the 27 year old skier from Gerlitzen – Kaernten.
"It’s a childhood dream come true, and I feel so happy at the moment,” said the 2014 Olympic downhill champion. “I’ve had a tough season so far. It was not easy for me after my crash last year in Val Gardena. I was fighting very hard. Now, I feel free. I was not thinking at the start. I just tried to push hard and give everything and that’s it at the moment. I’m happy!. After already taking two silver Gams trophies home, I am delighted they have now been given a golden brother".
With bib number 8, Christof Innerhofer is the surprise guest of this podium. In addition to early season struggles (best placement is a 10th place in Super-G in Val Gardena), the South Tyrolean crashed in Santa Caterina and had to sit out the following races in Wengen due to strong knee pain. He came to Kitzbuehel with the intention to try his best, but without high expectations. This ended up making his day and his second place in the Kitzbuehel super-g even more pleasurable.
"An unbelievable day. Not even I thought I would end up on the winner’s podium today, because I wasn’t sure if I could compete at all after my injury. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t give it too much head space".
Beat Feuz crossed the finish line in pole position thanks to a strong performance especially in the Hausberg Traverse, that allowed him to carry down his speed all the way to the finish. After finishing last years’ Super-G season with a win in St. Moritz and a 6th position in the cup standing, The Swiss skier failed to perform at its best in super-g so far, finishing 6th, 14th and 11th. This podium in Kitzbuehel, his 3rd in career (2nd in AC in 2012, 2nd in DH in 2016, 3rd in SG in 2017) gives him the confidence he needed.
"I have three Gams trophies at home now. I am certainly not planning to complain about it not being a gold one again. The Hausbergkante was the deciding section of today’s race".

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup in Saas Fee, Switzerland

Next weekend, 20-21 January 2017, Saas-Fee will once again play host to the Ice Climbing World Cup. This year the famous week-long iceclimbing event will be even more spectacular thanks to new climbing features.
The car-free alpine village of Saas Fee with its unique competition wall inside a circular car park at the edge of town is set against the spectacular backdrop of the towering Swiss Alps. It is also one of the oldest and liveliest stops on the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup.
From next Saturday, ice-climbing freaks from across the globe will once again flock to Saas-Fee. A programme of action-packed sporting events and legendary ice-climbing parties in the multi-storey car park.
The ice climbing competitions in the park of Saas-Fee are an excellent opportunity national and international athletes and the lively atmosphere of theice climbing scene to witness first hand! The competitions will take place in a special, unique location, so surely there is no more second time. The 10-storey car park in Saas-Fee, where the competitions can take place regardless of weather, with its roundabout provides a great backdrop audience.

The disciplines: Lead and Speed

In Lead climbing, competitors have to master a long, difficult and unfamiliar route in a given amount of time. Routes can be anything up to 35 metres in height. Besides the ice wall itself, climbers must contend with obstacles such as overhangs, hanging ice blocks and tricky rock sections. Ice climbers consider this discipline the ultimate challenge. The winner is the competitor who covers the greatest distance in the allotted time. One way of measuring this is by counting the number of carabiners that the climbers manage to clip the rope through.
As its name suggests, the competition’s second discipline is all about speed. As soon as the starting barrier falls, the competitors leap onto the 15-metre vertical wall of ice and scramble to the top at a breath-taking pace – just like Spiderman! Top athletes can complete the course in an incredible 13 seconds. Since 2012 this discipline is run in parallel.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The aim is to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.

The #IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:

(1) Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

(2) Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction

(3) Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change

(4) Cultural values, diversity and heritage

(5) Mutual understanding, peace and security.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, has been mandated to facilitate the organization and implementation of the International Year, in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders.

Launch Ceremony of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Presentation of the Campaign Travel. Enjoy. Respect.
18 January 2017 (12.30-14.30) Auditorio Norte, IFEMA/FITUR, Madrid, Spain

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Henrik Kristoffersen Wins Wengen Slalom

Kristoffersen continued his streak of classic slalom victories on Sunday by taking the win in Wengen, Switzerland, with a combined time of 1:43.31 seconds. Austrian Marcel Hirscher was hot on Kristoffersen’s heels in second, a slim 0.15 seconds back, and Germany’s Felix Neureuther rounded out the podium in third, 0.63 seconds off of the Norwegian’s pace.
After leading the first run, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen was able to hold on to his lead and won his 13th career slalom win. The slalom prince already took the win last year in Wengen, but due to lack of snow, the course was set on the downhill track, which has a complete different profile.
Heavy snowfall prevented the organisers from holding the traditional Lauberhorn Downhill on Saturday, but today the weather was kinder and allowed a fantastic show on the original Wengen slalom hill.
"My run was not perfect today", said Kristoffersen, "but I’m really happy to come away with a win here today with how the course setting was, so it was a good day for sure. Today was a little bit more difficult with the course being so fast and straight; I like it a little bit more when it’s turnier and a bit more difficult".
Marcel Hirscher, who was in fourth place after the first run, +0.56 behind, had to push hard in the second run and managed to grab second place.
"It is definitely a day where I can say I’m happy with eighty more points in the books", he explained. "I’m happy with the result and the skiing was not too bad, two solid runs, especially in the second run. It is maybe a half meter of difference with the time, and there is always this kind of battle between Henrik and the rest of the world and for sure, we are searching and fighting to beat Henrik because he is definitely the fastest man on earth on slalom skis".
Germany’s Felix Neureuther finished third and his constant performances allowed him to close the gap that separated him in the season slalom standings, as he is now just over 100 behind Manfred Moelgg, who finished eighth today.
"I had two did not finishes at the end of 2016, so I wasn’t that confident in the new year, so it was very important for me to be on the podium here again. I have three good results now in the new year, and Kitzbuehel and Schladming are next, so I really look forward to that", said Neureuther. "If I ski in the first run like I did in the second run, then it’s possible (to catch Kristoffersen). I wasn’t happy with my first run, I skied very passive. When you are racing against Henrik or Marcel, you can’t do any mistakes because you have no chance".
Before this race in Wengen, Kristoffersen and Hirscher were tied in the season slalom standings. Mid season, the Norwegian is 20 points ahead of the Austrian. With Kitzbuehel, Schladming, Stockholm and Aspen coming up, the battle for the small globe promises to be exciting.

Christine Scheyer Wins Downhill in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee

Austria’s Christine Scheyer charged from bib 25 to take the lead with a time of 1:21.15, 0.39 seconds ahead of Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather. Skiing down just after Scheyer with bib 26, American Jacqueline Wiles rounded out the podium in third.
Christine Scheyer had only ever stood on a European Cup podium twice and competed in a total of three World Cup downhill races prior to the day. But she had scored in all three, with a best result of ninth in Val d'Isere, and she knew she had the potential to be somewhat fast, at least within the top 10.
"No, not that fast," she replied when asked if she knew she had winning speed. "I was fast in training, but this is amazing. ... It's great to be proud. And if an Austrian wins, I think it's the best that can happen".
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was holding down the leader box when Scheyer overtook her, but she was still thrilled to finish the day in second place.
"It was amazing because at the start, I knew that Lara was leading and I was like, ‘Well, this could be a revival of the Junior World Champs where I won seven hundredths in front of her.' So I was trying to believe that I could win", Weirather said. "I knew it was going to be tricky just because the light changes and also Scheyer was so fast in training that I knew that she was going to be a tough one. And she did really well, so that's fine. I haven't been on the downhill podium in almost two years, so it still feels great".
Scheyer was joined on the podium in third by another first-timer, Jacqueline Wiles of the U.S. Ski Team, whose previous best downhill result was 15th and super-G 10th. Wiles made her World Cup debut in 2013 and has been working toward a career result over the past few seasons.
"You dream of it. But for it to actually happen, you know, it’s unreal", she said of her podium finish. "After a tough start to the season – of so many expectations falling flat – I really needed this, and it couldn’t have come at a better time".

Friday, January 13, 2017

Niels Hintermann Wins Alpine Combined in Wengen

It was one surprise after another in the men’s World Cup alpine combined in Wengen, Switzerland, on Friday as the home crowd was treated to a Swiss winner. 22-year-old Niels Hintermann came out of nowhere with bib 51 to take the win with a combined time of 2:56.58 seconds. Joining Hintermann on the podium were two other outsiders as France’s Maxence Muzaton finished in second from bib 32 and Austria’s Frederic Berthold was third from bib 39, 0.26 and 0.35 seconds back, respectively.
For Niels Hintermann, whose previous best World Cup finish was 21st in the 2016 Chamonix downhill, the day was something special, but the young Swiss recognized his stroke of luck to climb on top of the podium.
"I’m not that experienced in winning races, so I have no idea what’s upcoming now", he explained in the finish. "I felt good during the slalom race, I really liked it. It was tough to drive because it was pretty steep and the rollers were pretty intense … (in the downhill) the weather seemed to make a little turn, lucky for me, after me it started snowing pretty heavy again and now I’m here winning my first World Cup".
Maxence Muzaton admitted that the only reason he was racing the combined in Wengen was to get an extra run on the downhill track ahead of Saturday’s race.
"It’s an amazing day", the Frenchman said. "I never expected to be on the podium at the end, but we make an outdoor sport and today, conditions were more in my turn, so I’m happy with that. My first goal this season was the downhill. I decided to make this alpine combined only to make some speed turns. It’s pretty amazing".
For Austria’s Frederic Berthold, he also did not fancy his chances to start the day and was just as surprised as his podium-mates at the way the day turned out.
"At first, it was a very difficult slalom in the morning", said Berthold. "I tried to do a solid run, and I finished 22nd and had a good number for the downhill. The conditions got always worse, and I can’t realize that it ended with me on the podium now".
Also of note was Croatian star and 2011 overall World Cup champion Ivica Kostelic announcing that Friday’s 22nd-place finish will be his last World Cup race. The Croatian has suffered tremendous knee pain in recent years and has flirted with retirement for several seasons before finally deciding to hang up his skis.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Lauberhorn Races (Wengen, Switzerland)

The 87th International Lauberhorn Races will take place next weekend in Wengen, Switzerland.
As part of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup this is taking place from January 13th to 15th with three events, a Super Combination, a Downhill and a Slalom races. The International Lauberhorn races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the "Five" Downhill classic sites in the Alps: Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA). The 1st International Lauberhorn Race Wengen took place in 1930. On November 28, 1929 along with the co-founders of the Swiss Academic Ski Club (SAS) in Berne Ernst Gertsch signed the founding document of the Lauberhorn Race. After the pioneering years (from 1924), with this race the wonderful story of Alpine ski racing really began to unfold. A story that is marked, to a large extent, by Arnold Lunn and Ernst Gertsch who guided it through many perils. It was long, difficult and often bumpy road.

On Saturday January 14th - 1967 the first ever men’s World Cup downhill took place on the majestic and nearly endless Lauberhorn run dominated by some of the most impressive alpine peaks in Switzerland – the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau - which dominate the valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen and attract each year hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.
Together with the legendary Arlberg-Kandahar races, the Grand-Prix Emile Allais at Megève or the Hahnenkamm, the Lauberhorn event already represented one of the most prominent international highlights in the alpine season – also because it took place in a region considered by experts as one of the cradles of alpine ski racing in the Alps.Wengen (1274 m) is a car free resort located on a sheltered, sun-soaked terrace, 400 metres above the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley. The fantastic surrounding scenery is dominated by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau massif. The holiday destination of Wengen is situated in the in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, 18 kilometres from Interlaken, the Lakes of Thun and Brienz, and close to the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn. The Jungfrau Region Ski Paradise offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes in three different ski areas: Grindelwald-First, Wengen (Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen) and Mürren-Schilthorn, with its revolving Piz Gloria Restaurant, made world-famous by the James Bond film On her Majesty's Secret Service offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes.

Updated program

Friday, January 13th 2017
10:30/14:00 CET Men's Alpine Combined (Downhill and Slalom)

Saturday, January 14th 2017 

12:30 CET TBC Men's Downhill

Sunday, January 15th 2017

10:30/13:30 CET Men's Slalom

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Frida Hansdotter Wins World Cup Slalom in Flachau

In Flachau, Austria, Frida Hansdotter took the fourth World Cup win of her career. She finished with a combined time of 1:51.40. Hansdotter, who has been on the podium in the last six slalom races in Flachau, loves the night slalom ambiance.
"It’s the night atmosphere", she shared. "I think night slalom is so fun, and the crowd, you can see it from the start. It’s so much fun for racing".
The Swede laid down a head-turning first run.
"No, actually I didn’t know it was that fast, but for sure I felt I had a good run. But I got a little bit scared when in the banana [delay gate] because I hooked a little bit the skis. I was like ‘Oh no!’ I didn’t get that speed over the last roller. But it was really good, so I’m satisfied", Hansdotter said after finishing the turny first-run course set with a nearly one-second advantage over Wendy Holdener. "Actually, I’m better when it’s a little bit straighter because I get more speed in, but I for sure saw it in inspection that you really need to work it every gate. So that was my only goal, so maybe that’s the secret".
In second place was Norwegian tech skier Nina Loeseth, earning her sixth career World Cup podium and her first since she earned second place in the giant slalom at Killington earlier this season.
"I kind of thought, ‘It’s all or nothing. It’s kill or be killed here,’ because it was a pretty easy course, and I felt pretty strong", said the Attacking Viking. "It was pretty intimidating, the strong girls that were starting behind me or before me in the second run, so that’s why I probably was super excited when I saw that green light".
Mikaela Shiffrin ended the day in third place, 0.78 seconds behind Hansdotter’s winning pace and tied with Holdener.
"It felt a lot better the second run", Shiffrin said. "For sure, I was disappointed with my first run, but to be honest, I try to learn from it. I really, really enjoyed watching Frida ski today. It was incredible, and it looked like she had fun and I’m really happy for her".
Wendy Holdener, who tied with Shiffrin for third place, has been a regular on the slalom podium this season, earning either second or third place in all, but one slalom when she DNF.
"It’s really exciting because a lot of girls can stand on the podium and it makes it hard for us because you have to push and go to see the green light in the finish" said Holdener, who has now collected six podiums this season in slalom but has yet to win. "I hope you will [see my best skiing] because I have a little better skiing in my bag, so hopefully I can show it".

Monday, January 9, 2017

European Mountain Travel Summit. Crans Montana, Switzerland

The European Mountain Travel Summit is a global leadership forum produced by Mountain Travel Symposium.
Northstar Travel Group (the parent company of TravelAge West) signed a partnership with the Swiss National Tourist Office and Swiss ski resort Crans Montana to support the launch of Europe Mountain Travel Summit.
This exclusive mountain travel industry event brings together over 200 senior executives for two days of networking and learning in one of the most exceptional resorts in the world.
The Summit content features market research, strategic marketing, best practices and trends - all focused on the mountain travel industry.
This international event provides an invaluable platform for attendee interaction, learning and networking, and includes pre-and-post Alpine skiing excursions in the world's best resorts.
"We are thrilled about the launch of the European Mountain Travel Summit. Extending Mountain Travel Symposium’s reach internationally is a natural progression for Northstar as we continue global expansion with our brands and events", said Bob Sullivan, President of Northstar Travel Group. "Our goal is to bring together senior leaders to discuss critical issues and challenges within the mountain travel industry, bring about solutions and, in turn, make the industry more successful".
"What is exceptionally innovative about European Mountain Travel Summit is fourfold", said Michael J. Pierson, Managing Director of Mountain Travel Symposium and European Mountain Travel Summit. "First, the exclusive nature of our attendees: C-level and senior marketing executives. Second, our global perspective. Third, our content: focused on market research, strategic marketing and best practices and trends — both worldwide and on a strategic level. And fourth, our education and networking".

European Mountain Travel Summit is the first expansion of Mountain Travel Symposium, which is now in its 42nd year. Mountain Travel Symposium gathers representatives from more than 35 countries to establish relationships, build their businesses and create a stronger mountain business community.
The inaugural event will take place at Crans Montana, one of the leading mountain resorts in Switzerland. Crans Montana is located at an altitude of 1,500 meters on a south-facing plateau, in front of the panorama of the Valais Alps.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Henrik Kristoffersen Wins World Cup Slalom in Adelboden

The slalom season is in full swing in January, with the 5th race of the season being held on the traditional Chuenisbärgli in Adelboden.
Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen took his second slalom win in a row at the venue with a combined time of 1:54.87 seconds. Italy’s Manfred Moelgg continued his strong slalom skiing this season, landing in second place, albeit a massive 1.83 seconds behind the Norwegian. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher fought his way to a third-place finish, 2.19 seconds off the pace.
Henrik Kristoffersen  +1.83 advantage over his main contenders, which is the biggest gap in slalom since 2002, and claims his 12th podium, including 9 wins, in the 14 last races he participated in.
"This was really good. This was really cool. I had a bit of luck with the light in the first run, but I don't think I had luck with the skiing. In the second run, even though it was tough, I still did really good. Today was an awesome day for sure. I don't think you can expect the same as last year, last year was pretty outstanding but I hope I can ski good, keep skiing the way I did today; as long as I can do that, I'm happy".
Manfred Moelgg, who won the slalom in Zagreb three days ago, laid down another strong performance and takes 3rd place, his 20th World Cup podium in career. The Italian broke the record of second oldest slalom winner in Zagreb and proved that experience can also be a huge advantage in the ski racing world.
"Tough race. The conditions were not so easy. Adelboden is always the same, it's difficult. Fantastic people here and I'm very happy about second place and compliments to Henrik, one second eighty, it's a lot but it was not so easy. He skied very fast in the second run".
Third place goes to Marcel Hirscher, who is now sharing the lead of the slalom standings with Kristoffersen. The Austrian had bad luck with the weather in the first run but charged the course in second run to lay down the third fastest time of second run and grab 3rd place on the podium.
"I think a third place is for today absolutely the maximum. 140 points for this weekend is not too bad, let's keep on going. Second run was nearly the same for everyone; first run was a big difference between the numbers but we are outside and this is what you have to deal with. This is skiing, not ice hockey".

Mikaela Shiffrin Took her 7th Win of the Season in Maribor Slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin claimed today her 27th career World Cup victory and second Golden Fox Award for the weekend overall. Shiffrin beat out Wendy Holdener and last year’s slalom globe winner Frida Hansdotter by 0.19 seconds by 0.31 seconds, respectively.
Shiffrin matches Ingemar Stenmark’s record 27 wins before the age of 22. She also matches American Phil Mahre, putting her in third place for all-time wins among U.S. skiers, men and women.
"When I was a kid, I dreamed about being the best in the world in all the different events, so it’s always a step in the right direction to be performing well in two, at least (...) In my career, one of the goals I want to accomplish is the (World Cup) overall. I don’t know if it will happen this year, but eventually that will be a big goal for me", Shiffrin said.
Wendy Holdener has been chasing Shiffrin all season. The Swiss skier has earned five World Cup podium finishes in slalom this season and is still looking to earn a win. Her performance was even more impressive when you consider that she has been plagued by a cold for the past week.
"I had a cold", Holdener shared. "I had to rest two days because I had pain in my throat. …Then with the race and the cold temperature and everything, I had some problems yesterday afternoon. But I’m really happy with my race that I could ski that fast and not 100 percent fit, so everything is OK".
Rounding out the podium was Hansdotter, earning her first top-3 finish of the season.
"I’ve been working so hard to get back, and I really love Maribor, so it was like a good feeling from the start, so I’m really satisfied".

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Alexis Pinturault Wins World Cup GS in Adelboden

The legendary Chuenisbärgli has a new champion! Alexis Pinturault won the Giant Slalom in Adelboden, after a very exciting second run where he beat out his main challenger Marcel Hirscher by +0.04 and Austria’s Philipp Schoerghofer who ended the day 1.94 seconds off of the pace.
With his 19 World Cup wins, Alexis Pinturault definitively surpassed Jean-Claude Killy’s French record today. The skier from Courchevel had a +0.70 margin from the first run, but he had to push hard and ski at the limit in the second run, as just before him Marcel Hirscher laid down an impressive run.
"I thought when I crossed the line that it was long enough for me today, one or two gates more and I would be maybe behind so I'm really happy about those four hundredths. It's a victory, so it's something very special. I heard the crowd but it was more or less like every time; you make the first run and then you have to make also the second run and push even maybe harder in the second run".
In second position, Marcel Hirscher writes history again, and step by step, keeps breaking records. He now has 100th World Cup podiums, a feat achieved only by ski legend Ingemar Stenmark so far (155 wins). He was very close to the victory, and he probably believed in it after crossing the finish line with an advantage of almost two seconds, but today Pinturault was stronger and Hirscher is still satisfied with this.
"You know, I'm super, super happy with my second run today, another eighty points in the books. For sure, first run was with this mistake not what I was hoping for and if I want to search for four hundredths of a second, this was the mistake in the first run, that is for sure. I am super happy with my skiing in the second run, that was amazing and it felt great and so it is a good day".
Austria’s placed another athlete on the podium today, with Giant Slalom specialist Philipp Schörghofer claiming his 6th World Cup podium. The 36 years old racer is only 24th of the second run, but a brilliant performance in the first run allowed him to grab the last spot in the Top3.
"It was a great day for me. It was a big target for me to be on the podium today. I always want to be on the podium in Adelboden as a GS specialist. It's so cool here to be on the podium, the crowd is so amazing and the hill is great. There's a lot of tradition here so I am very happy with my third place here".

Tessa Worley Wins Giant Slalom in Maribor

Tessa Worley of France started off her new year back on the top step of the GS podium and maintaining the discipline standings lead with a blistering second run in Maribor,
Tessa Worley took the victory, finishing with a combined time of 2:16.96. The Frenchwoman was followed by Italian powerhouse Sofia Goggia, who was 0.16 seconds off of the pace. Switzerland’s Lara Gut rounded out the podium in third, 0.25 seconds away from the win.
"It’s intense, but it’s awesome because it’s only in skiing that you can feel this feeling", said Worley. "I was so happy at the end to see that I was winning. It’s a great fight and I’m really happy that all the girls are wanting to win every race and making it so hard. I’m happy because it pushes me to get to my best level".
After four DNFs in a row in past races, Sofia Goggia seemed once again poised for a shot at her career first victory, but the champagne will have to wait for another day. Still, the Italian had reason to celebrate.
"I’m pretty happy with today’s podium actually because it is an important race because it is the last one of Tina Maze, which was my idol in past years. So I was really touched and excited for that. I thought after the first run I was going to win, but still it’s OK like that", Goggia said. "I was crying like a baby, and … it’s [been] some years since I [was] crying for someone with emotion like this. I was really touched in my heart because it was really something important to me".
Mikaela Shiffrin ultimately finished fourth as Swiss Lara Gut edged her out for the final podium position in third.
"It’s always cool to be on the podium. I had a little bit too many mistakes in the first run, so I can be not really happy, but the podium is always great. So take that and keep on working and hopefully – soon – I will get the feeling of winning again back", said Gut. "It was really straight. It was just the way to go to the race. To me, it’s an easy course. It’s an easy slope. So you’ve seen in the first run, with two seconds you are top 30, no more. You have to push, and I think you also have to risk".
While the day was about the victor, it was also about Tina Maze. In a farewell to fans in her home country, the living legend skied one final World Cup run. Wearing bib 34, the two-time Olympic gold medalist skied the course with one pit stop along the way to hug her coaches. She finished by walking across the finish line, skis raised in the air victoriously as she heads into retirement. Of course, Maze recently told the AP that she’s not completely taking the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games off of the list of possibilities, so this race could be more of a “see you later” than a “goodbye” from the Slovenian.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Manfred Moelgg Wins Zagreb Slalom

After 8 years of victory drought, Manfred Moelgg claimed the win at the slalom in Zagreb, ahead of Felix Neureuther and Henrik Kristoffersen. A firework for both the new crowned king and the 50 years of the FIS Ski World Cup concluded the “Snow Queen Trophy” in the Croatian venue.
It was well known that Manfred Mölgg is in a great shape again, as he podiumed in the Levi Slalom and ended 4th in Madonna di Campiglio. But today, he took it to another level by grabbing his third World Cup win. The last time Moelgg won was back in 2009, when he came first in a slalom race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. A year later, he finished second atop Sljeme, and this year, he announced his good form in the first three slaloms of the season.
It was a special night for Moelgg. Winning in front of so many World Cup legends who were in town to commemorate the 50th season of the World Cup provided a special atmosphere all night long. He is the second Italian, alongside Giuliano Razzoli, to take the Sljeme crown.
"It’s incredible", he said. "It’s awesome, the feeling to win here in Zagreb. It’s the birthday of the World Cup and with all of these guys, Marc Girarelli and Tomba, incredible. It’s been a lot of work in the last two weeks and now we are here in first place; it’s incredible. It was difficult for all the guys, but I stayed focused on my skiing and thought to push hard and to ski fast. That’s the only thing that I thought of until the finish line".Germany’s Felix Neureuther came second, the same as two years ago. It’s a 42nd podium for the skier from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, who had two DNFs in slalom earlier this season (in Val d’Isère and Madonna di Campiglio).
"Tough race today", Neureuther said in the finish. "We had, I think, every condition today; it was snowing, sunshine, windy, hard snow, soft snow, everything in one race. It was crazy. I am very, very happy that it ended that good for me. I watched the other guys at the start and I thought, ‘Ok, its not good for everybody, so you just have to push and don’t care if it’s windy or not,’ and it worked out pretty well for me".Henrik Kristoffersen finished third on the podium. The Norwegian, who had won the last two World Cup slaloms, failed to continue the winning streak but still finished in his highest ever position atop Sljeme.
Kristoffersen continues to chip away at Marcel Hirscher’s lead in the slalom standings and today’s result sets up an exciting month of racing for the two slalom superstars. Although the Norwegian still fancies Hirscher the favorite for the slalom title, fans can rest assured that Kristoffersen won’t give up his slalom globe title with out a fight in the coming months.
"Really happy to be on the podium, for sure, with how everything went down with the conditions, with the wind, everything", Kristoffersen explained. "Starting the new year with a third place is not bad. I think I got a little bit of wind on the flat there, especially where the banner used to be — it wasn’t there anymore when I was skiing — I got some wind there. I think there were lots of people that got more wind than I did. We are doing an outdoor sport, and we can’t change the weather, unfortunately, so that’s how it is".

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Veronika Velez Zuzulova Wins Zagreb Slalom

In the lead after the opening run, Slovakia's Veronika Velez Zuzulova, didn't let anyone prevent her from earning her fourth Wolrd Cup victory. She finished in a combined time of 2:02.53 to edge out her nearest rivals her compatriot Petra Vlhova and Czech skier Sarka Strachova both respectively +0.24 and +0.52 seconds off the pace.
The injected slope received some overnight snow and although organizers did their best to clear the track, bumpy and at times inconsistent conditions proved to be the deciding factor in the first run as many of the early favorites failed to finish, including Mikaela Shiffrin and Wendy Holdener.
This victory was made extra special by the presence of skiing great Janica Kostelic, who was Velez Zuzulova’s childhood idol.
"It was a tough race", she said. "The first run, I had a really bad feeling when I arrived down. I was thinking that I will be really bad. After I saw the other girls, I saw that it was tough for everybody. Second run, I was ready to attack, and it was really not easy. I had some small mistakes, but I was trying to fight ’til the end and finally, it was good. For sure, it was a really nice moment and especially that I got the crown from Janica. I think this moment I will never forget because I did spend a lot of time with her; when I was young, I was training with her and she was my big idol, so I am really happy and for sure, it’s even more nice the victory".
Vlhova, although unhappy with her first run performance, recognized the significance of two skiers from the same small country finding the podium and is looking forward to what the future has in store for her and her compatriots.
"I am really happy because finally I did a good run", Vlhova said. "After first run, I was really sad because it was not my skiing. I wanted to go full gas and I’m second and I’m happy. Really happy. For us, it’s amazing because we are a small country and we are two girls from Slovakia on the podium; first and second. It’s unbelievable".
It was Strachova’s first podium appearance of the season, which will no doubt bode well for her confidence heading into the remainder of the season. It also marked her third time on the podium at this venue, having earned her other top-3 results in 2007 and 2009.
"It’s a great feeling to be on the podium again, especially here in Zagreb", she said. "It’s the first race of the new year, and it’s nice to be here on the podium for the third time in the third place, so it’s nice".