Alexis Pinturault - a true ‘Rising Ski Star’!

24 December 2012 17:02
Alexis Pinturault - Rising Star
Alexis Pinturault - Rising Star -

The French Ski Team has produced a new star  – Alexis Pinturault, the ‘Kid from Courchevel’ who keeps on surprising the ski racing world. The leader in the intermediate standings of the ‘Rising Ski Star’ of the season presented by Longines, the Official Timekeeper of the FIS Alpine World Cup tour and the FIS Alpine World Championships, is actually moving much faster on snow than expected at the season start. In reality, he has achieved more than a dream earlier this month celebrating his maiden slalom victory on the circuit at Val d’Isère in front of a happy crowd of fans and friends. They supported him loudly during that thrilling night race while he was rushing down the treacherous ‘La Face’ course on Bellevarde and established a new best time that remained out of reach for his main rivals!

It was quite an emotional moment for the young racer who was so proud and happy to share this unexpected triumph with them and his ski team a few weeks only after returning on snow several months following a painful ankle injury sustained at the beginning of the summer. The next day Alexis was on his way to an impressive double win on the same course in giant slalom – yet a few meters before the finish line, he made a huge mistake that cost him too much time en to among the best 20!

Considered for years as one of the most skilled athletes in the French junior team, Pinturault clinched two gold medals in giant slalom at the FIS junior World Championships in 2009 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) and 2011 (Crans-Montana) before becoming the first Frenchman to clinch the Overall Europa-Cup title in March 2011. That month, he also claimed his first World Cup podium at Kranjska Gora where he finished 2nd in giant slalom standings there beside two of the very best specialists in recent years, Switzerland’s Carlo Janka and USA’s Ted Ligety.

First points at Hinterstoder 2011.

It was only a month after he managed to score his first World Cup points at Hinterstoder, in Austria, finishing 6th in the difficult Super-G despite his high start-number 62. That result qualified him the FIS Worlds at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. When his colleague Julien Lizeroux decided to skip the slalom there, Alexis took over his place in that race and ended it at a promising 17th position. At that point, he had clearly proved that he was also able to play a main role on the World Cup tour.

The skier from Courchevel started the 2011/2012 season the same impressive way – ending the ‘Opening World Cup’ event at Soelden in 2nd place behind Ligety! In the following months, he also excelled in other specialties, reaching more podiums in Super-combined (Chamonix), slalom (Kranjska Gora) and Super-G (Schladming) and celebrated his maiden World Cup win at the City Event at Moscow after beating Germany’s Felix Neureuther in the final. He definitely aims to become an established ‘all-rounder’ able to soon fight for the big crystal cup!

Three years after his debuts on the World Cup tour at Are, the Salomon champion found himself in 10th place in the 2012 Overall standings, missing by only a few hundredths his first ever points in downhill at Schladming where he came in 16th ! More than once, Alexis showed great determination moving at his best despite lack of speed training.

Alexis is going for it !

A very outgoing and cool young man who has the guts and the class to challenge Marcel Hirscher in the tech events and soon fight for more gold and crystal globes, Pinturault has always been supported by his parents during his career. His father Claude, who runs a very nice hotel in Courchevel, l’Annapurna’ built in the early 1970s and his mother Hege Wiig, born in Norway, showed him the right way to move on. They taught him to always stay focused in his career. In fact Alexis is known to be a hard worker when training or skiing.

He enjoys practicing all kinds of sports during the off-season, playing some golf and wakeboarding where ever it’s possible. At home he also likes to ride his endure motorcycle. His excellent physical shape strongly helped him had to overcome his surgery at the tore ligaments of his injured ankle foot that has forced to take a long break. Even though he could not train properly in the summertime, Alexis only needed a short time finding back most of his rhythm when he was back on snow in the middle of October.

In the coming weeks, he should continue pushing his limits in the ‘Classics’ and keep on gaining confidence and experience –  and be ready for more exciting races at Schladming 2013!