Christmas break

22 December 2011 21:17

FLACHAU, Austria- The two night Slaloms held in Flachau were the last races before the short Christmas break. With the ladies’ Tour continuing in Lienz on the 7th and 28th of December with a Giant Slalom and a Slalom, and the men’s racing the Bormio Downhill on the 29th (first training day being the 27th), there are not many days to indulge in the holiday spirit.

When you are on the road skiing and racing some 200 days a year, getting a few days at home with the family is always something special.

The morning before the race, Maria Pietilae- Holmner said she was going to give it all in order to give herself the best Christmas present- a good result.

“The best Christmas present would be the one I can give to myself; a good result in the race would be great. I’ll just have to go for it tonight,” she said. “ After the race we are driving to Muenchen and flying home the next morning. But, my focus is first on the race, than if I give myself a nice present, I can finally start thinking about Christmas.”

After her second place from Aspen, a 16th in Flachau might not have been what she was looking for but Pietilae-Holmner will appreciate the time off anyway.

Cristian Deville on the other hand, has been running high on adrenaline these past weeks and after two podiums in the three races he entered, he is starting to feel the need for a break. His third place in Flachau has probably been the best gift he was given so far, and he hopes those kinds of gifts will keep coming.

“I just want to sleep a little bit, I am so tired. I’m looking forward to finding some nice presents under my tree. Than, I’ll be ready to see what happens in January,” Deville said.

Slalom specialist Sharka Zahrobska did not finish the first run, and was on her way home to the Czech Republic even before the race was completed.

“I just want to be home with my boyfriend,” Zahrobska said. “Maybe have two days without training. Just enjoy some quiet time.”

Anne Sophie Barthet seems to be really excited about all the different aspects of Christmas.

“My favorite parts about Christmas are the present of course. But I like the food, the wine and everything that comes with it. I like the feeling of a big belly after a good meal. I like the Christmas covers too, they are fun to sing,” the always smiling French skier said. “This year I didn’t really send out a Christmas letter, it was more of an email, by now Santa must have started using technology,” she joked. “Sometimes I just try to talk to him, when I know that my fans and my family are around…I ask him for a pair of boots and than I get them. Even before Christmas I already got my present.”

Marlies Schild found her third season and thirtieth Slalom victory under the Christmas tree this year.

“I love to go home, rest for a few days and spend that time with my boyfriend and the family,” the Slalom Queen doesn’t ask for much.

Sarah Schleper might have a long way to go back home, and with the tight schedule and Lasse her son always traveling with her, flying to the USA for a few days might not be very practical. So Schleper makes Austria feel like home over the holidays.

“We celebrate with my Austrian family in Telfs. Lasse is definitely looking forward to Santa Claus,” she said, Lasse obviously doesn’t mind meeting an Austrian Santa.

Andre Myhre is feeling the tiredness of a December filled with races.

“I’m looking forward to go home, we had a lot of races at the end of December. I’m looking forward to get home, try to get some rest and eat some good food…maybe Santa pays a visit as well.”

Italian Irene Curtoni has a few more days of training before going to see her family for Christmas.

“After Flachau, we go for a few more days of training and than it’s time to go see my parents and do some nice stuff,” she said. And as most Italians, she isn’t eager to change her favorite food over the holidays. “I always like pasta, even over the holidays.”

Ivica Kostelic, the last pre holiday winner has a wish everyone on the Tour shares.

“We just all have to pray for good health, enjoy it and continue to ski fast after the holidays in January.”

We agree with him and wish all the skier some nice holidays with their families and friends, and to see them back on the slopes at the end of the year with their batteries recharged.

To all our readers, the team wishes a Merry Christamas!

Watch the Christmas video of our athletes.

by Ana Jelusic