Everything set for the Levi slaloms!

15 November 2013 13:36
Levi is ready!
Levi is ready! -
Local OC

Nine years have gone by since the first World Cup slalom race took place in Levi, the northmost town to host an Alpine Ski World Cup. In February 2004, the ladies faced the Levi Black slope for the first time. The race proved to be a great success, and only two years later, a men’s race was added into the calendar. With two races in the calendar, Levi quickly became the traditional slalom opening of the season and one of the favorite destinations for the teams.

This year, over 150 racers from 25 different national teams arrived in Levi to compete in the first slalom races of the 2013/14 season this weekend. 

It has been a full year since we saw Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Andre Myhrer celebrating their here last November.

Höfl-Riesch has so far won three World Cup slaloms in Levi and been on the podium six times, both of which are records for skiers of either gender. Should she clock the fastest time this year again, she would become the first skier to win back-to-back editions of this race.

Local favorite Tanja Poutiainen on the other hand has been on the podium four times in Levi (including a victory in the first edition in 2004), but this year Levi will mark her comeback to racing after injuring her knee so even though the pressure of performing in front of her home crowd is high, Poutiainen seems just happy to be back at racing.

“When I got injured I kept wondering if Levi might come too soon for me, if I would have enough time to rehab and come back. But I am feeling good, I have trained well and it just feels right to race again in front of my home crowd,” Poutiainen said smiling before her first race back. 

When Poutiainen made her first World Cup podium (a second place in the Sestriere slalom in December 2001), Shiffrin was only six years old. 11 years later, in the 2012 edition of the Levi World Cup these two skiers, who come from different generations met on the podium. Poutiainen finished second while Shiffrin kicked off an outstanding season with a third place. She went on to win four of the last seven World Cup slalom races of last season, earning the slalom crystal globe and the World Championships slalom gold. It will be interesting to see what she can do here this year.

Marlies Schild, one of the best slalom skiers in recent years is also back at it this weekend. It has been a while since we saw her racing healthy so we can’t wait to see how she measures in Saturday’s slalom. She seems ready to reclaim her “Slalom Queen” title. 

“I finally feel good, my knee is not bothering me anymore and the small back problems I had lately seem to be gone so I am looking forward to racing. I have had enough time to recover, rest and do a proper rehab so I think time has done me well and I am ready for this new season,” she said the day before the race.

On the men’s side, there was only one man everyone was talking about last winter - Marcel Hirscher. He came second in the Levi slalom last year, finishing behind Myhrer and has gone on to make podium in all nine World Cup slalom races last season. He also won the Overall title, the slalom title and World Championships slalom gold medal. Can he make it 10 podiums in a row and keep up the amazing results from last year? We will have to wait and see on Sunday!

Until than, follow the action on these official Levi World Cup social media channels: 

Facebook

www.facebook.com/worldcuplevi

Twitter

@worldcuplevi

Instagram

@worldcuplevi

Vimeo Channel

www.vimeo.com/worldcuplevi