Hirscher wins reindeer in Levi
It’s a beautiful day for skiracing in Levi and the first men’s slalom of the 2013/14 season proved to be just as exciting as we remembered slalom to be last season.
After making it on the podium in all nine World Cup slalom races last season, Marcel Hirscher added a tenth one to the list. After two flawless runs, he claimed his first victory of the season. Austrian veteran Mario Matt, who was sitting in third place after the first run put down a great second run and moved one step up, finishing second, 0.62 seconds behind Hirscher.
“It’s such a good feeling, it’s not easy to be in the role of the favorite… it makes the job far from easy but on the other side this makes it definitely not boring. Now I just want to take a day off, sleep a lot, regain some energy and than I will start thinking about the next races,” Hirscher said.
After Mikaela Shiffrin yesterday, today it was time for Hirscher to name the baby reindeer he won.
“I talked to my girlfriend about what to name it if I win, and we agreed it would be kind of cool if we named it after my dad. So his name will be Ferdinand, but we might call it Ferdi to shorten it up.”
The big surprise of the day came from Henrik Kristoffersen who claimed his first ever top 10 today by finishing third. The 19 years old was thrilled by the result.
“My goal for this season was to make it into the top 10, but today was like a dream. I had a good first run, knew I had a shot at going far but I tried to keep myself calm by thinking it was just another race. When I realized I made my first podium, I experienced probably the best feeling a skier could ever wish for,” an enthusiastic Kristoffersen told the media after his race.
Matt also seemed very pleased with his race, he put together two very consistent runs.
“I am happy with my race, I have been skiing well for a while now and it’s showing. It’s satisfying to start a season like this, knowing that the summer work is paying off and I can be a contender for the top spots,” Matt said at the press conference.
A light overnight snowfall gave organizers a lot of work early in the morning and crews were out pushing the fresh snow off the race line from the earliest morning hours.
“The base preparation with the injection was very good, it had been done a week before the race. Last night’s snowfall put a 10cm cover on the racecourse, which is always a challenge for the Organizers. They needed to work really hard to have everything ready for the start. But, there is a great group of young and enthusiastic people ready to give a hand and this is what enabled us to make sure conditions were great,” said FIS Race Director, Hans Pieren.
Their work paid off as everyone had nothing but praise for the conditions the slope was in once the race kicked off at 10 am CET.
One athlete in particular today claimed a personal victory – Julien Lizeroux made his official comeback to racing by finishing in 17th position after starting 63rd.
“This is such a good day for me. I kept saying that after all this time off racing all I wanted this year is to once qualify for the second run. Achieving that in my first race is something very special. I might need to step up my goal now,” Lizeroux explained.
“This is a victory for me, but also a great thank you for my teammates and coaches who were with me every step of the way. Coming back after such a long time wouldn’t have been possible without their support. I am an old guy by some standards but they keep me young in my head!”
Levi 2013 is in the books now, so it’s time to pack the bags and move overseas! The next men’s races this year are taking place in Lake Louise next week!