Simoncelli (ITA) and Pfeifer (AUT) will set the men's course in Levi
While winter is arriving in central Europe and in North America, Lapland has been enjoying winter conditions for a few weeks now and Levi will host a ladies’ and an men’s slalom this week-end, on 11th and 12th November. The ladies’ race will be set by Hannes Zöchling of Austria and Denis Steharnik from Slovenia. On the men’s side, the coaches who will set the course have just been appointed. Daniele Simoncelli and Marko Pfeifer will have the chance to set the first slalom of the season.
Italy’s Daniele Simoncelli has been setting just one slalom run on the World Cup so far, it was at the very end of last season at the Finals in Aspen. His athlete Patrick Thaler was the fastest in that second run, but the race went to Sweden’s André Myhrer. Manfred Moelgg, who finished the season at the 3rd place of the standings and podiumed in Levi last year is probably a favourite for this race, but Simoncelli will also set for Stefano Gross, Giuliano Razzoli and Patrick Thaler.
The decisive second run will be set by Marko Pfeifer. The Austrian coach is a well known course setter, as he has been setting a World Cup slalom six times in the past three seasons. However, the success for Austrian athletes came just once, back in 2013 with the win of Mario Matt in Val d’Isère. Last time when Pfeifer was setting the second run in Wengen in 2017, Marcel Hirscher laid down the fastest time in the second run to come back on the podium at the second place, right behind Henrik Kristoffersen. The young Christian Hirschbühl also scored his career best placement finishing in fourth place only +0.12 off the podium. Despite the probable absence of team leader Marcel Hirscher and of younggun Christian Hirschbühl, both injured, there is no doubt that the young Austrians are all on the “ones-to-watch” list for a podium. Michael Matt, Manuel Feller, Marco Schwarz, and Marc Digruber are all potential podium contenders.