The Insider by Olsson - From Vasa to Wengen
by Hans Olsson
Andreas ‘Andy’ Romar, together with Dominik Paris and Max Franz is one of the brightest shining stars of the new generation Downhillers. Not only is he a very aggressive and powerful skier, he is also a highly skilled glider with a fine touch on his skis.
Unlike many other World Cup Downhillers, Andy was not born and raised in a environment with big mountains – he grew up in the small city of Vasa, located on the west coast of Finland. Now 20 years after first clicking into his alpine bindings, Andy is about to participate in the Lauberhorn Rennen in Wengen a not only as a "spectator racer" but as one of the top 10 favorites.
Andy started of his season great with a 7th place in the Lake Louise Super G and in the latest Downhill race in Bormio he finished in an impressive 14th from bib nr. 35. We all know that Bormio is a tough and very exhausting race, just as the Lauberhornrennen this upcoming weekend.
Hans: Andy, you seem to be very comfortable on the long and tough races in the World Cup, how do you feel? Are you aiming for your first top 10 finish in a World cup DH race, or are your aims even higher on this one?
Andy: Of course I’m trying, but Wengen is a tough race from the higher numbers. The two past years I skied here it has been really soft and rough for the late numbers so no one really made any amazing results. Hopefully this year the conditions will be better so the guys starting from the back get a fair chance to impress the enthusiastic Swiss crowd with fast runs.
Hans: This will be your 3rd try on the Lauberhorn track, obviously there are a few very spectacular sections, but which one is your favorite?
Andy: In the past races I never skied the big "Carusell" turn on the top section even close to OK, so this year I’m hoping to get that bastard under control. And then, there is of course the Hundschopf, coming into that cliff/drop off/jump or what ever you want to call it; is just unreal!
Hans: This race is over 2min and 30 sec long, what’s your tactic, are you going to go 100% out of the start or are you going to try to save some power and be fresh for the extremely difficult finish section?
Andy: I will go as fast as possible as long as possible and then we will take it from there! :) This is a long weekend; normally you get really tired already after the SuperCombi race. But as you can remember, we both last year crashed out on the Downhill stage and instead of racing the Slalom afterwards, we went for an amazing Dönerkebab. I guess that saved us some power for the real DH race, or how did you feel?
Hans: Well I felt like crap on the DH race day, already after the tunnel I could taste that DönerKebap in my mouth again! :)
Hans: We know you are a blistering Slalom skier, you ones paced the top section of the World Cup slalom on home soil in Levi and with your current DH skills you seem to be one of the favorites of the Friday SuperCombi event, or is the main objective for you the classic Downhill race on Saturday?
Andy: Slalom is great fun, but… No! I just had a few good Slalom days this year, so we will see if the Slalom will bring me fortune or not. The Saturday DH is for sure my main objective for the weekend. I’m although going to do my best to put Ivo Kostelic (the Master of the Supercombined) under pressure!
Hans: The Lauberhorn Rennen together with the Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel are to giants on the World Cup circuit, but we are getting closer and closer to the World Championships in Schladming, do you see that as this years biggest and most important race or would you rather see yourself victorious in one of those two classic World Cup races?
Andy: It’s a tough call, the World Champs are only every second year and on the other hand these two races are really, really prestigious and a good result there would give me a good start number at the World Champs, so both are really important to me! If you win the World Champs you are the CHAMP and if you win in Kitz you’re the BOSS!
Hans: Finally, what does Andy Romar have that no one else has, something that you could use to your advantage this upcoming weekend? Are you going to use a big portion of that Finnish Sisu (killer instinct the Finns are famous for) of yours or do you have any other trick up your sleeve?
Andy: I’m sure that there is not another guy with Finnish Sisu on the DH start this year, but OK, there is for sure someone that had one or two Dönerkebab´s or one of the great Würstel´s (sausage) they have on Kleine Scheidegg (top station of the train where skiers get off to go to start). Besides that I can’t really tell you guys everything, who knows, I might have brought a killer trick in my bag to Wengen.
We all wish Andy good luck & make sure to keep an eye on the flying finn this weekend!