Tina Maze and Didier Cuche win Verbier High Five by Carlsberg 2010
Two weeks after the World Cup Finals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, 16 of the world's best alpine skiers celebrated the end of the season in Verbier where the much anticipated High Five by Carlsberg, a pro-am skiing event took place.
The alpine racers - they won nine medals at the recent Vancouver Olympics - competed along with many other established champions and 333 registered amateurs in four races with the primary aim of enjoying a fun day of racing prior to the end of the skiing season. They all fought hard to capture the coveted ‘Carlsberg crown' that many other top skiers have won in the previous ten years of this competition.
This year, two of the most successful skiers of this past winter - Slovenia's Tina Maze and Switzerland's Didier Cuche - won the Verbier High Five.
While double silver medalist Maze celebrated her second consecutive Verbier High Five victory at the end a very successful season, three-times downhill World Cup champion Cuche was happy to finally take the win after having finished 2nd twice in past High Five events.
26-year-old Tina Maze was 2nd in three of the four events and ended up just ahead of Great Britain's Chemmy Alcott and France's Sandrine Aubert.
"I'm a little surprised and very excited to win as all other skiers fought hard today," Maze told the press afterwards. "I really like the High Five, it's great to meet other racers in such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I'm already looking forward to return to Verbier next winter."
Chemmy Alcott, who got 2nd just a few points shy of winning after finishing 3rd in 2009, was slightly disappointed, while Sandrine Aubert, winner of two World Cup slaloms this winter, was thrilled with her 3rd place.
On the men's side, Didier Cuche took an early lead in the general classification, dominating the giant slalom run to win the High Five event ahead of the two Olympic champions Aksel Lund Svindal (gold in super G, silver in downhill and bronze in giant slalom) and Didier Défago (gold in downhill). Although the tall Norwegian, who won the event two years ago, posted the fastest time in the speed track and was 2nd in skier cross, Cuche claimed victory by winning the final competition, the triathlon.
"Finally I was able to win the High Five. It is a perfect way to end my successful season with a group of friends," the 35-year-old Swiss veteran explained at the winners' presentation. "It's cool to beat two of the best athletes in recent years, Svindal and my friend Didier Défago."
Sweden's Andre Myhrer, the silver medalist in slalom at Vancouver and winner of the Carlsberg High Five in Åre, Sweden, finished 5th.
Veteran skier Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein, who skied in his last World Cup races only two weeks ago, was glad to have the opportunity to rejoin some of his former competitors in Verbier prior to a long vacation.