World Cup athletes cut new equipment deals for 2018/19
*Scroll to the bottom of this article for the latest athlete updates*
Along with team selections, coaching changes, and retirement announcements, spring in the sport of alpine ski racing is also a critical time for athletes to finalize their equipment contracts for the upcoming year. While many athletes extend pre-existing contracts with their longtime brands, some choose to test and then change their sponsorship agreements for the equipment they will use in the coming competition season.
The following athletes have announced that they will switch to a new manufacturer for the 2018/19 season. (This article will be updated as any additional changes are confirmed.)
Austrian speed veteran Max Franz, who collected three podium finishes last season to add to his 2017 World Championships bronze medal, announced that he will compete on Fischer equipment in 2018/19 after 15 years on Atomic. "With an Austrian product under my feet and a strong partner such as Vinc Kriechmayr in the team, I am confident that I will be able to ski for top places in the upcoming season. The goal is clearly to win a medal at the World Championships in Åre," Franz said of his move to Fischer.
Dustin Cook, the 2015 World Championships silver medallist from Canada, will trade in his Head skis after eight years on the brand and use Stöckli equipment heading into the 2019 World Championships season. The World Cup winner and podium finisher missed the entire 2015/16 season due to a serious knee injury but has been working his way back up to the top ranks since his return.
Two-time World Cup podium finisher Laurenne Ross of the U.S. has also signed with Stöckli after a five-year run on Völkl. The speed specialist spent 2017/18 on the return from injury and skied to a season-best eighth-place finish in the Val d'Isere super-G.
British slalom skier Dave Ryding will aim for his career-first World Cup win next season on Dynastar skis, the manufacturer he previously skied on, after five years on Fischer. Ryding finished out the 2017/18 winter ranked 11th in the world in slalom with a season-best fourth-place finish in the Oslo city event. He signed a two-year contract with Dynastar skis, Lange boots, and Look bindings. "Dynastar was the ski I grew up racing on when I was young and into my mid-20s. I have so many fond memories of skiing and racing on Dynastar," remarked Ryding. "I feel extremely excited to be rejoining the brand and look forward to giving my all to help the brand succeed!"
The 2013 Moscow city event winner Lena Duerr of Germany will ski on Head next season after four years with Völkl. The slalom specialist secured three top-10 World Cup results last season and has demonstrated podium potential in recent city events.
Following a career-best fifth-place finish in the Val d'Isere super-G last season, Swiss speed specialist Joana Haehlen will leave behind her Völkl skis for a new equipment deal with Atomic.
German slalom specialist Marina Wallner, who collected three top-10 World Cup finishes last season, has made the move from Fischer to Atomic.
Giant slalom specialist Gino Caviezel of Switzerland excitedly announced his move to Dynastar from Head. "I am convinced that I will make a big step forward with Dynastar. I immediately felt well with the skis and the Dynastar Team," said Caviezel. He is currently ranked 26th in the world in giant slalom.
Attacking Viking Bjoerner Neteland of Norway, 17th in the Beaver Creek giant slalom last season, joins the Fischer family from Head.
Austrian speed specialist Tamara Tippler, who already has three World Cup podium finishes to her name, will chase more top results on Salomon next season after changing from Völkl and Dalbello.
Swiss super-G and giant slalom skier Thomas Tumler joins the Fischer family after 10 years with Atomic. He finished the 2017/18 season ranked 23rd in the world in super-G, just two positions up from his career-best standing in 2016.
Following a career-best season, German speed specialist Michaela Wenig announced that she is leaving Völkl after 20 years on the brand and will ski with Stöckli in the 2018/19 season. The 26-year-old speedster scored eight top-30 World Cup results last season competing in downhill, super-G, and alpine combined.
Technical specialist Magdalena Fjaellstroem of Sweden will strive to transfer her European Cup success to the World Cup next season after signing a new contract with Atomic after previously competing on Head.
Austrian technical skier Dominik Raschner hopes to have another best day following his move from Fischer to Rossignol. The 2018 European Cup giant slalom champion and Overall runner-up will look to score his first World Cup points on the new gear.
After almost 10 years on Salomon, Swiss speed specialist Patrick Kueng made his move to Fischer Instagram-official on 13 May 2018. The 34-year-old downhill world champion from Beaver Creek 2015 had a season-best ninth-place finish in the Bormio downhill during the 2017/18 winter.
Four-time Junior World Championship medallist Aline Danioth of Switzerland has joined Stöckli from Head to continue her career. The 2018 European Cup slalom title winner collected four scoring results on the World Cup last season. "During equipment testing, it all simply clicked from the start and I felt very at home on Stöckli skis. Everything worked out perfectly, and I see great potential for myself with this new gear," said Danioth.
Slovenian technical and alpine combined racer Ana Bucik inked a two-year contract with Salomon following four years on Stöckli. The 24-year-old secured her career-first World Cup podium last winter in the Lenzerheide alpine combined and finished the season standings ranked fifth in combined and 22nd in slalom.
Bucik's young teammate Meta Hrovat, a rising star on the World Cup tour, also made the move from Stöckli to Salomon. After securing her career-first World Cup podium last winter in the Lenzeheide giant slalom, the 20-year-old finished the season ranked 11th in GS. The two-time Junior World Champion (Davos 2018 slalom, Sochi 2016 team event) will look to build upon her past successes next season.
French racer Maxime Rizzo from Les Arcs posted on Instagram that he was, "Happy to announce that I will be in blue shoes next winter," also joining the Salomon team with a two-year deal. Formerly on Fischer, the European Cup slalom specialist will look for his first World Cup points on the new gear next season.
Swedish slalom specialist Mattias Hargin bid farewell to his four-year partnership with Atomic and signed on with Head to become a World Cup Rebel in time for his home World Championships in 2019. The seven-time podium finisher, who was third in last season's Levi slalom, has one World Cup victory to his name and a top World Championships result of fifth place. He finished the 2017/18 season ranked 12th in slalom. "For me the HEAD Rebels Club is the strongest team out on the World Cup circuit, so it’s an honor to be part of that team for the coming years. I hope my experience can help to build an even stronger slalom team and together work for a real success at the Ski World Championships in Åre in February," said Hargin.
French technical specialist Adeline Baud Mugnier announced a two-year contract with Head, a move from her previous supplier Rossignol. The 25-year-old hopes to rebound from a challenging 2017/18 season when knee troubles plagued her. Still, she finished out the winter ranked in the top 30 in both giant slalom and slalom and finished a career-best seventh in the Courchevel GS. "I am now skiing with the best skiers in the world and I want to be part of the top ones! I need the best weapons to be able to fight hard all season," said Baud Mugnier.
Additionally, Stöckli announced the signing of Jasmina Suter (previously on Völkl), Carole Bissig (previously on Atomic), and Christof Brandner (previously on Nordica), but these athletes have yet to personally announce the changes.
This article was originally published on 08 May 2018. Additional announcements will be added as they become available.