It’s part of the show and part of Sölden’s opening tradition to have two busy days before the racing season officially kicks off while the excitement around the Audi FIS Ski World Cup has been growing over the last weeks. Athletes and media finally reconvened after a seven-month break and engaged in a number of events and press conferences starting with Rossignol on Wednesday evening in their flagship store in Innsbruck with the launch of their new Apparel Hero Capsule collection.
Head’s annual press conference was opened by Marco Buchel who welcomed the most successful team of last season with an even stronger roster of Rebels: Alexis Pinturault, Matts Holsson, Tommy Ford, Mathieu Faivre, Ted Ligety, Kjetil Jansrud, Mathias Mayer, Josef Ferstl, Beat Feuz, Wendy Holdener, Sara Hector, Anna Veith, Berdanette Schild, Tina Weirather and Lara Gut-Behrami.
The busy Thursday wrapped up with Colmar’s event and the projection of their newest short movie. The attraction of the first snowflake is irresistible for those who know the sensation that comes when outside it is snowing and you are straining at the leash to go skiing.Those featured in the brand new video “In Case of Snow” know this only too well: Ghedina, Theaux, Ceccarelli, Weirather, Mirandoli, but also Muffat-Jeandet, Pinturault, Rochat, Aerni and Eberharter are the testimonials, actors for a day, who have interpreted common situations showing, without mincing their words, what happens when the first flakes exert their attraction.
Friday morning will start with a classroom session at the Chief of Media meeting where best practices and athletes survey results has been discussed among Team Press Attache, LOC chief of media, TV rights holders, journalists and FIS staff.
Friday afternoon’s highlight was the FIS Forum Alpinum where all the stakeholders gathered in Freizeit Arena for Q&A sessions with FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, the two Chief Race Directors Markus Waldner and Peter Gerdol at his first Alpine Forum. The Women’s Overall winner Mikaela Shiffrin could not miss the traditional appointment and talked about the upcoming season expectations, the one million prize money mark and record breaking reflections. After the American star, it was Henrik Kristtoffersen’s turn on stage, mentioning that one of his goals for the coming season is for sure the overall globe: “It is every top skier’s goal. I would like to start achieving my first one this season and then hopefully many more in the future.”
For the second time in recent years, a majority of members of the AIJS decided to elect an American ski champion as recipient of the ‘Skieur d’Or - AIJS Serge Lang Trophy’ presented by AIJS President Patrick Lang at in occasion of the “FIS Forum Alpinum” to USA’s wondergirl Mikaela Shiffrin. “It’s an honour for me being awarded with the Skieur D’Or trophy for the second time even more knowing that the challenge was tight with a great champion like Marcel Hirscher”.
The three-time overall World Cup champion and multiple Olympic gold medalist collected for the second time the esteemed crystal trophy created by Joska and handed over by FIS after her previous election back in 2017. In past years, two other US athletes, Lindsey Vonn back in 2009 and Bode Miller in 2005 were also elected ‘Skieur d’Or AIJS’ by a larger number of ski reporters covering the World Cup tour.
To round out the session, FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis provided details about the main activities FIS is undertaking to grow the sports and gave an update on the logistics related to Chinese venue of Janqing. She finally thanked everybody for the enthusiasm they have shown.