T’was the week before Christmas and all ‘round the world, FIS athletes competed in search of a Globe….
The men’s and ladies’ Audi FIS Ski World Cup tours were on opposite ends of the Alps with the men enjoying Italian hospitality in Val Gardena, Alta Badia and to follow on Friday in Madonna di Campiglio, while the ladies’ experienced the French culture in Val d’Isere and Courchevel.
Val Gardena kicked off with a surprise as Josef Ferstl (GER) won his first-ever World Cup in the super-G, trailed by the Austrian duo Max Franz and Matthias Mayer. On Saturday, the Attacking Vikings did what they do best on the Saslong course; they conquered, with Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud finishing first and second, respectively.
After the speed races, the tour moved over the pass to Alta Badia, where Marcel Hirscher (AUT) won his third race of the season, proving he is in shape to contend for his lucky number seven overall globe. Hirscher crushed the rest of the field by more than a second with Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) coming closest 1.70 second behind.
For the third time, a parallel giant slalom was held in Alta Badia which saw 32 athletes competing in the exciting head-to-head format. Matts Olsson (SWE) took the win in a thrilling final a mere +0.03 seconds ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) followed by Marcel Hirscher.
The ladies’ tour once again had to deal with with Mother Nature and her generous snowfalls this winter, but this time won the battle as they were able to get in two super-G races in Val d’Isere despite very tricky conditions. Saturday, on a very snowy run, American Lindsey Vonn got back to her winning ways picking up her first victory since 11 months. On Sunday conditions improved and it was Austrian Anna Veith winning thanks to a strong early run that the rest of the field could not top.
Meanwhile, Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) built upon her overall FIS World Cup lead with her first giant slalom victory of the season in Courchevel on Tuesday. She celebrated her 34th World Cup win and took over the lead in the giant slalom standings. Tessa Worley (FRA) was second, followed by Manuela Moelgg (ITA) in third. The ladies’ tour completes its pre-Holiday action tonight under the lights in Courchevel in the much-anticipated parallel slalom race.
The Cross-Country World Cup tour, presented by Viessmann, was in Toblach (ITA) for 10 km and 15 km free and classic races on consecutive days.
The big news out of the weekend was the continued dominance of Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR), who earned third place in Saturday’s 15 km free and then followed up with a victory in Sunday’s 15 km classic race. The victory was his seventh of the season and marked the first time anyone has won that many races before the New Year. Klaebo’s teammate, Simen Hegstad Krueger, notched his first-ever World Cup win in Saturday’s 15 km free, ahead of Maurice Magnificat (FRA), race winner the previous week and Andrew Musgrave (GBR) who recorded his first ever podium.
On the ladies’ side, Sweden continued to do its best to push the Norwegian ladies as Charlotte Kalla picked up Saturday’s 10 km free victory, but Norway came back strong on Sunday with its first podium sweep of the season in the 10 km classic pursuit with Marit Bjoergen earning her second victory of the season.
The FIS Ski Jumping World Cup presented by Viessmann saw a historic weekend in Hinterzarten (GER) for the ladies’ Ski Jumpers with their first-ever team event. The Japanese earned the bragging rights as the first-ever victors as the team of Yuki Ito, Kaori Iwabuchi, Yuka Seto and Sara Takanashi took the clear win with 956.0 points, ahead of the teams from Russia and France.
With the longest jump of the day (105.0 meters), Maren Lundby (NOR) claimed victory in the individual event ahead of local hero Katharina Althaus and Sara Takanashi (JPN).
Meanwhile in Engleberg (SUI) Richard Freitag (GER) had an amazing weekend in very snowy conditions as he took second in Saturday’s competition behind Anders Fannemel (NOR) and followed up with the victory on Sunday. Also looking strong is Poland’s Kamil Stoch, who earned third place on both days.
The FIS Nordic Combined World Cup presented by Viessmann staged its last competitions of 2017 in Ramsau am Dachstein (AUT) and Santa was very good to the Germans, who picked up victories in both individual competitions. Eric Frenzel got back to his winning ways in Friday’s Individual Gundersen as his teammate Fabian Riessle was the runner-up. Sunday, Riessle earned the victory ahead of surprise runner-up Alessandro Pittin (ITA).
Freestyle Skiing, Snowboard and Freeski
The aerials FIS World Cup 2017/2018 season kicked off on Saturday in Secret Garden (CHN) with Hanna Huskova (BLR) and Jia Zongyang (CHN) braving the -20 degree weather and taking top spots in an exciting competition staged at the future 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games venue. On Sunday, Team China took care of things at home and dominated the team competition, while Danielle Scott (AUS) and Jia Zongyang (CHN) came out victorious in the one-round format individual event.
The Audi FIS Ski Cross tour had one race during the week in Montafon (AUT). For the ladies it was familiar names on the podium with Fanny Smith (SUI) topping Heidi Zacher (GER) and Sandra Naeslund (SWE). However, the men had a surprise podium with Sergey Ridzik (RUS) earning his first-ever World Cup victory ahead of France’s Terence Tchiknavorian.
The FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup tour followed their skiing counterparts in Montafon with two weekend competitions. Michela Moioli (ITA) and Jarryd Hughes (AUS) brought home their first wins of the season on Saturday under snowy skies in front of a packed house. It was Moiili’s sixth career win and the second for Hughes. In Sunday’s team competition, Chloe Trespeuch and Nelly Moenne Loccoz from France and Regino Hernandez and Lucas Eguibar from Spain both successfully defended their 2016 Montafon titles in the first team event of the season.
And last but not least in the packed ‘On the Snow’ report was the 2017/18 FIS World Cup season debut of the parallel snowboarders who had a busy week of action in Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA).
Ester Ledecka (CZE) and Andrey Sobolev (RUS) won the first parallel giant slalom race of the season under perfect conditions with blue skies and hard snow. Both paved the way to victory with outstanding performances in the qualifiers which gave them the advantage of course choice for each heat. Ledecka followed up with a second parallel giant slalom win on Saturday, showing she can win in any conditions as the snowboard racers braved foggy skies. In the men's competition, Alexander Payer earned his career's first World Cup race after winning in the final against local favourite Roland Fischnaller (ITA).
Closing out the action in Cortina was a night race and last of the 2017 calendar year. Sabine Schoeffmann (AUT) and Roland Fischnaller (ITA) won the parallel slalom race in front a packed crowd on the Tondi slope, ending a long and successful weekend of action in the parallel snowboard circuit.