On the Snow – Fantastic week for all FIS disciplines

It was an amazing weekend for all of the FIS disciplines. Perfect snow and weather conditions nearly everywhere, huge crowds celebrating winter sports and cheering on the athletes and no injuries made up the ingredients for one of the most remarkable weekends of FIS World Cup action. 

Cross-Country Skiing

The Cross Country World Cup presented by Viessmann stopped in Ulricehamn (SWE) last weekend and had an estimate crowd of more than 30,000 over the two days giving athletes an unforgettable competition experience.

On Saturday, Marit Bjoergen (NOR) won her 104th individual World Cup with victory in the 10 km free technique interval start competition. In the men’s 15 km free technique competition Alex Harvey (CAN) claimed victory, after winning last weekend's team sprint in Toblach.

In the ladies' competition the Norwegians dominated the race from the second leg when Heidi Weng opened up a big lead over the chasing teams, while in the men’s event the big duel between Finn Haagen Krogh (NOR) and Calle Halfvarsson (SWE) unfolded with Norway taking the win in the final meters of the competition.

Sunday’s relay competitions were both won by Norway.

Ski Jumping

Yuki Ito (JPN) won both individual competitions of the ladies’ World Cup presented by Viessmann in Zao (JPN) last weekend in front of more than 5,000 spectators.  

The men were in action in Zakopane (POL). On Saturday, the German team of Markus Eisenbichler, Stephan Leyhe, Andreas Wellinger and Richard Freitag, won the competition ahead of Poland and Slovenia.

More than 40,000 enthusiastic fans cheered local hero Kamil Stoch to a spectacular win in Sunday's individual competition. This was the 20th World Cup win for Stoch, the fifth this winter and the fourth in a row.

Nordic Combined

Chaux-Neuve (FRA) hosted two successful, and widely watched Nordic Combined World Cup events last weekend with the German Team dominating once again on both days.

Johannes Rydzek effectively ended Eric Frenzel’s winning streak in Saturday’s competition. Rydzek (GER) took the win with an advantage of 2.8 seconds on teammate Fabian Riessle at the finish line.

The following day, in the second Individual Gundersen event, it was Riessle’s turn to shine earning victory with a strong finish ahead of teammates Rydzek and Frenzel.

Alpine Skiing

With perfect weather conditions, the 77th edition of the Hahnenkammrennen kicked off in Kitzbuehel (AUT) with a super-G on Friday. Matthias Maier (AUT) clocked the fastest time, followed by Christof Innerhorfer (ITA) in second and Beat Feuz (SUI) in third.

Saturday was a fantastic day on the legendary Streif in Kitzbuehel. The course presented itself in a perfect shape; the bright sunshine allowed the athlete’s to shine in front of more than 50,000 spectators who made a fantastic atmosphere for the athletes.

Dominik Paris (ITA) conquered the Streif for the third time in his career with two downhill and one super G victories ahead of the French duo Valentin Giraud-Moine and Johan Clarey.

The new speed event starting order introduced this season ensured the excitement and tension remained throughout the top 30 athletes. Paris posted the time to beat from number 9, with Clarey starting with bib number 20 and Giraud-Moine with bib number 24.

The Kitzbuehel week began on a high with its first ever European Cup downhill race on Monday before the World Cup came to town. A tradition that is already established in Wengen (SUI) since a number of years, the Kitzbuehel Organisers were delighted to have supported the next generation of athletes and the great success of the competition. ORF showed the race live and reached nearly 300’000 viewers.

On Sunday, Marcel Hirscher (AUT) earned his 20th slalom win ahead of surprise runner-up Dave Ryding (GBR).  It was Ryding’s best career result and his first podium in a World Cup race.

A huge crowd was on hand in Schladming (AUT) on Tuesday with over 50,000 spectators present for the 20th edition of the traditional slalom night race. After a dramatic second run, Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) claimed another slalom win by just 0.09 of a second, his fifth this season and his third in Schladming during his young career.

Meanwhile the ladies were in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) for two speed events. It was an emotional comeback for Lindsey Vonn (USA) in her second race since returning from injury. The American won the downhill, claiming her 77th World Cup victory. On Sunday Lara Gut (SUI) topped the podium in the super G and continuing her unbeaten streak this season.

Also making headlines in Garmisch was the surprising 13th place finish in downhill and 19th finish in the super-G of Ester Ledecka. The Czech athlete is perhaps best known for her success on the parallel snowboarding circuit, where she is the current leader in the World Cup standings. She is one of the few FIS athletes to compete at the highest level in entirely different disciplines. 

A thrilling giant slalom race took place in Kronplatz (ITA) on Tuesday on the technically demanding ERTA piste with a gradient of 61 percent at its steepest point. Under a bluebird sky and in front of an impressively large crowd for a Tuesday morning, Federica Brignone (ITA) surprised both herself and the spectators and claimed her third career victory ahead of Tessa Worley (FRA) and Marta Bassino (ITA).

Freestyle Skiing

A trip back to home snow was just what the Canadian Team needed with Val Saint Come hosting the moguls World Cup. After missing out on the awards last week in Lake Placid, the Canadians returned to their winning ways.

The home squad took four out of a possible six podium spots with Justine Dufour-Lapointe leading a Canadian sweep of the ladies’ podium and Mikael Kingsbury taking the win and reclaiming the yellow World Cup leader’s bib for the men. 

Snowboard

Enni Rukajarvi (FIN) and Max Parrot (CAN) earned their place in the history books winning the Laax Open 2017 slopestyle competition on Friday, which was part of the FIS Snowboard World Cup tour for the first time and featured a top field wo were able to throw down the best and most creative tricks, also thanks to the superb course, snow and weather conditions.

The following day, U.S. riders dominated the halfpipe finals with Chloe Kim and Chase Josey taking the wins in Europe's most prestigious snowboard event.

Despite some delays due to heavy snowfalls and strong wind, it was a great debut for Solitude Mountain Resort (USA), hosting two FIS Snowboard cross World Cup events last weekend. Eva Samkova (CZE) and Alessandro Haemmerle (AUT) claimed victories on Saturday in the second individual race of the season. The team event staged in perfect conditions the following day saw Team USA and Italy finish the day on the top of the podium. In the ladies’ competition, four-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis as well as birthday girl Rosina Mancari, did their home country proud winning the big final in a photo finish decision against France, while in the men's event, reigning world champion Luca Matteotti and Emanuel Perathoner clinched the win in the men's final which saw several wash-outs, passes and tight manoeuvres.