feb 20, 2012


Race checkup. It is the evening before the giant slalom of Bansko. And this is just another example for any evening before any race. We are allowed to accompany Marcel Hirscher during his race preparations – and nothing is left to chance.

A FIS evaluation meeting regarding the preparation of the slope and the space between gates in the slalom messed up Marcel Hirscher’s schedule. 10 minutes for a radio interview, then he’s got 32 minutes for dinner, this is followed by some physiotherapy. “Salad and turkey ham, but no pork and no carbohydrates“, this is what he reminds himself of at the buffet. His father, Ferdinand Hirscher, joins him at the table and provides information, “Minus 9 degrees Celsius and partly only 19 percent of snow wetness.“


Hirscher and Hirscher keep silent and do some mental math. „I think we should go for 0.1 at the bottom“, Marcel says. This tenth of a millimeter as the edge angle at the coating will also be one of many factors determining the ideal setup for the aggressive snow. “And the sidecut?“, the father asks and then mentions eight secret ski codes. After the testing of the slope, he has been studying training videos for two hours and now does combinations of the characteristics of the slope and possible distances between the gates. “It’s similar to Val d’Isere“, he explains to the winner of six races this season. In the end, ski-tech Edi Unterberg, a luminary, will prepare 4 models of the ATOMIC D2 RACE GS series for the race and this will take until the wee hours of the morning. Amount of work for each pair: three hours. There will be only little time left this night to sleep. Marcel Hirscher is leaving the table when telling his dad, “Also have the 33 prepared, please.“ The senior nods and then leaves the team restaurant with two sandwiches for Edi Unterberger.


The therapy was worth it – the blockade in Hirscher’s left knee is gone. Marcel Hirscher has already arrived in his room 222 in the Strazhite hotel for the race checkup. MTV is on, you hear it in the room. The race suit with the code 0505/11 is turned inside out on a clothes hook. Marcel Hirscher will wear “only the very sheer protection top“ despite of forecasted minus 18 degrees. He puts the custom-made underarm protectors made of carbon, the lamellar back protector and his yellow ATOMIC helmet next to it. He contently takes a photo of his race outfit and then posts it on Facebook.


Something quite strange happens next: Marcel Hirscher puts on super-sheer socks. On his hands: He does not want to leave any fingerprints when changing the orange lenses of two of his ATOMIC RACE goggles. He explains smiling, “It is always quite an adventure to remove the plastic sheet with socks.” He still needs to get his ATOMIC backpack ready – with everything he needs for the race: outer garments, green hoods, sunglasses, the charger for his i-Phone. All right. He’s done. He shuts down his laptop. 23 minutes ago he posted on Facebook. 690 people have „liked“ it so far and 90 comments and good wishes can already be read. This racer has almost mastered all tasks necessary on the evening before a race.