NOV 19, 2018
Now it’s nearly official for the competitors: you wouldn’t notice that the current Alpine stars have had a break from the racing action. Marcel Hirscher and Mikaela Shiffrin are preparing to dictate the World Championship winter 2018/19 from the top again. In Levi, Finland, the Redster rockets carved their way to their respective 3rd slalom win in a row and 3rd win in the Arctic Circle since 2013 and 2016.
In windy and spring-like temperatures Mikaela skied away from all her rivals and any self-doubt, making it slalom win number 33 for her, only two more separate her from her idol Marlies Schild. “I flew over from Colorado very last minute, and was still suffering from jetlag. There were moments of uncertainty, even in the race. But despite a bit of a shock at the top I never stopped fighting. Now the win feels great.” she said, as she hugged her new reindeer “Mr. Gru” and flew back by private jet to start preparing for her home races in Killington (GS on Saturday, slalom on Sunday) with her new service man Johann Strobl.
At “half-time” in Levi Mikaela had a phenomenal lead, and in the end she still led a very happy result for the Redster team. Katharina Gallhuber delivered a strong performance, 7th place, despite a steep slope in the final; and the new Atomic rookies Marina Wallner (9th after the 1st run) and Magdalena Fjällström (11th) showed their potential right away in 14th and 21st place respectively. The Swede delivered her best performance since 2014, and Katharina Huber rounded off the kick start in 20th place (12th at half time).
MARCEL COUNTERED THE ATTACK WITH THE NEXT REDSTER EVOLUTION
In the first men’s slalom of the season three Redster racers came in the Top 10. Manuel Feller (9th) and Marco Schwarz (10th) struggled with their mistakes, but Marcel Hirscher carved his way to his 59th World Cup win and third reindeer (“Mr. Snow”) delivering the fastest runs twice unperturbed by the lack of snow and fatherhood. “He’s definitely had 20 days less training and testing than his competitors. But he still managed to deliver: just unbelievable! Based on their performance in training we could have hoped for a bit more from Manuel and Marco “, summed up Atomic Race Director Christian Höflehner, whose crew had to cope with unexpected icy conditions after the temperature dropped by more than eight degrees. Marcel solved the problem by changing to a new generation of Redster skis in the final. Höflehner: “Changing the material was the right decision. This helped him to ingeniously counter the attack from Henrik Kristoffersen: actually that was a repeat of last season.
Henrik had a great run, where nobody thought it could be beaten. Then Marcel comes along and proves just the opposite.”
The World Cup leader, Hirscher, is taking off for Colorado on Monday, where the speed season kicks off in Lake Louise this weekend with a downhill and super G.