JAN 14, 2019
Every weekend the World Championship season is increasing speed and dynamics. The classic races are the backdrop to fight for World Championship places, and also for the constant, regular showdowns of the best Slalom and Giant Slalom skiers in the world. The man who needs to be beaten has been the same for years: Marcel Hirscher. Are the competitors getting closer to beating him!? No! But it seems to be the case. Marcel Hirscher himself, is skiing his first runs, as if he could have done with another espresso, and is giving ski racing a fine storyboard in January. Until he gets together with his team of chief strategists in the break, and then changes the complete setup every time and shows, with his decision, who is the greatest skier ever. Marcel is making a hero’s journey out of his wins. In Adelboden he won his 66th and 67th World Cup races.
It’s not only just about winning on the slopes. With the Slalom in Adelboden there have already been 38 wins to be had this season. 19, exactly half of them, have gone to Atomic. The closest ski brand behind them only has 6 wins. Just an indicator that Atomic’s dominance as a winning brand obviously has lots of components. Christian Höflehner, Atomic’s Global Race Manager is keeping a close eye on the ideal conditions in the Atomic universe: absolute commitment, joint vision and team spirit are the absolute priority. “And to get back to the great Hirscher weekend in Adelboden: the decisive thing happens, after Marcel has skied his first run,” said Höflehner.
THE GREATEST INTELLIGENCE IN SKIING HISTORY
comes together when a group of experts, Marcel Hirscher’s closest trusted crew, get together briefly at the workbench of the Hirscher service team Thomas Graggaber and Lukas Rottinger, just like in Adelboden. Ferdinand Hirscher, Atomic coordinator Andreas Dudek, boot genius Hannes Holzmann and the service guys; and Christian Höflehner isn’t even there himself or in constant contact with the Atomic crew for Marcel’s setup.
Höflehner: “As we’ve been practicing this for years now a huge knowledge hub has been built up especially for changing material at the last minute. Years ago athletes used to do this out of desperation, but Marcel has often done this, as he simply never likes to leave anything to chance. If changing something between the runs doesn’t unsettle him, but spurs him on even more, then it’s a chance for him to focus and release more energy before the decisive run. Just like a pit stop before the final stages of a Grand Prix.”
Marcel showed this in Zagreb and in Adelboden twice. Every time after the first run it looked like this would be the big day for one of his competitors. Then after the second run it was clear that, sorry, it’s not going to be this time, but maybe next time.”
However Marcel’s team mates don’t get put off by this (but get a kick from it instead!). Höflehner: “What Marco Schwarz demonstrated this time by skiing brilliantly in the GS is absolutely amazing, even if he didn’t manage it twice. And the same goes for Manuel Feller. The speed is definitely there, he was a little bit off form, but is definitely worth a place on the podium any time.” This is also true for Atomic’s youngster Elias Kolega, who delivered his best result with 6th place in Adelboden.