OCT 19, 2020
New season, new shooting star. While the boisterous crowd was absent from this year’s World Cup opener in Sölden, one guy had every reason to scream for joy: Redster millennial Lucas Braathen impressively took home his first World Cup win on the bumpy course on Rettenbachferner glacier. His victory was a prime example of team building in a sport that is mostly known for lone fighters. Even though Overall Word Cup winner and Atomic buddy Aleksander Aamodt Kilde DNF the first run (after best split time), he decided to stay and support his roommate Lucas, giving him the all-important insider tip on which ski to take in run two …
Just as a quick reminder to all who are dissatisfied with their performance: The material always makes a difference, but often team spirit also determines victory or defeat. That has been the key success factor at Atomic – before and during the era of Marcel Hirscher just as nowadays. So this new winter when so much is different due to COVID-19 again starts with an Atomic highlight.
BUDDY STRATEGY IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC
Indeed, Overall World Cup Winner Aleksander Aamodt Kilde’s demonstration of how good a GS racer he is only lasted until the first (and best) split time. Despite DNFing, in the end he still cheered like a winner, applauding buddy Lucas Braathen on his unsurprising victory. Atomic Race Manager Christian Höflehner: “His technical skills, his energy, his drive: Lucas is only 20 years old, he’s raced 22 World Cup races and succeeded in his 23rd. That says it all, in his first race on this course, extremely calm and cool – we will surely have lots of fun with him in the future.” Joy is a big theme in the Atomic team where friendship and competition are no contradiction.
THE WORLD CUP KING’S INSIDE TIP
For his first run Lucas picked a new generation Redster GS model – a ski that “was a good choice for the first run, but possibly not the ideal pick for the second run,” according to team boss Höflehner. What happened then is a prime example of great teamwork: Overall World Cup winner Kilde had specifically stayed up at the glacier to support his buddy Braathen. In between runs the two athletes and their service guys Tom Bürgler and Tor Schjetne stuck their heads together, and Aleksander recommended another Atomic ski. No sooner said than done – Lucas succeeded.
ATOMIC LADIES HAPPY WITH SEASON KICK OFF
In view of the circumstances regarding COVID-19 and in absence of Mikaela Shiffrin (back problems), the women’s Redster team was also happy with their start of the World Cup season. Sofia Goggia finished in strong 6th place, Stephanie Brunner finished 17th after a very long injury related break, and Ekaterina Tkachenko and Esther Ledecka also skied into the top 20 with personal bests in GS.
The World Cup is scheduled to continue in Lech, Austria, for parallel GS events in mid-November. However, it’s not easy to make plans these days and the season remains challenging due to COVID-19.