Welcome to Gravity, our weekly magazine dedicated to Alpine skiing.
We begin our round-up with a look at action from the women’s World Cup competition.
Sunday’s slalom was won, again, by Mikaela Shiffrin. The American Olympic and World Champion continued her good form from Saturday as she collected her third World Cup win of the winter.
Slovakia’s Veronika Zuzulova was second with the Czech Sarka Strachova third.
But the major talking point was the slip-up of Slovenia’s Tina Maze as her Maribor homecoming ended up being a weekend to forget as she failed to score any points.
The Slovenian World Cup leader crashed out of the giant downhill on day one and then straddled a gate on Sunday. Her lead at the top of the overall standings is now just 84 points.
Matthias Mayer is celebrating being back on top of the podium. Starved of success since the start of the season, the Austrian has notched up back-to-back wins in the Super-G at Saalbach.
The Olympic downhill champion finally his mark on the World Cup with victory in both races on home snow. Mayer, a speed specialist, was a surprise gold medalist in Sochi last year and has only triumphed once in the World Cup. But Sunday saw him set the record straight with his first Super-G win to add to his downhill triumph the previous day.
Our skiing expert Franck Piccard finished third in the Super-G at Saalbach in the 1991 World Championships.
Then, as now, it was impossible to obtain good results without good material and that means having perfectly prepared skis, as he explained to euronews sport: “There are several phenomena with skiing. The first, is what we call the heel structure. That means heels are shaped like tyre-tracks or treads; they’re not perfectly smooth. You need the snow or humidity to escape. So we make shapes in the heel, that why it’s called the structure. If you don’t have a good one then nothing will happen!”
“Then, there’s ski wax. It’s a thin coat of paraffin which goes on the structure, so it’s important to choose the right kind for the right snow and the right temperature. Between the start and the end of the race, you have to find a wax with the right balance that enables you to get down the slope as quickly as possible,” said Piccard.
On February 3, 1956 Toni Sailer guaranteed his departure from Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo with two medals around his neck. The Kitzbuhel-born skier won the Giant at the Olympic Games with a six second margin over his closest rival and a four second advantage in the slalom. The downhill became a formality as he beat Switzerland Raymond Fellay by 3.5 seconds. It was an unprecedented treble which earned him the title of the greatest sporting Austrian of the 20th century.
Next weekend will see the men’s compete in Germany at the Bavarian station of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The women will be at Bansko in Bulgaria and we’ll bring you a round of all the action, here on Gravity.