Yalcin Ademoglu is this week’s guide through the sporting winter wonderland and the 11th episode of Gravity.
On Sunday in Japan, the German skier Felix Neureuther recorded his first win of the season so we begin our resume with the slalom at Japan’s Yuzawa Naeba.
Like father like son will be written in the history books after Felix Neurether’s win at Yuzawa Naeba. 41-years ago his father stood on the podium here and now his son has matched his feat. The German skier edged out Sweden’s Andre Myhrer for his first slalom World Cup win of the season, while Austrian Marco Schwarz finished third.
Neureuther, who was fifth after the first run, clocked a time of 56.96 seconds in the second run to finish 0.05 seconds ahead of Myhrer.
Overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher was disqualified for straddling a gate in the first run, while Myhrer moved up to 19th in the leaderboard with his first podium since December.
Next week the men’s competition returns to Europe and, most notably, to Chamonix after a four year absence. It’s the setting for a combined and downhill battle on the legendary piste called “la Verte des Houches”; our skiing expert Franck Piccard shared the secrets of the slopes.
Franck Piccard: Its profile is quite unlike any other because you go down with fairly easy bends, then you arrive at an immense turning with a jump – I still remember it. It’s very, very sudden. Then there’s a really difficult technical part with banked bends, very closed bends which lead onto exceptional jumps again. There are jumps in the centre of the slope which aren’t that dangerous but they are very impressive. And then, the end of the route is very difficult to ski because it’s both very banked and bumpy. So, in that section, there are great differences in time. That’s the magic of Les Houches right there!
At the Summit
On Sunday heavy snowfall forced the postponement of the women’s downhill at Crans-Montana. So the battle for victory between Lindsey Vonn, Lara Gut and Viktoria Rebensburg will continue next weekend at La Thuile in Italy.
Snow clearers were perhaps the busiest people on the Swiss slopes on Sunday as snowfall overnight and in the morning left the racing piste covered and its continuation meant no action could safely take place.
Let’s look back now at 1987 and the World Championships held at Crans Montana. At home the Swiss outclassed the competition to collect 8 out of ten titles!
A symbol of an almost unrivaled domination: Pirmin Zurbriggen, winner of two gold medals and two silvers; Maria Walliser, triumphant in the downhill and Super-G, and then Erika Hess, winner of the slalom and the combined. The champion of Engelberg had already done better at Schladming five years ago by winning the Giant to grab an incredible triple. In 1987, at the tender age of 25, Erika Hess decided to end her career after 31 World Cup victories but without any Olympic success.