Val Gardena, Italy, provided the beautiful backdrop to a highly competitive men’s World Cup downhill.
Christmas came early for Austria’s Max Franz as he outpaced a ski legend to win his first ever World Cup race.
Chasing the time set by Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, Franz had the crowd gasping as he overturned the lead of the Norwegian 0.41 seconds.
Svindal an Olympic gold medalist and the first male alpine racer to win titles in four consecutive world championships thought he had done enough to claim the prize as most of his rivals had already descended.
Then came Franz to pinch an exhilarating win.
Third place went to Steven Nyman the American is really making a name for himself.
The men’s tour ups sticks to Alta Badia, one valley away, for Sunday’s giant slalom and parallel giant slalom on Monday evening.