Kitzbühel Madness

Only one week ago we were seeing history in Wengen as Head swept the podium in the Men’s World Cup Downhill race. For Beat Feuz, the win was a dream come true, taking the top podium spot in his home country ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal and Matthias Mayer. But as soon as the day passed the focus immediately shifted to an even bigger stage: Kitzbühel. There is an incredible history of the famous Hahnenkahmm and many racers arrive with mixed feelings of excitement and fear. It’s the most famous race in World Cup skiing, but it is also one of the most difficult and dangerous.

For the whole week leading up to the weekend, organizers dealt with blistery snow conditions that made training for the racers tough. After the first training on Tuesday, racers complained of a bumpy track and long and high jumps. The second training on Wednesday was canceled and again due to weather, Thursday provided only a shortened training.

On Friday the race weekend opened with the Super G. Again conditions were not ideal. Snow fell at the top and rain fell in the lower parts. This softened the course, thus forcing the race organizer to move the start of the race to the Mausefalle with the finish at the Oberhausberg.

Two years ago, Aksel Lund Svindal had a big crash on the Streif but on Friday it was time for revenge. By the finish, he took the win ahead of fellow Rebels Kjetil Jansrud and Matthias Mayer sweeping the podium twice in two weekends. Adrien Theaux and Beat Feuz also had great runs finishing in fifth and sixth place.

KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 19: Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Super G on January 19, 2018 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom)

KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 19: Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Super G on January 19, 2018 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by Hans Bezard/Agence Zoom)

The highlight of the weekend is always the downhill on Saturday and it was Beat Feuz with an almost perfect run down the famous track. The board was green when the Swiss Rebel crossed the finish line putting him in the first position. He almost looked like the winner but later in the race, the weather cleared up a bit leaving perfect conditions for the young German racer Thomas Dressen, who was +0.20 faster winning his first World Cup race putting Beat Feuz into second place.

KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 20: Beat Feuz of Switzerland takes 2nd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom)

KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 20: Beat Feuz of Switzerland takes 2nd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom)

KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA – JANUARY 20: Beat Feuz of Switzerland competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom)

Putting all the attention to Kitzbühel is good for the men, but meanwhile, the women were even more successful in Cortina d’Ampezzo with Lindsey Vonn winning the downhill and Lara Gut winning Super G; her first top finish of the season. After a crazy two weeks, the Rebels head into the last two weeks before the Olympics with the men in Garmisch and the women in Lenzerheide and Garmisch the following week. Go Rebels!

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 21: Lara Gut of Switzerland competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Super G on January 21, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 21: Lara Gut of Switzerland takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Super G on January 21, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 20: Lindsey Vonn of USA competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 20: Lindsey Vonn of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 20: Lindsey Vonn of USA takes 1st place, Jacqueline Wiles of USA takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 20: Lindsey Vonn of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 20, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 19: Lindsey Vonn of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 19, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 19: Lindsey Vonn of USA inspects the course during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 19, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY – JANUARY 18: Lindsey Vonn of USA A general view during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill Training on January 18, 2018 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

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