Near Misses, Terminators, and a US Podium — Kitzbühel Men’s FIS Alpine World Cup Recap

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde almost wiped out on Friday at the Hahnenkamm | Picture: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde Instagram Page

Another busy World Cup weekend, and what a weekend it was. In Kitzbühel, Austria, the Men were competing in two Downhill races on the famous Hahnenkamm course, often referred to as “The Streif,” and one Slalom race. The Streif is known as the most difficult and dangerous Downhill course on the World Cup circuit, and Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde fractured his hand in training on Thursday. Conditions on Friday were tough with fog and fresh snow, and Kilde openly admits his hand was hurting. Whatever it was, Friday was not Kilde’s day as he flew almost sideways down the course, narrowly avoiding a crash and finishing in a disappointing 16th place. Similarly, FIS World Cup Overall point leader Marco Odermatt from Switzerland struggled with the course on Friday and nearly crashed but managed to finish the course.

Kitzbuehel 2023
Friday’s Downhill podium: 1st Vincent Kriechmayr, 2nd Florian Schnieder, 3rd Niels Hintermann | Picture: Florian Schnieder Instagram Page

With the two favorites out of the way, it was a clean sweep for Austria’s speed specialist Vincent Kriechmayr, who skied to his 15th World Cup victory. Second place went to Florian Schieder from Italy, an unknown face on the podium, as it was his first World Cup podium ever. Schieder’s previous PB was 13th place, so the 27-year-old was delighted, humbly saying when interviewed, “It’s not a normal thing for me. I’m really, really excited. My run was really good.” Third place went to Niels Hintermann from Switzerland, who narrowly pipped Team USA skier Jared Goldberg by 0.04 seconds from claiming his first career podium. It is Goldberg’s best-ever World Cup finish after 146 World Cup starts, of which he can still be incredibly proud.

Austrian-born Terminator actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger giving the thumbs up to Team USA skier Jared Goldberg | Picture: Jared Goldberg Instagram Page

Jared Goldberg was raring to give the podium another go on Saturday, but the American crashed into the nets close to the finish line, groaning in frustration and possibly some pain, as he was initially holding his knee. He admits to being quite sore, but he is optimistic he will be “good to go” in a few days. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, however, came back from Friday’s disappointment to show just why he is currently the top-ranked Downhill skier with 620 points in front of Kriechmayr with 464 points, putting down a thrilling run and claiming 1st place for Team Norway. Switzerland’s speed expert Marco Odermatt did not start to defend his Overall World Cup leadership position on Saturday and decided to rest.

Saturday’s Downhill podium: 1st Aleksander Kilde, 2nd Johan Clarey, 3rd Travis Ganong | Picture: Hahnenkammrennen Instagram Page

Second-placed Johan Clarey clocked up his 11th career World Cup podium. The 42-year-old also became the oldest-ever podium winner in a World Cup event. The Frenchman is beating his record for this title for the second year running and keeps doing so on the world-famous Hahnenkamm course. Johan Clarey was also the oldest Olympic Alpine Skiing medalist when he won Silver in Beijing’s Winter Olympics. 3rd place went to Team USA skier Travis Ganong, who celebrated his 6th career podium. Meanwhile, Italy’s Mattia Casse, who had claimed his first two career podiums earlier this season, missed out on the podium by a fraction of 0.04 seconds.

Sunday’s Slalom race was won by Switzerland’s Daniel Yule, who won for the second time in his career at Kitzbühel’s famous hill. Second place went to Dave Ryding from the UK. The Brit made history last year, being the first-ever British skier to win a World Cup event. It is his first podium this season and an excellent return for him to Kitzbühel, where he clocked the fastest run of the day with his second Slalom run. Third place went to Lucas Braathen from Norway, who won his 5th podium of the season at only 22 years. Fourth place by a mere 0.01 seconds went to Germany’s Linus Strasser, who had been placed in third after the first run, and he admitted, “I don’t think a fourth place in a World Cup has ever hurt this much.” Jared Goldberg and Mattia Casse can surely commiserate.

Kitzbuehel Slalom 2023
Sunday’s Slalom Podium: 1st Daniel Yule, 2nd Dave Ryding, 3rd Lucas Braathen | Picture: Hahnenkammrennen Instagram Page

The three-day event in Austria is always a highlight of the World Cup circuit, partly due to the difficulty of the course but also due to the incredible atmosphere and wild after-parties in Kitzbühel. An estimated 85,000 spectators came to watch the world’s best skiers battle it out for the deer-shaped trophy — ‘Kitz’ is the German word for ‘fawn.’ The event regularly attracts A-list celebrities, and this year we spotted, amongst others, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Vonn, and TikTok celebrity Khaby.

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