This weekend’s men’s FIS Alpine World Cup speed events were dominated by three countries: Norway, Switzerland, and Austria. After Friday’s downhill event had to be postponed due to heavy snowfall, the races kicked off on Saturday, November 26, 2022. The men’s downhill event was won by defending downhill champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, ending his Lake Louise drought. The Norwegian Kilde has raced 13 times at Lake Louise but has never won until now. This takes some pressure off Kilde, who was quoted as saying: “Coming off a really good season last year and taking the globe comes with a lot of pressure. So winning the first race is always nice. You know the speed is there, and you are doing something right and can just keep going.”
Second place went to Austria’s Daniel Hemetsberger, who was not one of the favorites in the Austrian team. Those were last year’s Lake Louise Gold and Silver medal winners, Matthias Mayer and Vincent Kriechmayr, who placed fourth and eleventh, respectively. Hemetsberger only has one other podium finish to his name from Kitzbühel’s famous Streif race earlier this year, where he had placed third. Hemetsberger admits his surprise, stating in an interview with FIS, “I am also really surprised. I had a good preparation this summer ahead of these races. I didn’t think I was fast enough for a podium. But today, it went really well, and I am happy.”
Third place in Saturday’s downhill went to young gun Marco Odermatt from Switzerland. The 25-year-old is usually known for his strength in Giant Slalom, where he won Gold in the Beijing Olympics this year and holds eight World Cup titles. “It is a great result for me. Downhill is very different to giant slalom so it is nice to be on the podium in downhill again. It was a very good run on my side. I was not super-fast in the last split, and that is probably where I lost the victory,” said Odermatt after his 100th World Cup race.
On Sunday, the only Super-G event was held at Lake Louise. The other planned Super-G race had to be scrapped in favor of Friday’s postponed Downhill race.
Sunday’s winner was Switzerland’s, Marco Odermatt.
Silver went to defending Super-G champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Bronze to Olympic Super-G winner Matthias Mayer from Austria.
This is Odermatt’s fifth World Cup victory in Super-G and a great redemption from his Olympic debacle, where he was a favorite but missed a gate and did not finish the Super-G. He has had a great start to the World Cup season, making it three for three podiums so far after winning Gold in Sölden in his strongest discipline, Giant-Slalom, a couple of weeks ago.
It is great to see the World Cup Season in full swing after a few cancelations in late October and early November. Criticism had been raised at the president of the International Ski & Snowboard Federation’ FIS’, billionaire businessman Johan Eliasch, for pushing some early events on the World Cup agenda in light of global concerns around climate change and rising energy prices. One can only open the remainder of the season will go ahead as planned, but bad weather can always force last-minute cancelations, as seen last Friday in Lake Louise.