One podium finish, one big headache, and a whole lot of experiences
The highlight of the second overseas World Cup weekend in Stöckli’s view was Viktoria Rebensburg’s podium finish in the Super G at Lake Louise, Canada. Ilka Stuhec is back, Urs Kryenbühl had some good fortune, and – in non-World Cup news – Nils Mani sparkling.
After a DNF in the giant slalom in Killington, it was not a given that the results from both downhill races at Lake Louise would leave Viktoria Rebensburg leaping in jubilation. In the final overseas race, however, the situation for the Stöckli skier from Bavaria totally changed in such a way that the mood on the flight back to Europe was going to be a lot more pleasant. In the Super G at Lake Louise, only Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) and Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) were faster than Stöckli’s 20-year-old racer. “That was a good, solid run”, said Rebensburg about her performance that gave her a podium finish for the sixth time in her World Cup career. “On the upper section, it was going quite well, although I lost a bit of time below. There was still a little buffer from the top.” Rebensburg regarded her No. 1 starting position in the race in Canada’s Banff National Park pretty casually. That wasn’t always so, she says: “That’s true that earlier I totally hated the No. 1 spot in the Super G. Slowly, though, it’s become my favorite number.” For good reason. Without the data from other skiers’ experiences, she could just ski boom-boom-boom without all that information and just do her thing on the run. And she did this splendidly in Lake Louise.
After more than a year’s break due to injury (cruciate ligament tear), Ilka Stuhec also kicked right back in at the World Cup. This speed specialist was nervous before the first training runs and spoke about how she had “survived” them. After the first three races with sixth and 14th places in the downhills respectively plus 10th place in the Super G, the Slovenian was happy to be back in business. “I am pleased to be racing again. I haven’t had any huge results, but I have still placed reasonably well”, said the 28-year-old 2017 downhill world champion.
Other Stöckli women racers, led by Jasmine Flury and Laurenne Ross, lagged behind their own expectations in the races at Lake Louise. They are hoping for improvement when the World Cup continues on European slopes.
The results of the “Stöckli men” were dominated by Swiss speed specialist Urs Kryenbühl’s crash. The skier from Schwyz -- the day prior finishing 25th in the downhill at Beaver Creek -- caught a gate and crashed head over heels on the run. Kryenbühl had a bit of luck in his misfortune and walked away with a concussion and a bad tibial contusion. Nevertheless: “My left knee also took part of it. After returning to Switzerland, I’ll have an MRI and get it all clarified to see if everything is OK”, said Kryenbühl.
Marco Odermatt, on whose shoulders rested the biggest hopes for the Stöckli team, took 25th in the downhill and 27th in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek and a few World Cup points. “I noticed that my strength was waning after three intense weeks in the United States. But I have learned a lot from it all and gained a few new insights”, said the six-time Junior World Champion in an interview with Swiss TV.
Other positive news came in non-World Cup announcements. Nils Mani, who suffered a cruciate ligament tear and meniscus injury last March in the Kvitfjell World Cup downhill, is racing again. In Val Gardena (ITA) on the weekend, the racer from Switzerland’s Bernese Highlands won not one but two FIS downhills. The 26-year-old wants to fight his way via the European Cup circuit, back into the elite ranks, i.e. the World Cup.