Marco Odermatt – picking up where he left off

The winter 2023/24 season is underway for the Stöckli athletes. And there has already been success.

Marco Odermatt – picking up where he left off

The season started again on 9 December 2023, not even nine months after it finished. Marco Odermatt kicked off the (delayed) start of the season in Val d’Isère just as he ended the 2022/23 giant slalom season in Soldeu: at the top of the rankings. It was his 24th World Cup victory, his 15th in the giant slalom, and his third in a row on the difficult “Face de Bellevarde” course. Odermatt needed to show his appetite for risk, his technical ability and his tactical nous. The man from Nidwalden didn't deliver a faultless performance, but it was still a very confident race.

Odermatt has the ability to correct mistakes and get back on track after incidents. And this is the track to success: Odermatt has finished on the podium at each of the last 20 giant slaloms (World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Games). Odermatt’s dominance in the core discipline of ski racing is underlined by the fact that it was the 15th time he has started the second run of a World Cup giant slalom as the leader, and it was the 13th time that he has won the race.

“It was incredibly difficult. I had my first shock just above the fourth gate, and after that I made two or three small mistakes. I did pretty well halfway down the second run where it’s a bit nicer to turn,” said Odermatt when analyzing his performance on Swiss television. He was happy with his preparation and after the first run of the cancelled race in Sölden, but he was aware that something else was missing. Unfortunately, circumstances meant he didn't get the chance to make the corresponding corrections. “The last two days of training were very important. I was able to build up my confidence and now I’m very happy that it worked out.”

But Odermatt was not the only Stöckli racer to pick up points in France. Sandro Zurbrügg, from the Bernese Oberland, competed in the World Cup for the first time and finished in 17th place. “Even though it was my first World Cup race, I wasn't super nervous. But I was definitely a bit tense before my second run,” said the 21-year-old. “The first run was difficult, but I tried to stay on line as much as possible. My goal in the second run was not just to get down the run and finish thirtieth. But I didn't go flat out in terms of risk either.” In addition to Odermatt and Zurbrügg, Rasmus Windingstad (18th) and Thomas Tumler (20th) also picked up World Cup points.

The Europa Cup also started at the weekend, with Janine Schmitt and Marco Fischbacher both finishing third in the giant slalom in Zinal. Nicole Good also finished third in the slalom in Mayrhofen (AUT).

It was a turbulent start to the Ski Cross World Cup in Val Thorens (FRA). The weather played a significant part in the qualification for the first men's race, so the field of participants in the knockout rounds was completely unexpected. As such, Gil Martin, from the Bernese Oberland, managed to qualify for a small final in the World Cup for the first time. Martin finished in 7th place behind two Austrians. In the second race, Tobias Baur (5th) and Jonas Lenherr (10th) got two top placings for Stöckli.

In the women's event, Daniela Maier’s first World Cup win naturally trumped everything else. The German not only beat Sandra Naeslund, who has dominated this event, but she also confidently kept all the other favorites at bay on Friday. She then finished ninth on Sunday. Marielle Thompson (5th and 8th), Talina Gantenbein (6th) and Margaux Dumont (10th) also finished in the top ten in either or both of the races.

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