Perfect opener – Marco Odermatt kicks it off with a win
Marco Odermatt wins the season opener in Sölden; Rasmus Windingstad in 10th delivers his best finish to-date on Stöckli skis; Andrea Ellenberger collects points on her comeback. One good weekend for Stöckli.
Stöckli head of racing, Beni Matti had spoken prior to the season opener in Sölden of a “small but extremely fine” team. And a look back at the first racing weekend of the Alpine World Cup proved him right. Really fine was for example the performance of Marco Odermatt on the Rettenbach glacier Sölden. Even afterward when he reported a “jolting piste,” he was still the fastest of all skiers on Sunday. With this victory – his fifth in the World Cup – the 24-year-old from Nidwalden made a perfect start to the winter – one in which he envisions winning the big crystal globe after taking second overall the prior year.
Indeed, Odermatt made clear with his strong first place after a second last year that he didn’t come to Sölden to get just fifth or maybe seventh. In third behind Austrian Roland Leitinger and world champion Mathieu Faivre, he created the ideal position. Faivre fell behind on the board, and Leitinger had to relent his top position to Odermatt who skied faster on the course flagged directly by his trainer Helmut Krug. The first 100 World Cup points are already in Odermatt’s pocket after the first race. “That is of course a fantastic start to the season,” he said. He even had to complete his second run with a hand-drawn number 7 on his chest after losing his bib. “The previous year I barely lost the victory to Lucas Braathen. Today I had the hundredth-luck on my side.”
Rasmus Windingstad was the second Stöckli skier on the starting line on Sunday. And the 27-year-old also checked off a super opener in Austria to the Olympic winter. It’s been a bit since the Norwegian had skied into the top 10. After the first run at Sölden, it appeared he wouldn’t find success at the 2021-22 season opener, too. But on the board Windingstad had a run with a time that could only beaten be countryman Lucas Braathen. And this was only thanks to Windingstad’s radio messages noting that Braathen changed his approach on the second run slightly. “It’s fun to be on the Norwegian team. Next time maybe Braathen will help me,” said Windingstad.
Among the women, Andrea Ellenberger collected her first World Cup points of the season in her comeback race with 24th place after overcoming an ACL injury. Still, the skier from Hergiswil wasn’t completely pleased after the race. The reason: A mistake on coming out of the scarp probably cost the 28-year-old a better place. “In an hour I’ll probably be super happy with my performance though. My predefined goal wasn’t points. I just wanted to be at the start and have fun.”
On the other hand, Jasmina Suter and Vivianne Härri had to start their homeward journey without points or qualifying for the second run. “It was not satisfying for me. I was ready, well prepared, and was not able to show what I really could do,” summarized the 22-year-old Härri about her somewhat disappointing second World Cup start of her career. She said she was however happy that she would now have time to train seriously for the start of the Europa Cup season which starts the end of November in Trysil (NOR).