Val d’Isere Val Gardena Alta Badia
Massimiliano gives his ski lip service after the Alta Badia GS.
20 | Ski Racing JANUARY 7, 2010
exited the super G course, Heel to be sidelined through the holidays by a left
So the Italians got a podium from an unexpected source as Patrick Stau-
dacher produced his first career top three, not two 10ths of a second from
the win. It was Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway’s master, with the win, his first
of the season. Between them was Switzerland’s Carlo Janka, firmly rebound-
ing from a three-and-out performance in France to notch his first World Cup
super G podium.
With Ted Ligety sidelined because of a stomach virus that had him “puking a
lot” (as he said), the American men had Bode Miller in fifth, a strong result on
a bum ankle with an early start down a notoriously dark race hill.
“Bode attacked from top to bottom,” said coach Sasha Rearick. “To see him
come out in the dark light and chuck ‘em down there was great.”
Equally encouraging for the coach was a 15th-place result from Andrew
Weibrecht on a glide-favoring track. It was “not his bread-and-butter kind of
course,” as Rearick explained it. Erik Fisher had a huge mistake high on the
course, but recovered, stuck with it and scored in 27th to the delight of the
coach. Marco Sullivan started “in the right direction,” getting 21st.
The Canadians put Erik Guay in seventh and Robbie Dixon in eighth and
lost Francois Bourque to a left knee injury. Manuel Osborne-Paradis tacked
on a 17th-place result, but he was just warming up.
In the next day’s downhill, without question the marquee event for Val Gar-
dena, “Manimal” Osborne-Paradis got a little push from a tailwind and a
touch angry from an early mistake.
“I had a crucial error,” he said, “I thought I might have lost up to half a sec-
ond, so I took a lot of risks the rest of the way.”
Having been among the very fastest before his mistake and going very
straight after it paid off, though on a funky, slow feeling surface, Osborne-
Paradis later said he couldn’t tell how he was doing.
“I was really shocked I was first,” he said. “It didn’t feel that great.” It was his
third career win, and his second this season.
Second went to Mario Scheiber, marking the seventh time the Austrian has
finished a Cup race in the bridesmaid spot without collecting a win. Swit-
Carlo Janka, Aksel Lund Svindal and Patrick
Staudacher top the Val Gardena super G podium.
zerland’s Ambrosi Hoffmann and Frenchman Johan Clarey tied for third, a
quarter of a second off the time of Osborne-Paradis. None of them has ever
recorded a Cup win.
The Canadians also got sixth place from Dixon, and his placing might have
been better save for a mistake at the 1: 30 mark of the two-minute course.
“Technically, Robbie’s skiing better than anyone,” Osborne-Paradis said. Guay
chipped in 11th, rounding out a strong showing.
While the day didn’t live up to last season’s Val Gardena performance, when
the U.S. men set a record with five in the top 10, it wasn’t that bad either.
Bode Miller finished ninth, Marco Sullivan 12th, Steven Nyman 18th and Erik
Fisher 19th. Scott Macartney in 23rd and Andrew Weibrecht 24th padded the
U.S. point total.
“There are two ingredients you need, besides your skiing, to win here,” said
Miller, listing fast skis and the right start position — the latter being a factor
one can only determine in retrospect. Bibs six, eight and nine all made the
podium. “That little stretch of guys had favorable conditions,” he said with
a hint of a laugh. “[Didier] Cuche said he skied well, I skied error free and
[Michael] Walchhofer said he couldn’t have skied any better and we’re all a
Coach Rearick said he figured getting six in the top 24 was “a lot better than
we have been doing,” and concluded he was generally pleased with the effort
of his racers.
“They were more relaxed and also attacked the hill more,” he said. Having
a couple of strong performances from racers returning from injury was nice,
too. He said Steven Nyman was “feeling the hill, feeling the skis.” And Scott
Macartney “found the gas pedal today,” said Rearick. “He attacked the hill and
it was really great to see him charging the mountain.”
The day was a disaster for the host Italians. Heel didn’t start, revealing his
injury from the super G, and the top team finisher was Dominik Paris in
Salvation would lie just over the mountain.
Alta Badia is a GS skier’s GS hill. It’s gnarly, exhilarating big-league ski rac-
ing. And the Italian team is loaded with GS skiers. For Massimiliano Blar-