Raich. Ligety, thanks to hiking in the slalom, hung in for a top- 10 combined
Felix Neureuther snared his career-first win in the slalom, adding his name
to that of his father, Christian, on the Kitzbuehel roll of honor. Christian won
the same race 31 years ago.
Julien Lizeroux and Guiliano Razzoli rounded out the slalom podium, surviving the difficult course when first run leaders Manfred Moelgg and Reinfried Herbst were relegated to hiking after missing gates.
Bode Miller scratched from the race when his sore ankle flared up and Ted
Ligety, “got shot out right before the roll and had no snow contact right at that
gate,” according to Rearick. Until that mishap, Ligety was in contention. Also
in contention was Canadian Mike Janyk, nailing the second run and moving
to fifth on the day. It turned out to be an epic day for the Canadians, putting
four men into the top 15 for the first time ever in a World Cup slalom: Julien
Cousineau 11th, Brad Spence 12th and Trevor White 14th.
“Everyone that went to the start gate is capable of winning,” said Canadian
technical coach John Crichton. “It’s just a matter of all the pieces falling together.”
There was plenty of excitement in the U.S. camp as well with Nolan Kasper,
a 20-year-old who arrived at midnight before the race straight from a Europa
Cup stint, dazzled in making it to the second run, then hooked a gate and
hiked to get the finish. “That was a fantastic effort,” said an impressed Rearick, “especially on this hill.”
Schladming, Jan. 26
But there was another hill on the horizon and one where the crowd is at
least as fever-pitched as that of Kitzbuehel. The Schladming night race, held
on a Tuesday night on the outskirts of the Austrian city, attracts 50,000
spectators who pack into a stadium that seats a fraction of that. They wave
flags, blow air horns, set off smoke bombs and cheer wildly. It can terrorize
skiers who must negotiate from the lift to the top of the course in the dark.
To the delight of the vibrating crowd, Reinfried Herbst regained whatever
form he had lost since his last win at Alta Badia in December to blast the field.
It was a masterful showing from the slalom specialist and much appreciated
by the vast majority of those present.
Felix Neureuther added his name to the Kitz honor roll, next to his dad.