Everyone was out at the slopes today, and with the weather forecasted to warm up next week, it’s a good bet that Europeans will be raking in the snow as well as collecting some cash.
With the downhill and super G scheduled for May 31, it’s probably a good thing for European skiers that the upcoming racing season is still a couple weeks off.
The Italians and Spaniards are hoping to push their standings up another notch after finishing 2-3-4 in their nations’ championships last week, and while Austria placed on top of the standings in those nations, organizers are hoping for some home-cooking come May 31 when Austria and France are slated to race.
Like the Americans, the Austrians are focusing on their races for May 29 in Germany, but the Aussies will be racing there as well — against many of their nationals.
“No one from Austria has ever won a race in Austria,” German skier Arnd Peiffer said. “I don’t know, I would like to try. I am not sure how many Austrians are still competing.”
Australia won two gold medals in Slovenia and is hoping to secure another victory next week. That will make it three golds in the last three races for the Australians in Europe.
“We’ll know where we are before the traditional World Cup races (after these two week competitions),” Peiffer said. “It’s more important to get the points than thinking about how that is because you know what you have done so far.”
Austria’s Sebastian Küntzel edged Peiffer to win in Slovenia. The Austrians, ranked No. 3 in the downhill standings, were hoping for another victory from Küntzel, who won the Olympic downhill. But skier Roland Leipheimer dropped out due to concussion suffered in training and skier Martin Stoll dropped out due to unspecified health issues, leaving Austria with little to race for in the downhill.
Some of the Aussies were very upset with Austrian skier Erich Reiter, who put his poles in the water and streamed to the finish after the race. Reiter said afterward that he was angry at coming in 3.66 seconds behind Peiffer after winning the first two races.
Reiter also admitted he checked out of the race course after a series of mistakes during the second leg.
“You don’t need to talk to me. I took the course,” Reiter said. “I’m sure our Austrian team is not happy with the snow conditions. They deserve to have their team member on the podium.”
Despite that clap back, Peiffer says he’s not taking anything away from Austria and isn’t too concerned with which Austrians win the upcoming races.
“Austria did very well in both races, that’s good news,” Peiffer said. “There will be skiers from all the groups up there this week and we’ll see what happens. It’s hard to take anything away from them, though. Sometimes you can say that and it’s right and not right. There is always a line where people say, ‘You’re hating on Austria.’ It’s not true. The Austrians are my friends and always have been.”
The Austrians will likely be chasing Klaus Kroell and Sebastian Theofanov down the hill in the Olympic alpine schedule.
Theofanov finished third behind Kroell and Peiffer in Slovenia, while Kroell was the first man down the hill with a 1:37.44.
Check out the European perspective for the upcoming races.
Alpine Switzerland will host the first race with Austria, Slovenia and Germany also racing next week.
Alpine Sweden is expected to host the race in Oslo.
This week in Val Gardena, Italy. Austrian Leif Kristian Haugen won.
Nordic will have the only weekend race at its competition in Italy.