It has been a big weekend up on Solelden’s Rettenbach Glacier. Reigning World Champion Ted Ligety took first place in Sunday’s men’s giant slalom competition. Matching his teammate Lindsey Vonn’s first place performance on Saturday, Ligity’s 3rd GS victory gives the U.S. Ski Team a clean sweep in the Audi FIS World Cup opener.
No stranger to the podium, this is the ninth Audi FIS World Cup win for Ligety who aggressively defended his Audi FIS World Cup GS title. Ligety took a .18 lead in the first run over Swiss Carlo Janka and upped the intensity even further on the second run to claim the title once again.
“You never really know what’s going to happen. I was skiing fast in training, but that really doesn’t count for anything until you actually do it in a race. So to finally get prove how fast you are skiing is an added bonus that goes along with winning the first race of the year.
Any race win is a good win. I don’t really care where it is. I’ve been on the podium a bunch of times here, but it’s always good for your confidence to start off the year with a victory.” - Ted Ligety
When asked about his teammate Lindsey Vonn’s Saturday victory, Ligety explained, “It’s cool to see Lindsey [Vonn] win a World Cup GS. I think it’s been 20 years since an American woman has done that. What she did yesterday in Soelden was impressive and I feel sorry for all the girls who have to race against her. Now that she’s winning in giant slalom too, it’s going to be an uphill battle for everyone else.”
The U.S. Ski Team has recently named the Rettenbach Glacier in the Soelden/Hochgurgl/Obergurgl region as their European Training Base. To come out of the gates with such strong performances, Ligety and Vonn have earned the attention and respect of the global ski community. The U.S. Ski Team has set a precedence for excellence in this year’s competition circuit.
When asked about the new training set-up for the team Ted said, “It’s great to have Soelden as our new European home. I’ve always felt comfortable here and obviously have had a lot of success on this race hill.”
The Team now sets off for training in Colorado which will include the November 5th opening of the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper and the First Tracks Alpine Team Announcement presented by Nature Valley at Vail. The Audi FIS World Cup will then resume in November, on the 12 and 13th with slaloms for men and women in Levi, Finland.
Stay tuned for more Soelden excitement, and watch as Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn and the entire U.S. Ski team continue to push the boundaries of competitive skiing. Between the oncoming powder of La Nina, and the next-level riding abilities of Ligety and Vonn — records will surely be broken this season!
“When you’re a favorite, it always comes with added pressure. I have three GS titles now and I’d obviously like to get the fourth. That would tie me for the second most giant slalom titles. It would be really cool to be up there with guys like [Michael] von Gruenigen, who was one of my childhood heroes” - Ted Ligety
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, Soelden, Austria – Oct. 23, 2011
Men’s Giant Slalom
1. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 2:22.00
2. Alexis Pinturault, France, 2:22.29
3. Philipp Schoerghofer, Austria, 2:22.51
9. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 2:23.32
Did not qualify for 2nd run
Thomas Biesemeyer, Keene, NH
Will Gregorak, Vail, CO
Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV
Warner Nickerson, Guilford, NHa
Did not finish 1st run
Colby Granstrom, Lake Stevens, WA
Tommy Ford, Bend, OR