What an amazing final showdown of the athletes at the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup finals in Veysonnaz! Wow, we are still trying to catch our breaths! Athletes did not hold back to give us one final crazy show this season and really showed once again that in ski cross, literally anything can happen.
Naeslund goes for yet another win
For the final women’s heat of the season, it was not really surprising to see Olympic Champion Sandra Naeslund (SWE), who had already won 10 out of 11 races this season, Olympic silver medallist Marielle Thompson (CAN), home hero Fanny Smith and also a very strong Hannah Schmidt from Canada, who already had made it into the big final one week ago at the World Cup in Reiteralm, in the start gate.
Out of the gate it was one more time, Sandra Naeslund and after the start section, it was Hannah Schmidt, who was just behind the Olympic champion, but then over the first jump, Naeslund made a little mistake, causing her to land on just one ski, but the pro skier made a clear save after that maneouvre.
Schmidt was still in second, Thompson in third and Smith was in fourth heading into the first bank turn. Naeslund seemed to have lost a little speed after her not perfect jump, but managed to stay in the lead anyways.
After one of the roller sections was the moment, when Schmidt really came dangerously close to Naeslund and it looked, as if the Canadian was going to make the pass, however Naeslund did not leave the door one inch open for the Canadian to even possibly try to make a pass. The Swedish athlete stayed strong in her line, which prevented Schmidt from passing on the inside line, but rather resulted in Schmidt drifting off to the far outside line of the bank.
Of course, Schmidt lost all the speed, which left the way open for Thompson and also for Smith to pass the Canadian and edge her off into fourth rank coming into the final bank turn and the last section of the course.
Therefore, Naeslund took her incredible 11th out of 12 World Cup races this season and her 28th World Cup win so far and closed the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup 2021/22 in an incredible style. Nothing left but to say “chapeau”. Marielle Thompson came in second and Fanny Smith third.
“Well, that first jump was not great and I had some balance troubles, but I am happy to have managed to win one more race, even though it was really close. I could feel Hannah at the back of my skis, but managed to do some fast skiing to take the win,” a relieved and happy Sandra Naeslund commented in the finish.
David Mobaerg adds another Swedish win to the World Cup finals
The very last big final of the 2021/22 season went down with Italian young gun Simone Deromedis, 2018 Olympic Champion Brady Leman (CAN), 22-year-old David Mobaerg (SWE) and home hero Jonas Lenherr (SUI).
Deromedis was the fastest out of the start gate, but instantly going into the first bank turn, Mobaerg was literally next to the Italian. The two stayed neck-and-neck also going into the next turn, while Leman was getting into third position and Lenherr was on fourth.
Deromedis and Mobaerg seemed glued to each other also over the next couple of features of the Swiss course, but none of the two seemed let the other one go ahead, so it was a very tight battle when going into the left turn, where the young Italian could get ahead of his Swedish rival.
Mobaerg was on Deromedis’s tails and used a little bit of the draft he could win from that when going into the next section, while in the back, Lenherr was catching up on Leman to go for a podium spot on home soil.
Mobaerg then caught up again to Deromedis and the two were again head-to-head when all of a sudden, the Swede could generate a little bit more speed than his Italian rival and then it was Mobaerg in front going into the final section of the course.
In the end, Mobaerg won this head-to-head fight and took his fourth career win, Deromedis came second and Brady Leman crossed the finish line third. What an incredibly tight race! Wow!
“It was a tough racing all the way from the beginning and I was hunting down (Simone) Deromedis all the way and then I had a little slip stream, but did good in the middle part and managed to take it into the finish and over the line. It just feels so good,” winner David Mobaerg commented in the finish.
Sandra Naeslund wins third career crystal globe
It was clear for Sandra Naeslund already before the penultimate stop in Reiteralm (AUT) that she would take home her third career ski cross crystal globe to top off a truly historical season. Not only did the 25-year-old win 11 out of 12 races this season, which proved her incredible consistency, but Naeslund also did not crack under pressure and won her first Olympic gold medal in Beijing 2022.
Naeslund also now, after this incredible season holds 28 career wins, which is only one short to tie Fanny Smith’s all-time World Cup victory record of 29 wins. This means that the Swedish athlete came incredibly close to tying that record.
To sum up, Sandra Naeslund did race in a league of her own this season and nobody deserves to take home the crystal globe more than her. Huge congratulations on an amazing and truly historic season!
Ryan Regez wins first career crystal globe on home soil
For the men, we had three gentlemen entering the World Cup finals with a possibility to grab the overall crystal globe 2021/22. Olympic Champion Ryan Regez, and the French duo Terence Tchiknavorian and Batien Midol. With the two Frenchmen out in the same heat and before Regez, the Olympic Champion had secured the globe and entered his next heat with the confidence and already with the thoughts on that Crystal globe.
Final SX Awards of the 2021/22 season:
As the final award ceremony was going down under a bluebird sky and the sun shining down on the crystal globes, the final rankings for the SX World Cup season 2021/22 were the following:
1 – Sandra Naeslund (SWE)
2 – Fanny Smith (SUI)
3 – Marielle Thompson (CAN)
1 – Ryan Regez (SUI)
2 – Terence Tchiknavorian (FRA)
3 – Bastien Midol (FRA)
The team captains also voted for the rookies of the year the day before the finals, and the awards went to the following athletes:
Female rookie of the year: Jole Galli (ITA)
Male rookie of the year: Tristan Takats (AUT)
And in the end, the Nation’s Cup 2021/22 went to team Canada for an outstanding team performance throughout the season.
What an amazing Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup season 2021/22 with some true action and some excellent racing we got to witness over the past four months!
Now, it’s time to recharge the batteries over spring and summer and get ready for the World Championship season 2022/23.
Stay healthy everyone, thanks for following us along this season and see you next year!