Markus Gutenbrunner, the new sports director for ski cross at the ÖSV, gathered his SX team last week at the 2027 World Championships venue in Montafon for a first joint training course. “The preparation for the upcoming season officially began with this course. I had numerous talks in Montafon to get to know the athletes better. I was very pleased that everyone showed a lot of commitment and a great team spirit in the various activities,” Markus Gutenbrunner said.
Two units in the Montafon were symbolic of the fact that the ÖSV ski cross athletes want to aim high next winter. At the forest rope park Golm, all the “obstacles” were mastered very bravely, as well as the demanding routes on the via ferratas on the Kälbersee.
With Daniel Traxler and Sandro Siebenhofer, there were also two athletes participating in the pre-season activity, who are working on their comebacks after injuries. The Upper Austrian Traxler missed the entire 2021/22 Olympic season due to a slipped disc, and for the Styrian Siebenhofer last winter came to an early end after suffering a cruciate ligament rupture at the end of December.
“I’m fit again, my back is also fine,” reported Traxler, who is already looking forward to matching himself with his teammates at the snow training sessions that are planned on European glaciers beginning in the second half of August. “I’ll see where I stand there. My goal is of course to return to the World Cup after good preparation with strong performances,” said Traxler, who really enjoyed the days in Montafon: “We were able to really let off steam in the forest rope park, and the via ferratas were very demanding. It was cool that we did something like this again – and all of that in the wonderful ambience of Montafon.”
Sandro Siebenhofer still needs a little patience, the start of the World Cup on November 5, 2022 in Les Deux Alpes (FRA) is likely to come too early for the 25-year-old. “I’m fully on schedule on the way back, but I won’t rush into anything. I certainly won’t make the mistake of racing again too early after a cruciate ligament injury. The priority now is to be well prepared and start into the season fully fit,” Siebenhofer clarified.
Tristan Takats from Lower Austria, the rising star of the past World Cup winter, has got through the summer without any problems. “In the past few years, I’ve always had to struggle with minor set-backs during the season preparation – first it was an injury, then another illness. Luckily, I was spared this year. My goal for the coming season is clear: I want to get my first podium finishes in the World Cup. For that it will be necessary to be more consistent at the starts,” Takats says.
For the women, the reigning Junior World Champion Sonja Gigler participated for the first time at a course with the World Cup team. Last March, Gigler finished in a strong sixth place at her World Cup premiere on the Styrian Reiteralm. “My first ski cross season was really good. Now, as a next step, I want to find my way around in the World Cup. With Andrea (Limbacher, note) and Katrin (Ofner, note), I have two experienced teammates who can give me valuable advice due to their huge experience,” said Gigler, who, as a native of Vorarlberg, is particularly excited about the 2027 home World Championships in Montafon. “This is a long-term project that I will consistently work towards.”
Andrea Limbacher has a lot of confidence in her young teammate: “Sonja already performed extremely well last season and is a great enrichment for the team. I’m sure that we will have a lot of fun with her”, comments the World Champion of 2015, who said that “the days with the team in the Montafon were a lot of fun”.
Courtesy of ÖSV