SR Staff Report
Adelboden fans at public GS bib draw; Photo GEPA images
There is almost no natural snow on the ground in Adelboden. The FIS and the course crew are currently doing everything possible to host an amazing race. However, the reports say the track is narrow, and in spots, there is little room for error. If the skies are clear, they could experience a deserved break and have hard snow.
Adelboden offers an amazingly complex GS race hill. It is both long and relentless. One of the most challenging parts of this course is that after the skiers’ legs reach their limit, the hill falls away into the steep finish pitch. The course setter can set an energy-draining wide gate controlling some speed at the top of the pitch, but from there on down, it is narrow, and speeds climb quickly.
Watching that last pitch and knowing what they have gone through to get to that point earn every racer great respect. Spectators hold their breath as each racer passes through the final compression and into the finish. Unfortunately, this course section has led to some terrifying high-speed crashes over the decades. Those who want to be fast need to lock into their edges while their legs are screaming to quit. They must fully commit to clean arcing to be happy in the finish.
Nestvold-Haugen comments on final 20 seconds
Veteran Norwegian Olympic and World Championship medalist Leif Nestvold-Haugen describes the end of the Adelboden GS well. “Imagine being on the brink of collapse due to the burning weight of your body, and you still got 20 seconds left. You know the most difficult part is yet to come. Your body tells you to stop and lean on something, but your mind says go harder because the clock is ticking.”
That said, when they do arrive on the final pitch, they are greeted by one of the best crowds in ski racing. When a Swiss racer is on the course, you can hear the cheering almost the entire way up the mountain.
Without a doubt, home country hero, last season’s winner, and World Cup leader Marco Odermatt is the prerace favorite. He has all the required skills, is very efficient, and has the power required. At the moment, it is hard not to pick him to win all the remaining GS races. He has won three of the four and been on every podium. However, no one is perfect, and he makes occasional mistakes. If he falters, numerous racers will take advantage and claim the victory.
Nine North Americans will face the Adelboden GS challenge
Nine skiers will represent North America. Tommy Ford has the highest rank in the season standings, 15th, and River Radamus is 18th. Both have one top-ten result this season. Ford’s 6th place finish in Sölden is the best men’s North American GS finish this season. However, this will be Ford’s first race back in Adelboden since his season-ending injury during the 2020-21 season. It is hard to say if that will affect him, but it isn’t very likely. The Canadians have entered five racers and the Stifel US Alpine Team has entered four. The Stifel US Alpine Team continues to offer start positions to deserving independent athletes. In the Adelboden GS, there are two.
The North Americans entered for the January 7th Adelboden Giant Slalom
- Bib 17, River Radamus, USST, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Taos Ski Valley, Rossignol, Look, SWIX, ASP
- Bib 18, Erik Read, ACA, Banff Alpine Racers, University of Denver, Atomic, UVEX
- Bib 22, Trevor Philp, ACA, Banff Alpine Racers, University of Denver, Rossignol/LOOK
- Bib 23, Tommy Ford, USST, Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, HEAD
- Bib 43, Brian McLaughlin, Global Racing, Dartmouth College, GMVS, Marker/Dalbello/Völkl, SWIX, ASP, TOKO
- Bib 48, Riley Seger, ACA, Whistler Mountain Ski Club, Rossignol/LOOK
- Bib 55, Liam Wallace, ACA, Sunshine Alpine Racers, Rossignol/LOOK
- Bib 59, Patrick Kenney, Global Racing, University of Newhampshire, Burke Moutain Academy, Marker/Dalbello/Völkl, SWIX, TOKO
- Bib 65, Asher Jordan, ACA, Whistler Mountain Ski Club, Atomic
The first run of the Giant Slalom begins at 4:30 am Eastern time and 1:30 am on the West Coast. The second run is scheduled to air at 7:30 am Eastern time and 4:30 am on the West Coast.
In the United States, Ski and Snowboard Live offers live and full replay with English announcers.
In Canada, World Cup can be viewed on CBC sports