Happy ending for the FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. After two days of heavy snowfall where the Qualification which was set for these days had to be cancelled due to 70 – 80 cm of snow, Sunday, 12.03.2023 welcomed the ski cross circuit with some better conditions. From 6 o’clock in the morning on, more than 100 volunteers did their best to get the course clear and ready to go with the pre-heats at 9:40 CET.
As Sandra Naeslund (SWE) couldn’t start because of knee problems, for the first time in the past 15 month we saw someone else on top of the podium on women’s side. And it was no one less than Beijing 2022 Olympic bronze medalist and local hero Fanny Smith. On men’s side Team World Champion David Mobaerg gained his third season victory.
Home soil win for Smith
In Sunday’s big final we saw Marielle Thompson (CAN) in red, Fanny Smith (SUI) in green, Jade Grillet Aubert (FRA) in blue and Tiana Gairns (CAN) in yellow.
Smith who won every single heat this day also had the fastest reaction time in the final heat. She got followed by Grillet Aubert, Thompson and Gairns skis by skis next to each other. So, the question was whom of the prosecutors will lead into the first back.
Thompson who was allowed to choose the gate took the riders middle left gate which maybe wasn’t the best choice in this situation, as Grille Aubert who took the most left gate was able to take the inside line into the next left turn.
Thompson tried to take overtake Grille Aubert in the next turn by taking the inside line but failed.
The only one who could keep up with Smith for the rest of the course was Grillet Aubert. The French tried to pass the Swiss until the very last second, but Smith didn’t let take away her first victory after such a long time and crossed the finish line first.
It’s the first victory for Smith after exactly two years when she won the World Cup in Sunny Valley (RUS) in March 2021.
Grillet Aubert got second, which means her first podium this season and fourth of her career. Gairns who never stood on the podium before managed to overtake her teammate at the finish strait and got third. Thompson in the end got fourth.
David Mobaerg asserts himself in Switzerland
The four men who stood in Sunday’s big final have been Reece Howden (CAN) in red, David Mobaerg (SWE) in green, Florian WIlmsmann (GER) in blue and Ryo Sugai (JPN) in yellow.
Out of the gate it was Canadian Howden with the fastest start. Followed by Mobaerg and Sugai head-to-head and Wilmsmann shortly after in fourth position.
Wilmsmann who took the line in between the Swede and Japanese into the first bank had to slow down to avoid a crash and lost a lot of speed. Ryo got affected by the German and also lost speed. This opened the door for Mobaerg to take up the second position.
The ski cross train skied down like this, when shortly before intermediate two Howden made a mistake at the roller section which costed him speed and brought the young Swede very close to Howden. After Howden made another mistake at the third last roller, Mobaerg easily overtook Howden. But not only the Swede overtook Howden, the Canadian also lost his second position to Sugai by one arm length.
This means victory number three this season and number seven in total for David Mobaerg. Sugay who already got second three times this season gets second and world cup leader Howden gets third. The German Wilmsmann who got second at the world champs has to accept the bitter sweet fourth position.
Howden stays world cup leader, but the Swede David Mobaerg is on his heels as only 57 points separate the two athletes after this race. This means we will see some exciting fights for the globe at the upcoming races.
New and old World Cup leaders: Sandra Naeslund (SWE) and Reece Howden (CAN)
Next and last stop for the FIS Ski Cross World Cup this season is Canada, where we will see our top athletes fight for the last spots on the podium from 16 – 18 March 2023 in Craigleith, Blue Mountain.
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