Wengen, Switzerland – It was thigh-burning, legs-shaking race at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Wengen on Sunday, complete with crashes, screaming fans and course holds. Hannes Reichelt from Austria took first. Competing on home turf, Beat Feuz and Carlo Janka of Switzerland rounded out the podium.
“It was really a close race so I am really happy I was the one on the top of the podium today,” said Reichelt. “The course and conditions were really good especially as we know how much snow we got the day before the race. I want to thank everyone who worked hard to make the race happen, they really did a great job.”
It was a perfect bluebird day on the Lauberhorn—one of the classic downhills on the World Cup circuit. The men reached 100 m.p.h. speeds in front of the crowd estimated at 30,000 to 40,000 fans, and had to put everything they had into this course—the fastest guys had times of 2 minutes, 36 seconds of the 2.78-mile course, which makes this the longest World Cup downhill.
Steven Nyman, of Provo, Utah, was the top American finisher of the day, grabbing 14th place. Nyman was thrilled with his result, especially because he is still recovering from being sick, which left him low-energy throughout the week.
“Steven is finally feeling better,” said Sasha Rearick, men’s head coach. “He had the pukes a couple times.”
Nyman confirmed his feelings about his run. “I’m happy with my run overall. I surprised myself today,” he said. “I had some energy. I never even got to ski the top and I was pretty fast up there.”
Jared Goldberg, of Holladay, Utah, had a good run as well, skiing to 23rd place. Crashing into the finish, he looked to the board to see his result and pumped his fist in excitement.
“That’s all you can do—give all the energy you have,” Goldberg said, after his run. “We ran about an hour and a half after the top guys. I’m definitely happy.”
Marco Sullivan and Travis Ganong, both of Squaw Valley, Calif.—who finished 44th and 31st, respectively—were not thrilled with their results, both getting caught in the soft snow. Their thoughts have now turned to Kitzbuehel.
“On a hill like [Wengen], I just haven’t figured it out yet. I’ll try again next year,” said Ganong. “With Kitzbuehel, I know the hill well now and can excel there. I can’t wait to get on the Streif.”
Wiley Maple, of Aspen, Colo., did not finish, skiing out after hitting the fence. Bode Miller, who won the Wengen downhill in 2007 and 2008, foreran the race as he continues to attempt a return to the World Cup circuit following back surgery.
The speed teams now prepare for the infamous Kitzbuehel downhill. The weekend begins with an alpine combined on Thursday.
FIS Alpine Ski World Cup
Wengen, Switzerland – Jan. 18, 2015
Lauberhorn Weekend – Men’s Downhill