The 2016-17 Alpine Skiing World Cup is the 51st consecutive season of the competition and will be having the start at the end of this October in Sölden, Austria. International Ski Federation (FIS) race director Markus Mayr has hailed conditions at the Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden as “perfect” ahead of the first Alpine World Cup event of the season. The Austrian resort will play host to the opening competition of the 2016 to 2017 campaign next Saturday (October 22) and Sunday (October 23).
Officials have already given the course, which traditionally holds the traditional curtain-raiser for the winter season, the green light after it passed the snow control inspection. The FIS claimed in a statement that they had “no doubts” the conditions would be deemed suitable for racing. A snow-making system has been in operation but the FIS remain confident fresh snowfall will top up the current levels in Sölden, located in the Ötztal valley of Tyrol.
The men’s giant slalom is scheduled on Sunday and is announcing to be an excited stage as all top skiers have announced their presence at the event.
Ted Ligety, the last year champion that succedded to stop the chronometer at 2:23.88 will be competing for the first time after almost a year as he tore his ACL whilst Giant Slalom training which ended his 2016 season in January and suffered a surgery on February. Ligety is optimistic about the upcoming season “I'm expecting a lot; I never lower my expectations,” he replied, when asked if the return from injury had lowered his expectations for the season. “So far, skiing feels good. It’s coming along well.” The Soelden giant slalom has traditionally been a good race for Ligety. He has won there four times and is the defending champion: “I’d like to have more time to get ready for the first races,” he said. “But I feel like I’m good enough to race. I’m not in pain or holding back at all. It’s just getting the high intensity miles up.”
Marcel Hirscher, the last season overall and giant slalom winner, is definitely a contender for the first place in Solden, a resort in which he is getting the full support from the home crowd. At the end of this summer, Hirscher said that for him ’’Sölden is a first indicator of the season, then you can get a little say in which direction it goes. But one thing is clear: I want to win races.’’ With this burning desire of winning, Marcel will definitely give his best in winning this race and to get a place as high as possible in the overall rank at the end of the season.
Great expectations for the French team, which last year was definitely the best in giant slalom, placing at least one representative on the podium in all the races and even finishing with a hat-trick. Mathieu Faivre , Thomas Fanara , Victor Muffat-Jeandet and Alexis Pinturault start all in the top seven.
Not to forget in order to not miss any potential winner are the members of Norwegian team (Henrik Kristoffersen, Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud), Germany’s Neureuther and Luitz or Schörghofer of Austria.