Saslong Classic Club / Gardena - Gröden
Str. Dursan, 106    |    I - 39047 St. Cristina
Tel. +39 0471 793450
codice destinatario: MJ1OYNU
VAT Reg No: IT01657370217


Val Gardena/Gröden is hosting the opening men's speed season: "An unusual situation."


There were no races in Zermatt-Cervinia, and numerous cancellations occurred in Beaver Creek as well; the start of the season hasn't been favorable for the speed races thus far. The fact that the first races of the winter will take place on the Saslong in mid-December is a new scenario for all athletes. On the sidelines of the first downhill training session, we inquired about how this unfamiliar situation impacted their mindset and what goals the racers had for the Val Gardena/Gröden race week.


"We are indeed behind schedule this year," remarked a smiling Dominik Paris, who quickly added, "It wasn't pleasant with all the cancellations because you have to prepare for the races and be ready to go full throttle. Unfortunately, the weather was always at its worst on the weekends. It's a shame, but you can't control it in an outdoor sport."

Given his lack of racing experiences, it is challenging for the man from nearby Ulten Valley to precisely assess where he stands: "You first have to see what your condition is because there haven't been any races yet. However, I'm generally in a better position in training than last year." Paris' goal in Val Gardena/Gröden is set high - the experienced powerhouse is aiming for a place in the top five or eight. Top favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde also spoke of an "unusual situation." However, this applies not only to him but to everyone. "I think it's okay that the season opener is now taking place in Val Gardena/Gröden because I simply love the Saslong," explained the Norwegian. Even without results, Kilde knows he will land somewhere on the Val Gardena/Gröden podium: "There are a few favorites, and I'm also one of them."

"A lot of training and a lot of waiting."

Florian Schieder, who made his final breakthrough in the last World Cup season, summarized the past few weeks: "A lot of training and a lot of waiting. This is certainly not ideal because I enjoy racing. Hopefully, it will work out here in Val Gardena/Gröden," said the man from Castelrotto/Kastelruth. The 28-year-old approaches the races on the Saslong with a healthy dose of self-confidence: "I'm quite confident because the training results in Zermatt-Cervinia and Beaver Creek—apart from the flat section there—were pretty good. I want to perform well here on my home turf. I can live with a top 15 result; if I don't make any mistakes, the top ten is certainly possible."

The many cancellations didn't unsettle experienced skier Christof Innerhofer. The almost 39-year-old (Inner's birthday is on December 17th, editor's note) was even pleased about the extra training: "After the fall was anything but ideal, it wasn't bad to have a few more training days. I don't know exactly where I stand, but that doesn't bother me. Now it's about finding the right rhythm and preparing from race to race."

Although the local favorite finished second on the podium in the 2018 super-G in Val Gardena/Gröden, he isn't expecting too much for the three races on the Saslong: "I would be happy with a result between the top ten and 20. Others are more likely to place at the top here."