This weekend Val d'Isere hosted the newly named 'British Criterium' World Cup event. Taking place on the famous Le Face piste in the Bellevarde area of Val d'Isere.
The race weekend, though not the first, marks the start of the winter season for many skiers, whether racers of holiday makers, and is one of the biggest December events. Saturday played host to the GS with the Slalom taking place on Sunday.
The fantastic early season snow, coupled with the cold weather and sunshine had made for perfect racing conditions. With Le Face hard packed the piste offered an exciting, high-speed affair, with 20 crashes in the first run of the race!
The GS was dominated by American skier Ted Ligety who clocked up his seventh World Cup victory, following on from his win in Beaver Creek last weekend. Ted, who finished third two years go, was in good spirits after his win. "It's a surprising day for sure. It's the hardest race I had for a long time," said Ligety. "To make it down and win with such a gap is just amazing. The key here is just not to make mistakes and to push hard. If you charge, you have a chance to win."
"It was great snow all the way down - really similar snow to Beaver Creek in terms of preparation. It was a beautiful day, not a drop of wind, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky," said USA Ski Team Head Coach Sasha Rearick.
After a great start to the weekend Sunday didn't disappoint with Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher taking the plaudits. The conditions had held from the Saturday with hard, fast snow and a few casualties including America skier Bode Miller.
Marcel Hirscher had only raced on Le Face for the first time last winter, winning the GS, and the 21 year old enjoyed his second win on the course after a gruelling race. Hirscher told reporters in the resort "I really like Val d'Isere very much. This is the second greatest day of my life after last year - same place, same time - when I won my first race... Today, I just tried to ski neatly. We trained a lot in slalom in America and that was the best training for here".
- 1 - Ted Ligety, USA
- 2 - Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR
- 3 - Massimiliano Blardone, ITA
- 4 - Carlo Janka, SUI
- 5 - Benjamin Raich, AUT.
- 1 - Marcel Hirscher, AUT
- 2 - Benjamin Raich, AUT
- 3 - Steve Missillier, FRA
- 4 - Silvan Zurbriggen , SUI
- 5 - Julien Cousineau, CAN
Written by Stephen Adam, quotes courtesy of Planetski.eu