The athlete-technician relationship on the World Cup tour can easily be overlooked by the casual ski racing fan. However, anyone who has fired up a waxing iron or polished an edge with a diamond stone knows the importance of flawless equipment on race day.
Austrian native Alex Martin has been at Ted Ligety’s side as his dedicated factory serviceman ever since the American first signed with Head back in 2010. The duo has combined for 20 World Cup wins, three giant slalom crystal globes, five World Championship titles, and the 2014 Olympic GS gold.
“Our relationship I think works really well because we are focused on our jobs,” Martin says. “[Ted] is focused on skiing, and I am focused on tuning skis. Together, we have the same thinking about being successful. It’s quite easy for a technician to work with him because he can tell you right away what he needs and what his standard is.”
Ligety, who is finally back on the World Cup after nearly two year’s worth of injuries, will have to be in top physical shape this season and also find the optimal setup on the new 30-meter GS skis. Fret not American ski racing fans, because Martin and Ligety have been hard at work over the summer and fall to dial in the setup that will allow Ligety to climb to the top of the podium once more.
“We tested six different sidecuts and from each sidecut probably four or five different constructions, so it’s 30 pairs of different skis,” Martin says. “Then we have to find out the different mounting positions and different ramp angles, so I would say it’s between 70-80 different setups.”
Martin also says that Ligety’s setup is different than anyone else in the world due to the American’s unique style of skiing a rounder line than most, allowing him to arc more of the turn than his counterparts on the World Cup GS circuit.
Curious to hear what else Martin has to say about working with one of the best GS skiers in history? Check out our full interview below: