In stark contrast to Friday’s weather-marred super-G race in Kitzbuehel, Austria, it was a pleasant surprise to open the blinds Saturday morning to sunshine and a few spots of low-lying fog. As racers made their way up to inspection on the famous gondola adorned with the names of past winners, the once-sleepy Austrian village prepared for a spectacular day of ski racing.

Downhill day in Kitzbuehel is something special. It’s hard to really describe without experiencing it for yourself. The electricity of the stadium, the roar of the tens of thousands of drunken ski fans, and the nervous excitement of racers and staff alike is unique to anywhere in the ski racing world.

“It’s like going to church for me,” said American Downhiller legend AJ Kitt. “This is the place we measure ourselves against as ski racers.”

This year, the Hahnenkamm didn’t disappoint. High clouds made their way over the race course by the time Austria’s Hannes Reichelt kicked out of the start with bib one, casting the hill in dark, flat light.

Wearing bib 19 and taking full advantage of a momentary burst of sunshine, 24-year-old German Thomas Dressen charged his way to his first World Cup win and Germany’s first Hahnenkamm downhill title since Sepp Ferstl won in 1979. Reichelt would ultimately settle for third and Switzerland’s Beat Feuz claimed a hard-fought second.

It was Germany’s first Hahnenkamm downhill win since 1979. Image Credit: GEPA Pictures/Maria Buehner

It was only Dressen’s second race run down the Hahnemkamm as his only other Kitzbuehel experience came last season. Adding the fact that he didn’t even finish last year’s race made his victory on Saturday all the more impressive on a track where veterans almost always have the upper hand over younger, less experienced racers.

“They always told me you need a lot of experience (at Kitzbuehel), but I just tried to really focus on my skiing,” an ecstatic Dressen said in the finish. “I watched Hannes Reichelt and he’s a real role model to me and I also like his style of skiing so I tried to do the same as he did. During the run, I also recognized that my light was really good, so I just tried to push from the top to the bottom.”

Feuz was holding the lead up until Dressen’s run and was starting to look mighty comfortable in the Audi leader’s chair. Although the Swiss couldn’t repeat his win from last week in Wengen, Feuz was nonetheless content with his performance.

“It was a really hard and tough race,” he said. “I’m happy to cross the finish line still alive and I’m very happy with my second place.”

Reichelt’s third-place finish was the Austrian’s fourth in Kitzbuehel in either the downhill or the super-G to go along with his downhill win from 2014 that was featured in Red Bull’s “Streif” movie about the race weekend.

“The run was pretty good, not perfect, I had some small mistakes, but the visibility was pretty tough with number one,” Reichelt said. “I’m happy with that run and I’m happy to be in the finish area healthy, which is also very important here in Kitzbuehel.”

“Dressen did a pretty good job,” the veteran continued. “Good skiing, a lot of risk, so I’m happy for that young guy that he won the race because he’s a really nice guy. It’s good for our sport that the German guys are in the lead.”

It was a day of many positives for the American Downhillers as Steven Nyman led the team for the first time this year in a season-best 15th. Although he admitted to having plenty of room for improvement as he continues to return from injury, the captain of the American team has his sights set squarely on the Olympics next month.

Thomas Biesemeyer went from bib 46 to finish an impressive 16th. Image Credit: Hans Bezard/Agence Zoom

“Not too satisfied with my performance,” admitted Nyman in the finish. “Really was horrible coming into the carousel, late to the switch and was just sitting back. I skied some sections pretty well and I was a little hesitant in some sections, but it’s coming along and the confidence is coming. I wish I had committed to more, but every day it’s getting better and better with my confidence in my knee.”

Following Nyman in 16th was Thomas Biesemeyer, who battled through bad light and a high start number to earn his impressive finish.

“It feels good,” Biesemeyer shared. “I feel like Kitzbuehel compliments my skiing well, so as a ski racer that’s really motivating and it gives you a lot of confidence. I was really happy to get 16th, I think I may have the ability to be really competitive here in the top 10 for the years to come. I feel like I’ve done well here and it’s something to build off of and I’m proud of my result and proud of my focus. It’s a tough race so I’m psyched.”

Wiley Maple also had an impressive jump from 45th to 22nd and Bryce Bennett finished in 28th for a total of four American top-30 finishers, a season high. Unfortunately, Jared Goldberg was squashed on the famous traverse above the finish and found the nets for a DNF.

Slalom is next on the schedule in Kitzbuehel for Sunday with racing slated to get underway at 10:30am CET.

Fans can stay up to date on World Cup by downloading the U.S. Ski Team – Ski Racing app for iOSand Android.


Top 10

  1. Thomas Dressen (GER) – Rossignol/Lange/Look
  2. Beat Feuz (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
  3. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  4. Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  5. Marc Gisin (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  6. Andreas Sander (GER) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  7. Brice Roger (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  8. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
  9. Peter Fill (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  10. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  19  202535 DRESSEN Thomas 1993 GER  1:56.15  0.00  100
 2  7  511383 FEUZ Beat 1987 SUI  1:56.35  +0.20  2.15  80
 3  1  50742 REICHELT Hannes 1980 AUT  1:56.56  +0.41  4.41  60
 4  16  53980 KRIECHMAYR Vincent 1991 AUT  1:56.61  +0.46  4.95  50
 5  25  511529 GISIN Marc 1988 SUI  1:56.83  +0.68  7.32  45
 6  20  200379 SANDER Andreas 1989 GER  1:56.89  +0.74  7.96  40
 7  31  194190 ROGER Brice 1990 FRA  1:57.08  +0.93  10.01  36
 8  5  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund 1982 NOR  1:57.27  +1.12  12.05  32
 9  11  292455 FILL Peter 1982 ITA  1:57.41  +1.26  13.56  29
 10  3  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:57.45  +1.30  13.99  26
 11  44  6290985 BUZZI Emanuele 1994 ITA  1:57.60  +1.45  15.60  24
 12  9  291459 PARIS Dominik 1989 ITA  1:57.79  +1.64  17.65  22
 13  15  192746 THEAUX Adrien 1984 FRA  1:57.87  +1.72  18.51  20
 14  4  511513 CAVIEZEL Mauro 1988 SUI  1:57.96  +1.81  19.48  18
 15  14  533866 NYMAN Steven 1982 USA  1:58.22  +2.07  22.28  16
 16  46  531452 BIESEMEYER Thomas 1989 USA  1:58.25  +2.10  22.60  15
 16  26  194167 MUZATON Maxence 1990 FRA  1:58.25  +2.10  22.60  15
 18  17  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR  1:58.30  +2.15  23.14  13
 19  51  103271 THOMSEN Benjamin 1987 CAN  1:58.54  +2.39  25.72  12
 20  29  202059 FERSTL Josef 1988 GER  1:58.64  +2.49  26.80  11
 21  27  54009 WALDER Christian 1991 AUT  1:58.68  +2.53  27.23  10
 22  45  930024 MAPLE Wiley 1990 USA  1:58.74  +2.59  27.87  9
 23  12  102899 OSBORNE-PARADIS Manuel 1984 CAN  1:58.78  +2.63  28.30  8
 24  49  293550 MARSAGLIA Matteo 1985 ITA  1:58.80  +2.65  28.52  7
 25  40  194368 RAFFORT Nicolas 1991 FRA  1:58.90  +2.75  29.60  6
 26  22  512039 ROULIN Gilles 1994 SUI  1:58.91  +2.76  29.70  5
 27  52  180570 ROMAR Andreas 1989 FIN  1:58.97  +2.82  30.35  4
 28  28  6530104 BENNETT Bryce 1992 USA  1:59.12  +2.97  31.96  3
 29  10  511139 KUENG Patrick 1984 SUI  1:59.21  +3.06  32.93  2
 30  38  54157 DANKLMAIER Daniel 1993 AUT  1:59.31  +3.16  34.01  1
 31  36  194298 GIEZENDANNER Blaise 1991 FRA  1:59.34  +3.19  34.33  0
 31  6  51215 BAUMANN Romed 1986 AUT  1:59.34  +3.19  34.33  0
 33  18  561216 KLINE Bostjan 1991 SLO  1:59.47  +3.32  35.73  0
 34  13  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT  1:59.52  +3.37  36.27  0
 35  32  511847 MANI Nils 1992 SUI  1:59.56  +3.41  36.70  0
 36  41  990081 CASSE Mattia 1990 ITA  1:59.65  +3.50  37.67  0
 37  39  202525 SCHMID Manuel 1993 GER  1:59.68  +3.53  37.99  0
 38  48  292514 HEEL Werner 1982 ITA  1:59.84  +3.69  39.71  0
 39  43  512042 KRYENBUEHL Urs 1994 SUI  1:59.85  +3.70  39.82  0
 40  23  512031 BARANDUN Gian Luca 1994 SUI  1:59.88  +3.73  40.14  0
 41  50  501987 MONSEN Felix 1994 SWE  1:59.91  +3.76  40.46  0
 42  30  192932 FAYED Guillermo 1985 FRA  1:59.92  +3.77  40.57  0
 43  47  511981 WEBER Ralph 1993 SUI  2:00.03  +3.88  41.76  0
 43  34  561217 KOSI Klemen 1991 SLO  2:00.03  +3.88  41.76  0
 45  42  53975 HEMETSBERGER Daniel 1991 AUT  2:00.68  +4.53  48.75  0
 46  53  170131 FAARUP Christoffer 1992 DEN  2:00.71  +4.56  49.07  0
 47  24  561255 CATER Martin 1992 SLO  2:01.12  +4.97  53.49  0
 48  55  561310 HROBAT Miha 1995 SLO  2:01.18  +5.03  54.13  0
 49  57  104272 SEGER Brodie 1995 CAN  2:01.21  +5.06  54.46  0
 50  54  194650 PICCARD Roy 1993 FRA  2:01.37  +5.22  56.18  0
 51  33  53981 KROELL Johannes 1991 AUT  2:01.81  +5.66  60.91  0
 52  56  6190006 SCHULLER Victor 1995 FRA  2:02.69  +6.54  70.38  0
 53  58  303758 SUGAI Ryo 1991 JPN  2:05.16  +9.01  96.97  0
 54  59  460071 ACHIRILOAIE Ioan Valeriu 1990 ROU  2:06.88  +10.73  115.48  0
Did not finish 1st run
 37  53933 SCHWEIGER Patrick 1990 AUT  0
 21  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA  0
 8  191740 CLAREY Johan 1981 FRA  0
 2  293006 INNERHOFER Christof 1984 ITA  0
Did not start 1st run
 35  54080 NEUMAYER Christopher 1992 AUT  0
Article Tags: Premium World Cup

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

comments

Sean Higgins
Senior Editor
-
A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American status in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
UP NEXT
Jan 21 2018
'Super Jules' Hangs Up Her Cape
Julia Mancuso says goodbye to the World Cup after brilliant career.
LAST UP
Jan 20 2018
Vonn Continues 15-Year Trend of Winning
Jacqueline Wiles earns her second World Cup podium.
Related Articles
1
Premium Story Article Previews Remaining