The trophies given to the winners at Kitzbuehel each winter are known as “Gams” and are fashioned in the logo of the Kitzbuehel Ski Club. Winning one is considered a highlight if your career. Germany’s Ferstl family now has three golden Gams to display at home after Joseph Ferstl won the Hahnenkamm super-G on Sunday. Josef’s father, Sepp, is a two-time Hahnenkamm downhill winner from 1978 and 1979 and was on hand on Sunday to award his son a golden Gams of his own.
After Saturday’s snow-filled slalom, the weather cleared up for Sunday’s super-G for a fitting conclusion to the craziest weekend in all of ski racing. Taking to the bumpy, icy track with bib one, Ferstl took advantage of good light on the lower section of the course to separate himself from the field and hold off all challengers by the skin of his teeth to take only his second career World Cup win. France’s Johan Clarey nearly snuck away with the victory himself, finishing in second place, 0.08 seconds back, and Italian speed star, Dominik Paris, finished in third for his second podium of the weekend after winning Friday’s downhill, 0.10 seconds shy of the win.
“It’s very emotional, the feelings here with my dad winning and now me,” Ferstl said. “It’s unbelievable, I hope I can sleep well now. I was always passing by the two golden Gams won by my dad here a while ago. A Cinderella story is basically completed for me.”
“With start number one, I had a good run but in the finish I didn’t know if it was a good run or a bad run and it was the waiting game for me,” he added. “I went with a lot of risk and had a good line and I go aggressive in the run and I think that was the secret. It was a good run. This is my second win and I know that I’ve been a good skier but in Kitzbuehel, to win is amazing and I’m very proud of the team and all the guys that stand behind me and that’s really, really cool.”
Clarey, at 38-years-old, nearly retired after last season and almost decided to not race super-G at all this year to focus in his stronger event, downhill. Starting with bib 20 on a quickly-darkening track, Clarey was shocked to see a “2” flash next to his name as he slid to a stop in the finish.
“It was quite a surprise for me, for sure,” Clarey said after the race. “This is my first super-G podium and I’m 38, maybe I should start a new career. I didn’t have a very good feeling on the track today I think like pretty much everybody, it was really bumpy and really icy. When I crossed the finish line I said to myself, ‘Maybe top 15 or top 10.’ The second place was really surprising for me and I’m so happy to finish the weekend like this.”
Paris has figured out something about Kitzbuehel that the rest of the field wishes they had after the big Italian claimed his second podium of the weekend on Sunday, coming within one tenth of another win.
“I’m very happy,” He said. “It’s a perfect weekend with the victory in the downhill and today on the podium in the super-G is fantastic. I tried to give everything today maybe to take another Gams and, yeah, here it is. I had a mistake in the top, I lost maybe the victory there but it was not easy for anybody to come down without a mistake. That’s super-G, it’s very short and in Kitzbuehel it’s always very tight.”
The American contingent was led by Californian Travis Ganong who finished in 18th place, only 0.75 seconds off of Ferstl’s winning pace. After a hard crash last month in Bormio, Italy, and a rough weekend of racing in Kitzbuehel, the American is looking forward to a couple of days off before getting back on skis himself.
“It was tough, for sure,” Ganong explained. “This whole week was tough. The snow was so bumpy and so icy. In the downhill race my knee was pretty beat up after that. Luckily, we had a day off after that, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to ski. My knee is feeling a little better but today my knee is hurting after that so I’m going to have to take a couple of days off to kind of let everything settle down and hopefully the snow from here on out is more like snow and less like ice. With that in mind, I’m still really happy to ski and push almost how I want to push. I definitely know I have a lot more in me. Still stoked to be seven-tenths out.”
Following Ganong in the top 30 was independent skier, Samuel Dupratt, who finished in 29th place for his first World Cup points. Thomas Biesemeyer finished in 35th, Wiley Maple 41st, and Jared Goldberg 45th. Bryce Bennett did not finish.
The men now head to Schladming, Austria, for the traditional night slalom on Tuesday, January 29.
1. Josef Ferstl (GER)- Head/Head/Head
2. Johan Clarey (FRA)- Head/Head/Head
3. Domink Paris (ITA)- Nordica/Nordica/Marker
4. Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT)- Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5. Matthias Mayer (AUT)- Head/Head/Head
6. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)- Head/Head/Head
7. Brice Roger (FRA)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
8. Alexis Pinturault (FRA)- Head/Head/Head
9. Christof Innerhofer (ITA)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
9. Adrian Smiseth Sejersted (NOR)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
For complete FIS results, please click here.