The 2018-19 Audi FIS Ski World Cup women’s downhill globe winner, Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria, followed up her most successful season of alpine racing ever with another personal feat on skis. She mastered her personal “Mission 200”, to break 200 kilometers per hour on skis, as part of the FIS Speed Skiing World Championships in Vars, France, with flying colors. Skiing to a top speed of 217.590 kilometers per hour, she pulverized the previous Austrian record and also finished an impressive fourth place in the event, barely missing a medal.
In qualification runs, Schmidhofer narrowly missed her magical mark by skiing 199.778 kilometers per hour. But the Austrian speed skiing team headed by Christoph Prueller strongly believed that she would meet her target on the final day of the World Championships. In the semifinal, she posted a speed of 212.014 km/h on the scoreboard and qualified as one of the top five competitors to the final, finishing ahead of even world record holder, Italy’s Valentina Greggio.
Once again, she was able to raise her personal best by more than five kilometers per hour in the final. At 217.590 km/h, the newcomer Schmidhofer finished fourth at the Speed Skiing World Championships behind established athletes Britta Backlund of Sweden (221.266 km/h), Lisa Hovland-Uden of Sweden (220.318 km/h), and Italy’s Greggio (218.314 km/h).
“It was really cool!” Schmidhofer said of the experience. “I did the best in this short time, and with more than 217 km/h also achieved much more than I could have hoped for. The feeling is hard to describe – it makes a really big difference between skiing like yesterday at about 200 km/h and today at 217 km/h.”
Schmidhofer’s speed skiing project is completed for the immediate future after conquering her goal. “Maybe I’ll go with it again sometime, but now it’s time to concentrate fully on alpine skiing,” she said. “Of course, there is some risk after a long season because at such high speeds you always have to have full concentration.”
“Nici has delivered the absolute maximum with over 217 kilometers per hour,” Prueller concluded. “In such a short time with only a few training runs, she demonstrated a lot of professionalism but also had a lot of fun. It was the best advertisement for our sport.”
See full results here.
Watch video from the event here.
Release courtesy of the Austrian Ski Federation.