Unfortunately, Sweden’s team comprised of Frida Hansdotter, Anna Swenn Larson, Mattias Hargin and Andre Myhrer had to face reigning Olympic champions Switzerland with Wendy Holdener, Aline Denoth, Daniel Yule and Ramon Zenhaeusern already in the quarter finals. The noise level in the arena rose to deafening levels as the epic battle unfolded, but in the end the experienced Swiss skiers were on the right side of the clock and went on to successfully defend their title from St. Moritz 2017.
Naturally, the arena became quieter, but the two semi-finals brought much drama with Germany first looking to have secured the bronze medal against Italy, but TV replays confirmed that Linus Strasser straddled a gate, which led to the entire Italian team jumping for joy in the mixed zone.
As the snow kept falling, the world’s two top ski nations got ready to fight for gold in front of the enthusiastic crowd. Wendy Holdener (SUI) won the first round against Katharina Liensberger (AUT), but Daniel Yule (SUI) was then beaten by Michael Matt (AUT). After Aline Danioth (SUI) closely lost to Katharina Truppe (AUT), it came down to a ‘sudden death’ final run between Marco Schwarz and Ramon Zenhaeusern. The tall Swiss Zenhaeusern used his great parallel slalom skills to his advantage and managed to edge out Schwarz in the end and take gold for Switzerland.
An overjoyed Wendy Holdener and Daniel Yule praised the team’s fighting spirit. “It was so nice to race with these great fellow skiers. We had a lot of fun”, they said smiling from ear to ear. “Even though we kicked out the Swedes early on, we were happy to receive the support of the local fans in the finals. Thank you very much!”
Other favored nations like Norway and France were beaten by the spirited teams from Italy and Germany. “It was a well-prepared course tonight, but especially the lower part was rather difficult to master as the course was slower than in past days”, French superstar Tessa Worley concluded.
The event also gave outsiders like Great Britain and Belgium an opportunity to shine and have fun in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The British “Rocket from Lancashire” Dave Ryding had a broad smile on his face saying that it was good fun to ski against the best together with his young GB team. “The course was perfectly prepared, but it turned quite a bit.”
Belgian youngsters Marjolein Decroix and Kim Vanreusel enjoyed to compete on world stage for the first time and race against the future champion Switzerland. They will treasure this priceless experience for the rest of their lives.
Tomorrow Wednesday will be a race-free day. On Thursday it’s the ladies’ turn again to compete for the world title in Giant Slalom.