What a season for the HEAD World Cup Rebels: Golds, Globes and Victories!
Thanks to Aksel Lund Svindal and Ted Ligety, HEAD won the Globes in Downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom and the mighty Lindsey Vonn won the Women’s Downhill Globe despite missing three races! Add to that an impressive ten medals at the World Championships in Schaldming, of which five were Gold, HEAD skis finished the season as the most successful ski brand in the 2012 – 13 Alpine World Cup.
After finishing third in the clean sweep by HEAD skiers in the Super G at the World Championships in Schladming, Aksel Lund Svindal mentioned, almost in passing that “this was my worst result of the season in Super G.” With four wins and a second place in the five World Cup Super G races, this was some achievement. Had it not been for the final race in Lenzerheide being cancelled the record may have been even greater. The weather Gods conspired to deprive Svindal of scoring more points in the hunt for the Overall after also seeing the Downhill cancelled. For the first time in his career, Svindal also collected the Downhill Globe as well as the Downhill World Championship.
If Svindal was dominant in Super G, then Ted Ligety was equally so in Giant Slalom. The figures speak for themselves: Eight races, six wins and two third places. From the first race in Soelden and the margin of victory (2.75 seconds), the race was on to see who would be second. For Ted, skiing isn’t a sport: It’s a lifestyle, a passion, an obsession, a purpose. Ted now has seventeen wins in Giant Slalom on the World Cup, third on the list only to Ingemar Stenmark and Michael von Gruenigen. He also has four Crystal Globes as well. Yet Ted used all his ability to also walk away from the World Championships with three Gold Medals: The Super G, the Super Combined and the Giant Slalom. Asked what meant more and it was hard he felt to differentiate between being good on the one day at the World Championships and being good all season for the Globes. For his rivals though the news is bad: He is already planning lots of training so that he can come back and do it all again next season!
With only one clean sweep of the podium at the World Championships by any ski brand, Gauthier de Tessieres was the sandwich between Ligety and Svindal. Gauthier took advantage of an injury to Johan Clarey to make the French team and made his run count to take the silver. With two top ten World Cup results as well, much is expected for the Frenchman next season.
Lindsey Vonn won the Downhill Crystal Globe for the sixth time and a record seventeenth Globe in her career and this despite missing 19 of the 38 races of the season after tearing her ACL / MCL at the World Championships. Lindsey personifies the ethos of being a HEAD World Cup Rebel with her never say die attitude to racing. Lindsey won six races in her shortened season: Downhills (3), Super G (2) and the Giant Slalom in Maribor.
Maria Hoefl-Riesch took Gold in the Super Combined at the World Championships as well as bronze in the Downhill. With one win on the World Cup (Levi, Slalom), two second places and five third places, Maria took second place in the Overall and third in the Downhill standings.
Anna Fenninger stepped up to the mark and further enhanced her growing reputation with first winning in Semmering during the Christmas and New Year holiday period and then backed it up with back-to-back wins in Garmisch and Ofterschwang. Fenninger also took a bronze in the Giant Slalom at the World Championship.
Another Rebel to step up to the plate when the going got tough this year was Wendy Holdener from Switzerland. Coming into the season her best World Cup result was a 14th; she then scored a ninth in Semmering in Slalom and then went to the small final in the Moscow City Event and then took second in the Slalom in Ofterschwang. The nineteen year old from Switzerland is going places.
Julia Mancuso took the opening medal at the World Championships for HEAD with the bronze in the Super G, her fifth career World Championship medal. As the tour pulled into Lenzerheide, Jules was in with a shout of nicking the Globe … but then the weather beat her! With four podiums in the six Super G races and never worse than sixth, this was why she was still in the hunt to the final day.
Georg Streitberger joined the HEAD World Cup Rebels this season and after a slow start, ended the season with podiums in both Downhill and Super G. in Garmisch, Streitberger nearly took the top step from a start number of 30.
Mathias Mayer joined the illustrious list of racers to have stood on the Kitzbuehel podium with second in the Super G, a result that also secured him his ticket to the World Championships.
Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden took only the second podium of her career in Lake Louise before her season was ended by injury. Johan Clarey, who so nearly won in Kitzbuehel, and Kjetil Jansrud, injured in the Super G at Schladming after taking a podium in the Downhill in Beaver Creak, both suffered early ends to their seasons as well; like Beat Feuz and Bode Miller, all should be back for the 2013 – 2014 Olympic season.
In Downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom, the HEAD racers combined to be the best brand in both male and female races on the World Cup. And in the slalom the future is looking good as Manuel Feller also took the Junior World Title to help bring back up to Ted Ligety on the World Cup tour.
The success of the HEAD World Cup rebels in the World Championships and on the World Cup was also orchestrated by the behind the scenes support and hard work of all the team: the servicemen, the development team as well as the racers. After the World Championships, Rainer Salzgeber, Racing Manager to the HEAD World Cup Rebels, paid tribute to and thanked the whole team of people that contributed in creating the most successful racing products on the slopes.
That was the 2012 – 2013 season. A season that saw five Gold Medals at the World Championships (more than any other brand), four Crystal Globes and twenty one World Cup Victories by the HEAD World Cup Rebels.
Next season has already started.