Final day of FIS Speed Ski World Cup racing ends on a high
The final day of racing at the FIS Speed Ski World Cup competition has seen the Tidstrand and Origone names again in the FIS World Cup points, but it was an Austrian known as ‘the Hammer’, Klaus Schrottshammer, that recorded the fastest time in the Velocity Challenge.
Racers started the second world cup final just short of the top of the track. The second men’s final was won by Ivan Origone, 158.00 km/h, with Schrottshammer second, 157.61 km/h and Simone Origone, 156.41 km/h, in third.
The second women’s final was hotly contested with Swedish superstar holder Sanna Tidstrand, 156.50 km/h, edging out Norwegian Liss-Anne Pettersen, 156.37 km/h, by 0.13 km/h. Swede Linda Baginski was third, 152.48 km/h.
Racers were ecstatic to finally reach the top of the track for Sun Peaks’ traditional Velocity Challenge, where organisers shorten the speed trap from 100 metres to 25 metres in an attempt to beat the course record of 177.21 km/h held by Kenny Dale. The Velocity Challenge was dominated by Schrottshammer with the stunning speed of 173.01 km/h. He was almost two kilometres faster than Simone Origone, 171.17 km/h. Sanna Tidstrand was the fastest of the women at 166.17 km/h.
Veteran speed skier and Sun Peaks local Don ‘Gonzo’ Gagnon, who has raced in the event every year since its inception, said speed skiing in North America and the Velocity Challenge have come a long way.
“In my first season (I raced in) a cross country ski suit . . . then a downhill suit from ex-national team members. . . . (Now) we’ve got the top speed skiers in the world (at Sun Peaks),” Gagnon said.
He was also happy with where the sport is headed.
“There’s some kids coming along (like) Joss Advocaat . . . it’s awesome to see kids like that stepping into the sport and doing well. And it’s nice to see more (Canadian’s) coming out . . . when they do try it then they’re hooked.
“It’s a sport where you don’t have to be trying to win World Cups to enjoy the sport.”
The event was hailed as a success by its organisers, with Sun Peaks Speed Ski Club president Adam Earle saying that even with less than ideal weather all results were met and there was only one minor crash.
“Considering we had four days of nasty blowing winter weather, which is not the best when doing over 160 km/h on skis, our race team bent over backwards to make it happen. Next year will be bigger and better than ever before.”
For full race results go to: www.velocitychallenge.com/results