Alpine

Brandenburg is Top American in Schladming

by
USSA
2015-01-27 16:07
 

SCHLADMING, Austria (Jan. 27, 2014)—Racers skied through a blizzard of wet snow at the Schladming night slalom on Tuesday—the last Audi FIS World Cup race before the FIS Alpine World Championships. Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA) finished 18th—his first finish all season—and David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) was 19th.

In front of a crowd rivaling Kitzbuehel, Russian Alexander Khoroshilov won his first World Cup—the first World Cup win for Russia in 34 years. Stefano Gross of Italy took second and Felix Neureuther third.

Before Tuesday’s race, Brandenburg had only finished one World Cup race in the past three seasons. But he remained a strong skier, showing speed in training and in runs he finished. This race, Brandenburg said he utilized a new tactic: holding back speed to focus on completing races. “I didn’t gun it that much, but I’m happy with the result,” he said. “I’m getting there. I could have been faster, but I didn’t want to take the risk.”

In the first run, Brandenburg started 33rd and finished 17th. His determination to make it to the bottom was obvious in his second run. He had a few bobbles, but still took 18th place, scoring his first World Cup points in almost a year.

"I thought this was going to be my last race. I didn’t plan after this weekend going into the season. It didn’t look like things were going that way," said Brandenburg after the race. "But I’ll now rethink it. That feeling today was pretty sweet. I want to keep going. I think I just answered my own question: I’m not done ski racing."

Chodounsky had a rough first run, hipchecking near the bottom of the course and barely qualifying for another attempt. But it clearly didn’t bother him, as he tied for fifth second run. He finished 19th overall.

Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT), Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN), Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT) and AJ Ginnis (Waitsfield, VT) did not qualify for the second run.

The men now head back home to the U.S. to train and rest before Worlds in February. The World Champs team will be announced Wednesday, January 28 at 5:00 p.m. on Universal Sports.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • This was Will Brandenburg’s second World Cup finish since November 2012.
  • David Chodounsky tied for fifth place second run with Alexis Pinturault of France, who sits in fourth overall in the World Cup hunt.
  • Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) decided to not race in Schladming, instead choosing to train and rest at home in Park City before Worlds.
  • Watch the re-air of the slalom at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday and 5:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday on Universal Sports.

QUOTES
Will Brandenburg
Going into Kitzbuehel, I decided to try to back off the full-on speed and use my intensity to ski a rounder line. It was really slow at the top of Kitzbuehel, but I understood what I needed to do there. I came into [Schladming] and knew what I needed to do to get something rolling. I hadn’t finished a first run all season. 

I was pretty nervous before I went out. But I calmed myself down and went out of the starting gate. Those turns felt awesome. I really pushed up there. I had a few mistakes at the bottom and backed off a bit, but that’s ok. It’s exciting to be here. It’s a sweet race. I backed off today and tried to ski smooth. I think I can learn from that. I lack confidence sometimes to always make it to the finish line. 

I remember being a senior in high school and I got invited to travel with the U.S. Ski Team. We were racing here in January and Schladming was on. That’s when I said, “I want to be a slalom skier.” I’ve had opportunities to ski other events, but I wanted to rip here. 

I thought this was going to be my last race. I didn’t plan after this weekend going into the season. I wanted to be top 25 this season to continue ski racing. It didn’t look like things were going that way. But I’ll now rethink it. That feeling today was pretty sweet. I want to keep going. I think I just answered my own question: I’m not done ski racing.

I think about [Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack] a lot. I got to experience some great runs and awesome memories with those two this summer. Bryce and I skied in Chile. That kid was not only going to be a super star ski racer, but he was a super star person. I think about them often and the whole development team. This is a hard time. We all love them very much.

David Chodounsky
This is nuts. I love racing here. There are thousands and thousands of fans. You don’t see this anywhere else. It’s such a great experience. 

I really wanted to have a good run to finish it off and go home on a strong note. I’m really happy with that. I was hoping obviously to have a better placing, but I’ll take it for sure. I’m heading out of January with a good feeling to World Champs. 

RESULTS
Official results

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