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Austria: 2024 Pre-Season notes



From what I’ve heard, Austria’s ski racers are the World Cup’s most highly-scrutinized by their fellow citizens. There’s a superb tradition to uphold. With 34 Overall globes, divided evenly between women and men, Austria has over half again more than Switzerland’s 21. Their women lead the Swiss by 5, the USA by 7. Anna Veith (nee Fenninger) won consecutive Overalls 2014 & 2015. None since then, though Katharina Liensberger took the 2021 Slalom globe and Worlds SL gold. 2019’s wild Edelweiss crew nearly swept the Downhill podium—Nicole Schmidhofer 1st, Stephanie Venier 3d, and Ramona Siebenhofer 4th.

With selection beginning at age seven, Austrian prospects are channeled through government-subsidized racer-student academies. Those who develop superior skills may (are expected/required to?) turn pro. For Austrian winter sport enthusiasts, the World Cup sparks enthusiasm on par with Premier League, Serie A, IPL, NFL, etc. (Whether any sport is embodied within a nation’s psyche, as you may hear of skiing in Austria or ice hockey in Canada, I won’t speculate.) Just know that Austrian World Cup ski racers have a high profile in their country, and their performance is closely followed by all media.

This pre-season evaluation profiles 2024 season’s named National team starters, reviewing their basic WAWC records, some personal characteristics, and my reckoning on how they’ll stand EOS. The eight athletes will comprise the National/top echelon Austrian team when the season begins in late October. Summer training injuries may, and too often have, caused roster changes. Note that Katharina Liensberger, one of WAWC’s very best, struggled last season and will begin 2024 on the A/second rank team. I’ll address her situation in a separate Feature. Katharina Gallhuber, too, will appear in a later Feature. 2018’s Slalom bronze winner at 21 years old, she missed most of 2019 after a December 2018 ACL tear, then all of 2023 after a summer training ACL tear. For most WAWC teams, I will choose a couple racers from the lower ranks to introduce before the season begins, or to follow as the campaign unfolds.

We’ll now consider the 2023 roster. First, however, know that the Austrians are a feisty crew. Judging from IG, they often hang out together and although reveal nothing untoward, I suspect they’re usually up to something. I don’t want to know—I’m geared toward the ordinary rather than the exceptional. And for sure, if I ever encounter them I’ll be on my best behavior. They’re all cops! (Osterreichische Bundespolizei) Study their IG posts—it’s their chosen/designated national service, or fallback career, or something. They’re fully trained on assault weapons, hand-to-hand combat, speed boats, drones, catapults, crossbows. Check out Conny and Tammy in wingsuits, exiting a glider and curling down 600 meters to board an in-flight helicopter operated by training officers posing as Krampus heisting 20 kilos of chocolate. The duo subdue the faux miscreants and complete the exercise, landing at ice Q for spates Mittagessen.


As for the earth-bound situation…like all large WAWC teams, Austria’s top rank excludes excellent racers who on form could beat a big wig. Experience and consistent strong finishes, I’m sure, are what determine who makes the top cut. Injury/recovery status is, alas, always a factor. A superior work ethic helps. Coaches’ belief in break-out potential probably alone wouldn’t land someone on the first team, as she can be promoted during the season if she excels on the European Cup and occasional WAWC starts. So here we go (finally).

I’ll venture the national ski federation (Österreichischer Skiverband aka OSV) is peeved by recent results. Austria’s WAWC race podiums since early December 2019 (beginning of 2020 season).

DH – 1x1st; 5x2nd; 9x3d. (5 by R. Seibenhofer, N. Schmidhofer, T. Tippler, now retired/inactive.)

SG – 4x1st; 6x2nd; 5x3d. (5 – Nici & Tammy)

GS – 1x3d Katharina Liensberger

SL – 3x1st; 5x2nd; 7x3d. (All Katy except 2x3d Katharina Truppe)

Liensberger’s been Tech’s top gun. (Bumping up the search results to top-6 adds another 20 placements or so to Tech with Gallhuber, Gritsch, Brunner, and Haaser pitching in.) Tech has a nebulous horizon; clarity or further obfuscation largely depends upon: Kati Liensberger regaining form; Katharina Gallhuber, PyeongChang SL bronze, returning after two WC seasons lost to knee injuries; Stephanie Brunner coming back from ACL.



TECH


FRANZISKA GRITSCH

Franzi Gritsch is Austria’s primary new 3-Discipline candidate. Won Overall European Cup in 2022; coming along nicely in WAWC SL, okay in GS. At 26, should make strong move within next couple of seasons.

Gritsch dominated the 2022 EC, her point total doubling 2nd place. (For context, only a few other competitors ran 4 disciplines, as Franzi did.) Promoted to National team 2023, she did okay. SL 4xT10 in 11 starts; GS 4xT20 in 10 starts. Super G is where she popped, taking 3d and 7th in 5 starts. (3 DH yielded a 28th best.) Looks like she was being groomed for SL—full WC season 2021; EC 2022 retuning. And probably not full Speed on WC re work overload caution. Good!

Has a bunch of elite-level starts: 96 WC; 86 EC. Team coaches must be strategizing how to channel her. She’s a solid prospect for consistent EOS T10, perhaps in 3 disciplines. Definitely someone to watch.

2023 WAWC – EOS Overall 23d.

SL EOS 13th – 11 starts - 4xT10; 4xDNF/Q; 2xT20; 25th.

GS EOS 18th – 10 starts - 5xT20; 4xT30; DNF.

SG EOS 23d – 5 starts – 3d; 7th; 18th; 2xT40.

DH EOS 48th – 3 starts – 28th; 41st; DNF.


2022 European Cup – EOS Overall 1st.

SL EOS 2nd – 8 starts - 2x1st; 2nd; 3d. 4xT10.

GS EOS 5th – 5 starts - 1st; 2nd. 6&7th; DNF.

SG EOS 3d – 2 starts - 2x1st

DH EOS 15th – 2 starts – 1st; 11th.


2022 WAWC – EOS Overall 69th.

SL EOS 40th -- 4 starts – 12th; 3xDNF/Q

GS EOS 32nd – 7 starts – 6th; 22nd; 5xDNF/Q


2021 WAWC – EOS Overall 37th

SL EOS 15th – 9 starts – 3xT10; 21st; 5xDNF/Q

GS EOS 26th – 7 starts – 2xT20; 2x24th; 3xDNF/Q


We see her coaches’ tactics following a mediocre 2021 WC Tech campaign. To build her confidence—and also probably to see if she’s aggressive against (slightly) lesser competition—Franzi ran almost a full 2022 European Cup Tech schedule, with a couple Speed starts. And concurrently a half WC Tech calendar. She blistered EC; the 28 total starts including WC made a full season. So she took that momentum into 2023 and is now right on course.

I think Gritsch has the knack and will flourish. If the team’s other main Tech members bounce back, coaches may give Franzi the green light to open up SG to see what’s there. Perhaps 6/7 SG starts this season, and 3/4 DHs. She’ll run full Tech despite last season’s so-so results—there’s too much invested to not play it out for at least another year. If SG works, Franzi may be a full-on 3-Discipline competitor by beginning of 2025 season. That’s a challenge, but she’s ready and I’m sure the head honchos want her starting 25+ races per season in some combination for the next four years.

I’ll peg her thus for 2024 EOS Tech: SL T12 and GS T15. I think she needs more seasoning with the vets. But by EOS 2026 she should be T10 in both. As for Speed, I’ll venture SG 2xT8 given 7+ starts. 3+ DH starts may yield a T15. With a heavy work load, I don’t sense a breakout this year. Franzi does, however, have the foundation to make EOS podium runs in a couple of years if a Discipline (or maybe two) catch on and she specializes…IMO.





RICARDA HAASER

Ricarda is a solid racer I overlooked in 2020—she was OFS with a herniated (back) disc in January, and I didn’t note her 2021 comeback. A steady 3/4-Discipline starter since 2016 season WAWC debut—a rigorous 20-start campaign—Haaser’s 2021-2023 WC seasons show a persistent veteran seeking where to push hardest.

2023 – 12 starts – 9xGS 8th; 7xT20; DNF. 3xSG 17th; 2xT20

2022 – 17 starts – 9xGS 5th; 5xT20; 26th; 2xDNF/Q. 5xSG 2xT20; 27th; 2xDNF. 3xDH 30th; 2xT40.

2021 – 15 starts – 6xGS 2xT10; 4xDNF/Q. 5xSG 7th; 3xT20; 26th. 5xDH 2xT20; 22nd; 2xT40.

2023 World Championships – Bronze Alpine Combined

World Cup 150 total starts. European Cup 89 total starts. FIS 92 total starts (Dec. 2010-Feb. 2015)

331 FIS+ starts. That’s a container ship-load.

Ricarda’s record puzzles me. GS has been her best discipline, with EOS 10th in 2019 and 14th 2018. Then EOS 2x15th 2022-2023. 2020’s disc pain may have lingered, though she had a fine 2021 EOS SG 15th. SL was dropped in 2018; EOS DH best result 20th (2019), then dropped last year. So what’s up?

I reckon Haaser’s WAWC experience and solid GS, along with her place within the team’s chemistry and coach/OSV belief and loyalty, fixed her National spot. 30 this September, she has a couple of seasons to expand her GS groove and to retrieve SG T15 form before younger legs stomp into the upper echelon. If she posts EOS GS T10 this year and well-improved SG, the upward arc may show a late-career peak forming. Hopefully she’d earn another two seasons to play it out. But the competition’s tough. Empathy hasn’t much truck with professional sports, unfortunately.

Very experienced, Ricarda knows how her ability and present potential is best exploited. And so do I! (‘oo ‘) Full-on GS, no doubt; SG the obvious second discipline. Anything else? Perhaps an occasional DH on tracks she likes on weekends with both Speed events. She’ll have to attend each WAWC meet, of course, since GS and SG are separate caravans. But that’s doable, since it’ll usually be a single race and she can then take off. I think she’ll be EOS T12 GS on 11-start full calendar. If Ricarda starts all 10 SGs, make that another T12. Why not? She was 2021 T15 on 5 starts. EOS 2xT12 in this wildly competitive WAWC era is a solid mark.






KATHARINE TRUPPE

Katharine Truppe has been Austria’s Slalom steady-Eddy since 2017. She’s basically run a full SL schedule each year except for 2021’s five starts; I found no mention of injury.

She contests GS with middling results—2022 EOS 10th, with next best EOS 20th. (2023 EOS GS 35th.) She’ll turn 28 in January. If she enjoys GS, and I imagine every racer digs all racing, she may well continue if her coaches agree.

Katharina’s ready for another EOS SL T6/7 season (like 2019 & 2020), I think. It will require a strong recovery from 2023’s EOS 11th, but she can do it. For this reason, perhaps paring GS down to five starts on copacetic tracks is advisable. Would OSV, or any national association, devote a veteran entering her prime to one discipline…? I imagine it’s rare, but we’ll see.

Also, Truppe will have new equipment this season—off long-time Fischer and onto Volkl. As I observed ad nauseum re Michelle Gisin, changing gear is a big deal. A Tech specialist, Katharina will need to dial in two set-ups instead of three or four, which should significantly ease the transition. Indeed, perhaps new boards will dictate SL as 2024’s sole discipline. So if summer training goes very well, she should be on form 11-12 November in Levi, Finland.

Recent WC SL stats. Two best GS seasons too.

Not sure why just 5 starts in 2021. Searched; didn’t find injury mentioned.

2020 World Cup season ended early per Covid.

2023 SL EOS 11th – 11 starts – 3d; 10th; 7xT20; 21st; DNF.

2022 SL EOS 9th – 8 starts – 4xT10; 3xT20; 22nd. GS EOS 10th – 9 starts – 2xT10; 6xT15; 27th.

2021 SL EOS 12th – 5 starts – 4xT10; DNF. GS EOS 20th – 6 starts – 4xT20; 27th; DNQ.

2020 SL EOS 7th – 6 starts – 2x3d; 2xT10; 18th; DNF.

2019 SL EOS 6th – 9 starts – 7xT10; 2xT20.

With 146 total WAWC starts, Katharina should have another 50-75 races before her body really starts feeling it. If she contests SL&GS that’s about 4 more seasons; SL only and it’s not an issue. She’s beginning her prime years, has a lot of experience—she’s done the team well. Katharina should get all the coaching/assets she needs to make an EOS SL T7 move. Given the work she’s put in, I bet she’s itching for November.





Note: I can't figure out why the text now appears with a white backdrop. The entire post was copied/pasted at once from a single Word doc. I tried re-inserting by separate paragraphs, but no dice. Cutting white text then re-typing here would work, but that makes me quail. Only post so affected. Weird. I hope it's not too distracting/annoying.

Austria’s Speed and Tech teams are in different positions: Tech hoping a few key, proven racers return to National team/top form; Speed with strongest veterans on National roster to kick off season. Both teams’ fortunes ride upon on-going injury recovery/improved finishes, though Speed is somewhat more vulnerable in that regard, AFAICT.


SPEED

Austria’s Speed prospects are encouraging but need to flourish soon owing to prime movers being in their prime. There are five proven veterans between 27 and 31 years old, all with at least one WC win, each returning from season-ending injury within the past few years. And three others—Nicole Schmidhofer, Ramona Siebenhofer, and Tamara Tippler—retired after last season. (Tammy’s having a child; not sure she’s formally retired. Will be interesting to see if she returns to WC.) No other large team has a core Speed group so evenly matched—all capable of T10 DH or SG finish on any day.



CORNELIA HUETTER

A glowing WAWC character. Cheerful, game; subtly mischievous, I sense. And tough as nails: walked away from a wild face plant off final jump at Crans Montana 2022. Concussion protocol hobbled her push for a T7/8, as she missed final two Speed weekends. Totally devoted Styrian athlete/farm girl. Savvy salt-of-the-earth who travels the world. Enjoys Rally racing and motor bikes. A glamorous hint, too, per IG. Excellent Speed racer from early in career; a couple of knee injuries deprived WAWC of a delightful star for two seasons in her prime. Truly, her trajectory was to perennial T5 Speed ranking with a couple EOS podiums, and 50/50 for a globe.

Selected seasons to give you the idea.

2016 World CupEOS 7th (age 24)

DH 5th - 9 starts – 2x2nd; 2x3d; 4th; 4xT20

SG 4th – 8 starts – 1st; 3x3d; 2xT10; 2xT20

2017 WC – Injured mid-December 2016 OFS

2018 World Cup – EOS 18th

DH 4th – 7 starts – 1st; 3d; 2xT10; 2xT20; 28th

SG 12th – 7 starts – 3d; 8th; 4xT20; DSQ

2019 WC – Missed 4xDH races?; probably re injuries. Fractured season; not counting.

DH 6 starts – 2nd; 3xT10; 2xDNF

SG 4 starts – 4xT20

2020 WC – Injured OFS

2021 WC – 2 total starts – Injured, must have been.

2022 World Cup – EOS 21st

DH 12th – 6 starts – 2x3d; 2xT10; 16th; 36th. Crashed, slid over finish line for 36th. EOS

SG 14th – 6 starts – 1st; 8th; 3xT20; DNF

2023 World Cup – EOS 14th

DH 16th – 8 starts – 3d; 5th; 4xT20; 31st; DNF. (DNS season 2nd DH per concussion caution, I think.)

SG 5th – 8 starts – 1st; 2x2nd; 2xT10; 14th; 2xDNF.

2023 very fine SG; erratic DH. Perhaps a bit spacy and/or gun shy after concussion March 2022? Conny seems like someone who trains/competes to channel energy, not just aiming to win. She a worker. Farm chores—hay bales; cement workshop pad; nurturing happy critters. Conny thrives by accomplishment. Doesn’t strike me as restive. (In contrast to, say, Petra.) I think she’ll regain DH form for EOS T10 DH and hold EOS SG T5/6. Tough to predict: her talent exceeds her DH results, IMO. I hope she sticks around for a few more years and follows Ilka Stuhec’s inspiring rejuvenation.






MIRJAM PUCHNER

Mirjam Puchner’s a racer’s racer. Not flamboyant; does the job all-out. Strong overall record. Maybe poised for a AFAICT per IG, a steady settled soul, definitely neck-deep in the team’s extracurricular escapades. Healthy from what I’ve found…except February 2017 tib/fib fracture. Yeow. Missed entire 2018 season. Mirjam seems serious behind her smile. She wants more.

2023 World CupEOS

DH 5th – 9 starts - 6xT10 (BF 4th); 2xT20; 27th

SG 10th – 8 starts – 4xT10 (BF 4th); 3xT20; DNF

2022 World CupEOS

DH 5th -- 9 starts - 2x3d; 3xT10; 4xT20

SG 11th -- 9 starts - 3d; 2xT10; 3xT20; 2x21st; DNF

2021 World CupEOS

DH 18th – 7 starts – 8th; 4xT20; 22nd; 30th.

SG 25th – 6 starts – 2xT20; 3xT30; 38th.

2020 World CupEOS (Shortened season per Covid; final scheduled DH&SG cancelled.)

DH 33d – 8 starts - 2xT20; 2xT30; 4xT40. (!)

SG 25th - 5 starts – 5th; 4xT30 (?)

2019 World Cup – EOS

DH 11th -- 1x1st 6th; 3xT20; 27th; 32nd; 40th.

SG 36th -- 4 starts – 18th; 23d; 30th; 34th.

129 WC total starts – December 2015 to March 2023 – 2 wins; 5 podiums.

86 European Cup starts – March 2010 to March 2015 – 2 wins; 9 podiums.

2022 Olympics – SG Silver

Top-notch DH 2022 and 2023. Really makes the most of her good races—as 2 x EOS 5th show despite some pokey finishes. Recent SG improving. Some wildly erratic seasons. I wonder if/how coaching plays into it. Perhaps ski prep not always up to snuff? If Mirjam can split say 4 Speed podiums (2 each DH&SG) and 8xT10 additional Speed finishes in 2024, she should at least hold EOS DH 5thand bump up SG T8. I’m a bit surprised that her 2023 DH stats got her 5th EOS; would think lower, but good for her. In-form a sneaky-good contender, but until consistency arrives, tough to call a total Speed front-runner. Yet I sense at 31, she’s gonna pull out the stops in 2024 to keep her team spot for 2025 Worlds. If that goes well, perhaps an Olympic-year swan song. Mirjam seems a touch unfulfilled. A hard-core Golden Eagle, she’ll attack.






NINA ORTLIEB

Will have an excellent season, I think. Two major knee injuries; like Breezy she’s battled back. Seems fairly quiet and focused; racing is the big thing. Dad raced WC. OSV strongly committed to her, I sense, because she’s legacy and serious; solid 2xSpeed discipline threat. I really think she’s gonna bloom. 27, so beginning accepted “prime” years. DNFs fairly significant; like Mirjam, can be erratic with a few T30 finishes. But I’d say let her Speed trajectory play out. Should be a gimme EOS T8/10 DH & SG within 2 years, then better for 2+ more. Breakout for an EOS podium(s), I’m sure. Globe contention.

As for 2024 EOS, I say DH T10; SG T10. I think she'll really gun to get SG back into gear.

**Maybe see if inconsistent results shared with Mirjam/others. Could indicate ski prep not up to snuff; see if they share techs? Equipment prep’s importance a good topic.**

2023 World CupEOS

DH 9th – 9 starts – 2nd; 3xT10; 2xT20; 27th; 2xDNF

SG 20th – 7 starts – 1st; 19th; 2xT30; 3xDNF

2022 WC – OFS injury recovery

2021 WC – Hurt early January, OFS.

2020 World CupEOS

DH 8th – 8 starts – 3d; 3xT10; 3xT20; DNF

SG 6th – 6 starts – 1st; 2xT10; 12th; 2xDNF

World Championship – 2023 DH Silver

2019 WCEOS 71st. DH 33d – 7 starts – 15th; 4xT30; 2xDNF. SG 35th – 5 starts – 13th; 2x30th; 34th; DNF.

2019 European Cup – EOS 20th. DH 12th – 3 starts – 2nd; 3d; DSQ. SG 5th – 4 starts – 2x2nd; 9th; 10th.

2018 EC – EOS 1st

DH 2nd – 6 starts – 2nd; 3d; 4xT10

SG 2nd – 6 starts – 1st; 2x2nd; 3d; 2x10th

GS 8th – 6 starts – 1st; 2x7th; 11th; 12th; DNF.

As with Franzi Gritsch, Nina blended WC and EC starts within a season to transition to the big show. Really brought it for fantastic 2018 EC EOS 1st. Then despite a statistically rough 2019 WC, she rode the experience into an excellent 2020 Speed campaign. This woman’s a pro.





CHRISTINE SCHEYER

Christine Scheyeris dedicated full-on Speed! As a teen she primarily contested Tech in FIS races, and did pretty well. Tasting a few Super G FIS victories nineteen, however, the shift began. European Cup Tech’s competitive level was above her own; EC Speed was up her alley. 2016 EC EOS SG 9th and DH 15th sealed the deal, I reckon. Promoted for 2017 season to run WC Speed exclusively, Christine won the fourth DH, at Zauchensee, by 0.39 from Tina Weirather and the usual elite field. EOS DH 10th and SG 14th marked a 22-year-old rising star. 2018 WC wasn’t nearly as successful. I wonder if returning knee pain/hinderance was an issue. I say this because Christine tore her right ACL along with fracturing the femur to kick off 2019’s season at Lake Louise, and I read: “This is already the third major knee injury of her young career.” So when she was very young—early teens I’d guess—Scheyer suffered big-time for her sport.

Christine, unfortunately, is a textbook example of solid, growing talent undercut by knee injury. Her 2022 EOS DH 10th shows she’s back on-form…what horrid luck to then hurt her shoulder badly enough during late pre-season training to require season-ending surgery. Missed during my initial WAWC explorations, I now see how good Christine is, and that WAWC Downhill would have been even more competitive and dramatic with her kicking it.

Raw FIS and EC stats:

FIS races – December 2009 to March 2013 ( <T30 & DNF/Q listed results)

SL 45 total starts – 1x1st; 2xpodium; 4xT10; 10xT20; 6xT30; 11xDNF/Q.

GS 39 total starts – 3x1st; 4xpodium; 4xT10; 13XT20; 28th; 4xDNF/Q.

SG 19 total starts – 2x1st; 1xpodium; 1x8th; 7xT20; 2xDNF.

DH 2 total starts – 29th; DNF.

105 FIS starts

European Cup races

SL 6 starts – 3xT30; 3xDNF/Q. (January 2013 to December 2014)

GS 10 starts – 4xT20; 39th; 5xDNF/Q. (December 2014 to January 2016)

SG 5 starts – 3d; 2xT10; 2xT20. (December 2015 to January 2021)

DH 8 starts –2nd; 3d; 10th; 2xT20; 30th; 37th. (January 2016 to February 2018)

29 EC starts

World Cup races (6 Alpine Combined omitted)

GS 1xDNQ (December 2014)

2016 SG 2 starts – 2x36th.

2017 DH 7 starts – 1st; 2xT10; 2xT20; 23d; DNF. SG 6 starts – 7th; 5xT15.

2018 DH 7 starts – 2xT20; 4xT30; DNF. SG 8 starts – 2xT10; 17th; 25th; 3xT40; DNF.

2019 DH 2 starts – 7th; 13th. SG 1 start – DNF (EOS Right ACL/femur fracture)

2020 DH 3 starts – 12th; 24th; 36th. SG 1 start – 30th. (No FIS or EC. Leg not ready.)

2021 DH 7 starts – 3xT20; 2xT30; 2xT40. SG 3 starts – 2x5th; 12th.

2021 EC: SG 2 starts – 5th; 7th. 2021 FIS: SG 1 start – 1st.

2022 DH 9 starts – 2nd; 3xT10; 3xT20; 2xT30. SG 8 starts – 2xT20; 3xT30; 3xDNF.

2023 DH 2 starts – 2xT40. (EOS Hurt right shoulder late November training. Decided surgery needed.)

66 WC starts

200 FIS/EC/WC starts

Also about 35 Worlds and National Championship starts. Best results:

Nationals2x1st - DH & GS. Worlds – 1x6th DH

2 x WAWC EOS DH 10th – 2017 & 2022. WAWC EOS SG best result 12th in 2021.

Best WAWC Overall EOS 25th in 2017.

Scheyer’s 2022 SG didn’t accompany her DH back up to snuff, but summer training can help that. She could 2024 EOS DH T10/12 with a basic return to form and a bit o’ luck as almost anyone’s successful seasons require. No reason SG can’t follow suit. I sense Christine will enjoy two or three incrementally better seasons, with a couple podium finishes each year, and definitely a win or two—probably in DH. EOS T8 for 2026, with fruitful 2025 Worlds and Olympic fun at Cortina? I’ll call a major later-career run.

Racers with such skill always put it together top-to-bottom, at least a few times, when the day’s intangibles go their way as well. The really good ones make it habitual. Christine’s a really good one. Stay healthy and keep starting!






STEPHANIE VENIER

Stephanie Venier escaped my initial WAWC forays, unsure why. Very experienced major Speed talent who’s dealt with torn ACL and Covid. Improved consistency key, perhaps more than for most competitors. When she’s on she’s money T6 on any track.

First World Cup start at 18 years (Jan 2013). 32 European Cup starts Jan. 2012 – March 2013. 2014 ran WC and EC Speed, then full-time WC beginning 2016 season.

2014 EC: DH 6 starts -- 3d; 5xT10. SG 5 starts – 10th; 12th; 2xT30; 117th (???) Gotta look at the start list for that race.

2014 WC: DH 2 starts – 34th; 44th. SG 5 starts – 3xT30

2015: Out For Season after January left ACL. 5 WC Speed starts – 23d best finish.

2016 WC: DH 8 starts – 10th; 4xT30; 37th; 2xDNF/Q. SG 8 starts – 10th; 4xT20; 2xT30; DNF.

2017 WC: DH 8 starts – 7xT20 (2x11th); 23d. SG 7 starts – 2nd; 3d; 2xT10; 12th; 2xT30.

2018 WC: DH 8 starts – 4xT10; 15th; 3xT30. SG 8 starts – 10th; 5xT20; 28th; DNF.

2019 WC: DH 8 starts – 1st; 3d; 5xT10; 13th. SG 6 starts – 4xT10; 2x13th.

2020 WC: DH 8 starts – 2x3d; 2xT10; 2xT20; 23d; DNF. SG 6 starts – 4xT10; 2xT20.

2021 WC: DH 7 starts – 4xT20; 28th; 33d; DNF. SG 6 starts – 9th; 16th; 3xT30; DNF.

2022 WC: DH 9 starts – 5th; 6xT20; 23d; 34th. SG 5 starts –- 2xT20; 2xT30; 34th.

2023 WC: DH 8 starts – 2xT10; 5xT20; 28th. SG 8 starts – 2nd; 9th; 4xT20; 2xT30.

Two excellent WAWC EOS: 2020Overall 14th; DH 7th; SG 5th. 2019 Overall 9th; DH 2nd; SG 9th.

World Championships best results: 2017DH 2nd. 2019 – DH 4th.

Venier has reliably clocked Speed time, that’s for sure. Consistently improving after a knee injury, she was a major player 2019 & 2020, poised to accelerate. She caught Covid badly in November 2020, suffering the virus’s full misery: fatigue, joint pain, fever, loss of appetite, problems with vision and balance. (Related via race TV commentators.) Stephanie started nearly every Speed race, but achieved 1xT10, with EOS way down the ranks. 2022 was difficult as well; I believe she missed a couple SG starts for caution/observation after smacking her head in a fall. Last season SG worked back, with an excellent 2nd in the schedule’s penultimate race, when Austria swept the podium at Kvitfjell. 2xT10 in DH were encouraging as well.

FWICT from IG and an FIS video interview, Stephanie’s objective, confident, and easily committed to her WC career. I say “easily” in the sense that her life is good, challenging, with much left to accomplish but within her ability; there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing. She will EOS SG T10 this year, then hold it for a season or two. 2024 EOS T15 DH, and 2025 EOS T12 DH. As with any solid competitor who knows how to deliver the goods, strong EOS rank requires consistency. Stephanie’s back rolling.








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