I have been quiet for a while. Since last season, the commitments haven’t become less, but I’m happy that I’m able to go full throttle for another year again – especially since I am really keen to race again.
I would like to start the new blog year with my fifth award as Sportsman of the Year! This is, of course, a tremendous honour and concludes my perfect season with another great highlight. Given all the great athletes we have in Austria, it was a great moment, but I definitely see myself as a representative for all the top athletes in Austria – especially Dominic Thiem and Matthias Walkner certainly didn’t achieve any less than me last year.
Following the calendar, the start of the new season is due for my team and me straight after the last season officially came to an end! On Sunday, the first race of the World Cup 2018/19 will take place with the slalom in Levi, Finland – and as in previous years we travel there with lots of question marks in our luggage. Only this time for completely different reasons.
Above all, the warm temperatures and the resulting poor snow conditions have made for difficult preparations for all athletes. Nevertheless – and that’s the good news for us – compared to the same time last year, I have way more training days in my legs! That leads us to the equipment question…
Anyone who follows my team and me knows that there is always something going on regarding our equipment. Whether we try something new right from the start in Levi, or we rely on something tried and tested, we will decide just before the race in Finland starts. Both options are possible – and that is very encouraging.
Regarding the chance to win my third reindeer in Levi after Ferdl II (2013) and Leo (2016), all I can say is that except for a single training day with Manuel Feller, I have no reference to slalom racing, yet. So far, I have trained 99 percent on my own. Thus, we are curious ourselves to see what’s in it for us in the end. So far, it has always been difficult to judge what shape you are really in, before the first race is complete. It’s the same this season.
The only certainty probably is that Henrik Kristoffersen will be a force to reckon with in the 2018/19 slalom. But the competition in my own team is also very strong, with Manuel Feller, Michi Schwarz, Michi Matt all being on top of their game.
In this sense, let’s wait and see, after Levi we will know more!