"The biggest highlight this season was definitely winning 13 medals at the World Championships. Vincent Kriechmayr's four Downhill victories, Wendy Holdener's two Slalom wins and James Crawford's Gold in the Super-G at the World Championships are also up there," says HEAD Racing Director Rainer Salzgeber in summing up the season. "It was a very good season, but not a perfect one. We also had one or two problems such as Beat Feuz and Matthias Mayer announcing their retirements. Atle Lie McGrath's injury was also a major setback. This has weakened our team results quite a bit. We also had difficulties at the beginning of the season in the men's Giant Slalom. But the steps we took during the season were very positive. From the World Championships onwards, we were on top form. This means we have a very confident outlook for the future. The women's team had an excellent season."
The HEAD Worldcup Rebels write another chapter in skiing history in the 2022/23 season. With 8,750 points, HEAD once again clearly wins the FIS Brand Ranking. At the highlight of the season, the World Championships in Courchevel/Meribel, the HEAD team was also the best ski brand with 13 individual medals. In the World Cup, the Rebels were on the podium 67 times - even more than last season. Johan Clarey is "Rebel of the Year".
|HEAD is the clear No. 1 in the World Cup & World Championships|
Exciting new projects - more focus on the Europa Cup
"Regarding the equipment, we are currently working on some new and very interesting projects for the skis and ski boots. We want to really focus on this starting the end of March, beginning of April. We are always measured compared to the previous season," says Rainer Salzgeber. "During the next season there is no major event or championships on the World Cup circuit, so we want to focus more on the Europa Cup. We started doing that two or three years ago. We want to provide even better support for the athletes. Halvor Hilde Gunleiksrud from Norway won the Europa Cup ranking in the Slalom. He will now join the World Cup team for Norway. Then there is Franjo von Allmen from Switzerland, who finished second in the Downhill. These are very promising athletes, and we want to provide them with the best possible service support. They are among the athletes who will keep us on track following retirements like Feuz's or Clarey's."
"It all works together really well"
"I would also like to take this opportunity at the end of the season to sincerely thank our entire racing department. We really enjoyed this first 'normal' season after Corona. The whole HEAD team worked really well together. Whether it’s the people working at the ski racing events, developers working on new skis and boots, or the team working in the office - it all works together really well". That's why I'm already very much looking forward to the upcoming projects," emphasises Rainer Salzgeber.
13 medals for the most successful World Championships ever
Courchevel/Meribel in February was the most successful World Championships in the history of the HEAD Worldcup Rebels so far with a total of 13 individual medals. HEAD won Gold in France as the best ski brand of the World Championships. Gold medals were also won by the new World Champions Alexis Pinturault, James Crawford, Alexander Schmid and Maria Therese Tviberg. The World Championship started with a real winter fairy tale for the HEAD Worldcup Rebels. Alexis Pinturault became World Champion in the Combined event in his hometown of Courchevel. James Crawford had a sensational race in the Super-G. The Canadian athlete, who had yet to win a World Cup race, left all the favourites standing. In the Parallel Slalom, both Alexander Schmid from Germany and Maria Therese Tviberg from Norway won Gold medals. And both were delighted to win their first individual medal at a major event. For the German men's team, it was the first World Championship Gold medal in 34 years.
"Every single medal was a real highlight"
"There were some very interesting races with a lot of close calls. When you get 13 medals, including four Golds, that's exactly what we want," says a delighted Rainer Salzgeber. "This is the second major event in a row where the women's team have won medals in every discipline. This World Championships was generally very positive for the sport. They were challenging races under very fair conditions. The weather and snow conditions were great. We have never had such well prepared runs at a major event before. The way the World Championships was organised was brilliant."
Lara Gut-Behrami wins the Crystal Globe in the Super-G
Her victory in the final Super-G in Soldeu sees Lara Gut-Behrami take home the Crystal Globe in this discipline for the fourth time, following up from 2014, 2016 and 2021. The Swiss athlete skied an impressive race to victory in her 37th World Cup win overall, her 19th in the Super-G and her second in the Super-G this season. The 31-year-old also won Gold in this discipline at both the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2021 World Championships in Cortina.
HEAD wins eight out of nine podiums in Kvitfjell
The HEAD Worldcup Rebels celebrated 17 victories. They were on the podium 67 times - three more than last season. An absolute highlight was the World Cup weekend in Kvitfjell in March. The HEAD women's team swept away almost everything with eight out of nine podiums: In the Super-G on Friday, HEAD celebrated a triple victory with Cornelia Hütter, Elena Curtoni and Lara Gut-Behrami. Kajsa Vickhoff Lie's first World Cup victory followed on Saturday in the Downhill, where she also made Norwegian skiing history. Corinne Suter finished in third place. And on Sunday, HEAD again took all three podium places in the second Super-G with Nina Ortlieb, Stephanie Venier and Franziska Gritsch.
Kajsa Vickhoff Lie is the first Norwegian to win in the Downhill
"In Kvitfjell we almost took the maximum that was possible. I don't remember us bagging eight out of nine podiums in one location before," says Rainer Salzgeber. "And Kajsa Vickhoff Lie's victory was really cool. Especially considering her story, how she fought her way back following her injury, having to take a whole season off in the process. And that she is now the first Norwegian female athlete to win a Downhill event is really great. The triple victory on Sunday with all three athletes from one nation with the same brand of skis; that was awesome." The HEAD athletes also celebrated a triple victory with Corinne Suter, Cornelia Hütter and Ragnhild Mowinckel in the Super-G in Lake Louise in December.
Vincent Kriechmayr wins in Val Gardena, Bormio and Kitzbühel
Among the highlights this season were also the victories in the Downhill classics in Val Gardena, Bormio and Kitzbühel. Vincent Kriechmayr won all three races. Winning in Kitzbühel, especially, made a lifelong dream come true for the Austrian athlete. "For a specialist in the speed disciplines, this is the biggest thing you can win, next to a Gold medal at a championships," says Rainer Salzgeber. Vincent Kriechmayr also won the final Downhill at the finals in Soldeu. With four victories, the 31-year-old is the most successful HEAD Worldcup Rebel this season.
Debut victories for Holdener, Swenn-Larsson and Dürr
In addition to Kajsa Vickhoff Lie, Wendy Holdener also celebrated a very special victory. Following 15 second places and 15 third places in World Cup Slalom races, the Swiss athlete celebrated her first victory in this discipline in November in Killington. Holdener crossed the line in the same time as Anna Swenn-Larsson, who also nailed her first win in the Slalom. "Wendy Holdener is very well prepared. That, together with the equipment, makes the difference this season. The fact that Anna Swenn-Larsson was also able to celebrate her first victory is simply brilliant," explains Rainer Salzgeber. Exactly ten years after her victory at the City Event in Moscow, Lena Dürr celebrated her first World Cup victory in the Slalom in Spindleruv Mlyn in January. The German athlete raced to the top of the podium following two second places and five third place finishes in this discipline. February saw podiums for the first time this season for Laura Gauché from France in the Downhill in Crans Montana, and for Albert Popov from Bulgaria in the Slalom in Palisades Tahoe, both in third place.
Beat Feuz bids farewell to the ski World Cup
At the 83rd Hahnenkamm event in Kitzbühel in January, the spotlight was on one HEAD Worldcup Rebel in particular: Beat Feuz stood down from his unique World Cup career after 16 years. The Swiss athlete's track record is impressive: Feuz was Olympic Downhill champion in Beijing in 2022 and World Champion in the Downhill in St. Moritz in 2017. Four times in a row - from 2018 to 2021 - he won the Crystal Globe in the Downhill. 16 World Cup victories, including 13 in the Downhill and three in Super-G, are on his list of successes. In 2021 and 2022, Feuz won the Downhill races on the Streif run in Kitzbühel a total of three times.
Mayer wins the Gold medal at three consecutive Winter Olympics
Matthias Mayer's retirement in Bormio came as a surprise. The Austrian athlete set a very special record during his career. He became the first alpine ski racer to win a Gold medal in each of three consecutive Winter Olympics: the 2014 Downhill in Sochi, the 2018 Super-G in Pyeongchang and the 2022 Super-G in Beijing. In total, Mayer has stood on top of the podium eleven times in the World Cup: seven times in the Downhill, three times in the Super-G, and once in the Combined event.
Last race for Johan Clarey after 20 years in the World Cup
Johan Clarey, whose last race was in Soldeu, also looks back on an amazing career after 20 years of competing in the World Cup. The French athlete won Silver in the Downhill at the Beijing 2022 Olympics and Silver in the Super-G at the 2019 World Championships in Aare. He stood on the podium in the World Cup eleven times. Johan Clarey set several age records: He won the Silver in Beijing at the age of 41. This makes him the oldest alpine ski athlete to win a medal. At the age of 42, he finished second on the podium in the Downhill in Kitzbühel this season - there has never been an older athlete to manage that. In recognition of his amazing career, Johan Clarey was voted "Rebel of the Year" by the HEAD community.
Nestvold-Haugen, Gagnon and Frasse Sombet also end their ski racing careers
Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen from Norway, Marie-Michele Gagnon from Canada and Coralie Frasse Sombet from France also announced that they will be retiring from ski racing after this season. Nestvold-Haugen won the Bronze medal in the Giant Slalom at the World Championships in St. Moritz in 2017. He also podiumed on three occasions in this discipline. Gagnon's list of successes includes two World Cup victories in the Combined event and three more podium finishes in the Slalom and Super-G. In the 2013/14 season she celebrated the World Cup victory in the Combined event. Coralie Frasse Sombet finished third with the French team in the 2017 Team Parallel Slalom in Aspen to earn a World Cup podium.
The 13 individual World Championship medals won by the HEAD Worldcup Rebels
• Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Combined Event
• James Crawford (CAN) – Super-G
• Alexander Schmid (GER) – Parallel Slalom
• Maria Therese Tviberg (NOR) – Parallel Slalom
• Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Combined Event
• Nina Ortlieb (AUT) – Downhill
• Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Parallel Slalom
• Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Super-G
• Cornelia Hütter (AUT) – Super-G
• Kajsa Vickhoff Lie (NOR) – Super-G
• Corinne Suter (SUI) – Downhill
• Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) – Giant Slalom
• Lena Dürr (Ger) – Slalom
The 67 podiums in the World Cup in the 2022/23 season
1st places (17)
• Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) 4: Downhill Val Gardena, Downhill Bormio, Downhill Kitzbühel, Downhill Soldeu
• Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) 3: Giant Slalom Killington, Super-G St. Anton, Super-G Soldeu
• Wendy Holdener (SUI) 2: Slalom Killington, Slalom Sestriere
• Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) 1: Slalom Killington
• Corinne Suter (SUI) 1: Super-G Lake Louise
• Elena Curtoni (ITA) 1: Downhill St. Moritz
• Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 1: Super-G Cortina
• Lena Dürr (GER) 1: Slalom Spindleruv Mlyn
• Cornelia Hütter (AUT) 1: Super-G Kvitfjell
• Kajsa Vickhoff Lie (NOR) 1: Downhill Kvitfjell
• Nina Ortlieb (AUT) 1: Super-G Kvitfjell
2nd places (23)
• Wendy Holdener (SUI) 2: Slalom Levi, Slalom Aare
• Cornelia Hütter (AUT) 2: Super-G Lake Louise, Super-G Cortina
• Johan Clarey (FRA) 2: Downhill Val Gardena, Downhill Kitzbühel
• Elena Curtoni (ITA) 2: Super-G St. Moritz, Super-G Kvitfjell
• Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) 2: Giant Slalom Semmering, Giant Slalom Kronplatz
• James Crawford (CAN) 2: Downhill Bormio, Downhill Aspen
• Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) 1: Slalom Levi
• Corinne Suter (SUI) 1: Downhill Lake Louise
• Nina Ortlieb (AUT) 1: Downhill Lake Louise
• Sara Hector (SWE) 1: Giant Slalom Sestriere
• Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT) 1: Super-G Bormio
• Atle Lie McGrath (NOR) 1: Slalom Adelboden
• Kajsa Vickhoff Lie (NOR) 1: Downhill Cortina
• Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 1: Giant Slalom Kronplatz
• Lena Dürr (GER) 1: Slalom Spindleruv Mlyn
• Stephanie Venier (AUT) 1: Super-G Kvitfjell
• Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 1: Giant Slalom Kranjska Gora
3rd places (27)
• Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) 4: Giant Slalom Kranjska Gora, Super-G St. Anton, Super-G Kvitfjell, Downhill Soldeu
• Sara Hector (SWE) 3: Giant Slalom Killington, Giant Slalom Kronplatz, Giant Slalom Aare
• Corinne Suter (SUI) 3: Downhill Lake Louise, Downhill St. Moritz, Downhill Kvitfjell
• Matthias Mayer (AUT) 2: Super-G Lake Louise, Downhill Val Gardena
• Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2: Super-G Beaver Creek, Giant Slalom Kranjska Gora
• Lena Dürr (GER) 2: Slalom Semmering, Slalom Flachau
• Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) 2: Slalom Zagreb, Slalom Aare
• Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 2: Super-G Lake Louise, Super-G Soldeu
• Cornelia Hütter (AUT) 1: Downhill Lake Louise
• James Crawford (CAN) 1: Downhill Beaver Creek
• Elena Curtoni (ITA) 1: Downhill Cortina
• Wendy Holdener (SUI) 1: Slalom Spindleruv Mlyn
• Laura Gauché (FRA) 1: Downhill Crans Montana
• Albert Popov (BUL) 1: Slalom Palisades
• Franziska Gritsch (AUT) 1: Super-G Kvitfjell