The Swiss celebrate a win in Solden but the Austrians win at celebrating

For the 2nd day on the Rettenbach glacier high above Solden the male racers in the Austrian ski team failed to rise to the weather, snow conditions or the partying fans who were all superb.

Solden in the Otztal Valley had to rely on an Austrian from the next glacial valley, the Pitztal valley to save some face, with Benny ‘the blitz from Pitz’ Raich coming in 5th. The race was taken by Didier Cuche of Switzerland but Ted Ligerty gave him a real battle and came in 2nd.

The race results from today:

1    CUCHE Didier      SUI       2:21.45

2    LIGETY Ted      USA       2:22.05

3    JANKA Carlo      SUI       2:22.40

4    BLARDONE Massimiliano      ITA       2:22.41

5    RAICH Benjamin      AUT       2:22.90

6    JANSRUD Kjetil      NOR       2:23.27

7    GRANGE Jean-Baptiste      FRA       2:23.87

8    SIMONCELLI Davide      ITA       2:24.03

9    ROY Jean-Philippe      CAN       2:24.08

10    RICHARD Cyprien      FRA       2:24.13

11    PLONER Alexander      ITA       2:24.24

12    KOSTELIC Ivica      CRO       2:24.26

13    BAUMANN Romed      AUT       2:24.37

14    HIRSCHER Marcel      AUT       2:24.42

15    BERTHOD Marc      SUI       2:24.48

16    DIXON Robbie      CAN       2:24.65

17    VILETTA Sandro      SUI       2:24.71

18    REICHELT Hannes      AUT       2:24.72

19    KARLSEN Truls Ove      NOR       2:24.75

20    ZURBRIGGEN Silvan      SUI       2:24.82

My knees just about held up today with the summer spread and the kilos of camera equipment but I did get the dreaded feeling that the baton of skiing expertise is very much en-route to Josh, although at 5 months and 3 weeks it is still a few months before I envisage the beginning of the handover. Aching knees were soothed however by some (misplaced or misunderstood) hero worship at the Solden glacier party that followed the FIS race. I was taking a bit of video and some pictures of the concert and had several revellers leaning over the barriers at the front of the stage asking me endless questions. Neither I, nor a local of the Otztal Valley could decipher their message but by the look of them they were either extolling the virtues or damage of the local Rum. Maybe they were after autographs – I will never know. Cracking start to the FIS race calendar though and my first ski since June. If you haven’t skied or snowboarded for a while expect sore knees and jaw dropping views – even after all this time in the mountains they stop me dead in my tracks with their unrivalled beauty.

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