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Solden GS Season-Opener

Ok, so it's not a classic in the sense of Kitzbuhel or Wengen, but to us here at SnowKings Towers there's something special about the season opener in October up on the Rettenbach glacier above Solden. Having endured the hot summer months the Solden race is a little nod in a skiers direction that the full winter season is just around the corner.

Race Details for Solden World Cup Opener Race

The FIS has dabbled with a few different locations to kick off the start of it's season, Las Lenas in Argentina got the nod a few times in the 1980's, and they even tried Australia as well. However, the problem with a location in the southern hemisphere is that it meant racing in August, and you then had a long gap until the next race. So in recent years the FIS has settled on Solden as the venue for it's traditional curtain raiser. And why not ! Since hosting the event back in 1993, the Rettenbach Glacier above Solden has been in a decent enough state to host the women's and men's giant slaloms. Ok, there have been a few years when fog or high wind has led to one of the races being cancelled but you get that at some point with every venue on the circuit anyway. You only need to look at the list of names who have won the event to see how seriously the skiers take it - nearly all of the winners have been the big names in the sport over the last 20 years. The venue is now well established and proved a real success so let;s hope that the FIS continue to kick off it's season at Solden.

The race is also the traditional venue for the AIJS (International Association of Ski Journalists) to name the winner of their Skieur d'Or Award.

Solden Men's Giant Slalom Champions

The list of winners of the season-opening Solden Giant Slalom since the event started back in 1993 is as follows:

Year Winner Nationality Notes
2015 Ted Ligety USA
2014 Marcel Hirscher Austria
2013 Ted Ligety USA
2012 Ted Ligety USA
2011 Ted Ligety USA
2010 Race Cancelled - poor weather
2009 Didier Cuche Switzerland
2008 Daniel Albrecht Switzerland
2007 Aksel Lund Svindal Norway
2006 Race Cancelled - poor weather
2005 Hermann Maier Austria
2004 Bode Miller USA
2003 Bode Miller USA
2002 Stefan Eberharter Austria
2001 Frederic Covili France
2000 Hermann Maier Austria
1999 Solden not selected as opener
1998 Hermann Maier Austria
1997 Solden not selected as opener
1996 Steve Locher Switzerland
1995 Solden not selected as opener
1994 Solden not selected as opener
1993 Franck Piccard France

2014 Solden - Giant Slalom Race

Marcel Hirscher won the traditional season opener on the Rettenbach Glacier above Solden on Sunday in front of nearly 15,000 screaming Austrians. German Fritz Dopfer and French ace Alexis Pinturault completed the podium. Pre-season favourite Ted Ligety could only manage 10th place after a disappointing 2nd leg.

2012 Solden - Giant Slalom Race

Ted Ligety produced an incredible second run, in tricky conditions, to win the opening race of the FIS World Cup season on the glacier at Solden for the 2nd year running. Manfred Moelgg had led after the first run of the Giant Slalom, with Ligety second, but the American skied a phenomenal 2nd leg to claim victory by 2.75 seconds over Moelgg and 3.12 ahead of local hero Marcel Hirscher, a winning margin that is almost unheard of at the top level of alpine ski racing. With race organisers having to spend the previous 24 hours shifting heavy snow from the course, and with a blanket of fog descending, it was an achievement in itself to actually get the race underway and completed.

2011 Solden - Giant Slalom Race

Nearly 15,000 fans turned up for the 2011-12 FIS season curtain-raiser in fantastic race conditions up on the Rettenbach Glacier. Two near-perfect runs saw Ted Ligety start off where he finished last season - on the top of the podium. And with Lindsey Vonn taking the women's race on the day before it was a great start to the season for the American team. With Solden's notoriously steep section providing lots of problems with it's ice and bumps it made for an interesting race and French youngster Alexis Pinturault provided the shock of the day when he claimed 2nd place, just 0.29 behind the American. The noisy locals were given something to shout about as Austrian Philipp Schoerghofe took the final spot on the podium, just over half a second behind 'Ted the Shred'. Last season's overall champion Ivica Kostelic had a poor first run that left him in 18th place but stormed back with the fastest 2nd run to hurtle up the leaderboard into 5th place. All in all a great start to the season at Solden and great to see the legendary Benni Raich back, albeit down in 19th place.

Useful Links for Solden World Cup Opener Race

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