Switzerland takes home two golden crowns in Sunny Valley

What a competition, what an amazing day of racing, what an unbelievable Russian crowd cheering for their favourite athletes and what a day for Team Switzerland with Fanny Smith and Marc Bischofberger taking home the golden crowns as winner’s price.

The competition in Sunny Valley (RUS) was nothing short of action and some great passing as well as tight photo finishes – all the great mix that you need for a great day of ski cross.

For the women’s big final, it was Fanny Smith (SUI), Marielle Berger-Sabbatel (FRA), Daniela Maier (GER) and Marielle Thompson (CAN) in the start gate.

World Cup leader Sandra Naeslund (SWE) did miss out on the big final, after crashing spectacularly in her semifinals. It looked like Naeslund really hurt herself, but after a while she was able to stand up and walk to the finish by herself.

That not being enough, the Swedish superstar also got into the gate to race the small final, which she won in the most heroic way ever, causing the crowd to simply cheer their hearts out.

As for the big final, Daniela Maier and Fanny Smith made it out of the start gate the quickest, but finally Smith took the lead of the heat with the German coming in second and one mistake by Thompson in one of the upper turns left enough room for Berger-Sabbatel to pass the Canadian sitting in third.

The French athlete seemed on fire, as in the further section she managed to also pass Maier and even Smith. That not being enough, Marielle Thompson suddenly came out of nowhere, passing the German and almost also Smith, who was chasing after Berger-Sabbatel.

On the second-last roller section, Maier fought her way back to third position and it was not until the very last roller section that Smith got dangerously close to the leading French athlete and finally on the last jump, Smith had generated enough speed to cross the finish line first by the slightest of margins proven by a photo finish.

Bischofberger back on top of the podium

As for the men, the Canadian duo Brady Leman and Kevin Drury, Arnaud Bovolenta and Switzerland’s Marc Bischofberger hit the big final.

As throughout the whole competition, Drury had a rocket start out of the gate, Marc Bischofberger sitting right behind him in second and Olympic Champion Brady Leman taking the third spot, leaving the French man behind.

Drury was in the lead by far, whereas the pack of three was holding together super tightly, although for the longest time nothing changed and the heat stayed in the same order, until Brady Leman slipped for a second in one of the turns, which of course gave Bovolenta the time to pass and get in third.

It was again the last roller section which allowed for everyone to gain speed and before the second-last jump, Bischofberger got into Drury’s wind shadow, he landed just beside the Canadian and then on the last jump Bischofberger managed to cross the finish line just by a tiny bit ahead of Kevin Drury and Arnaud Bovolenta, who by the way won here in Russia in 2017, which until today is his only World Cup victory.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen – that was a true ski cross show today!

World Cup standings

Before we pack up and get ready for the World Cup finals in Veysonnaz (SUI) on March 14, it is time to look into the World Cup standings just one more time.

Although Sandra Naeslund did not make it onto the podium today, she is still in the lead with a total of 855 points. Her margin has decreased a bit, she is now only 59 points ahead of Fanny Smith, so we can expect a great battle and exciting show at the finals – both athletes can still win the highly acclaimed crystal globe. It is going to be worth watching!
Sitting in third but without a threat to Naeslund is Marielle Thompson with a total of 709 points.

It is already clear that Kevin Drury will win the crystal globe. He has a total of 768 points. Sitting in second is Ryan Regez, who did not collect any points today, because he did not qualify. He has a total of 454 points and in third rank we have Brady Leman with 428 points. It is going an interesting battle for ranks two and three in Veysonnaz.

Next generation is already training

It is also worth mentioning that the organizing committee of Sunny Valley has done a really excellent job in putting together a great World Cup event, but not only. A kid’s race was organized on Saturday after qualifications. It was a relay race with kids and athletes teaming up and giving their best to win.

For the kids it was the most amazing thing to race alongside their idols and the athletes had fun as well. Alongside Russian athletes also Samy-Kennedi Sim (AUS), Marielle Thompson (CAN), and Austrians Johnny Rohrweck and Daniel Traxler joined the fun to make it an international competition.

We can’t wait to see the next generation of racers on the World Cup slopes in a couple of years!


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