The HEAD World Cup Rebels press conference is always one of the highlights of the start of the season. The feeling of anticipation, even for the likes of Rainer Salzgeber, the HEAD World Cup Rebels Racing Manager, is huge as the event approaches. With a galaxy of stars for the assembled media to talk to, the Press Conference brings a lot to the weekend.
“It was important for us to win the brand Championship,” Johan Eliasch, CEO and Chairman of HEAD announced after admitting that his biggest hope for the season be that there are less injuries this season. With a HEAD World Cup Rebels record of fourteen medals won at World Championships looking to be beaten in St Moritz in February, Eliasch is confident of the team that has been assembled to race on his ‘phenomenal’ skis. “We want to beat this record,” Eliasch explained.
After a summer that saw Rainer Salzgeber and his race managers rack up the miles travelling to resorts around the world so that the skis are ready for the season, Salzgeber explained “a lot of stuff was tested. We are also now testing for the 2017 – 18 season and the new Giant Slalom skis.”
With new racers joining the HEAD World Cup Rebels this year, the conference saw Bernadette Schild and Ragnhild Mowinckel introduced to the large audience. With Manuel Osborne-Paradis also joining the team, Salzgeber was very satisfied with the athletes assembled this year.
All the athletes had their own stories to tell during the conference: Those coming back from injury, including Anna Veith and Aksel Lund Svindal, explained how their rehab programmes were going. While neither will race in Soelden, both are confident of full recoveries. Matts Olsson, Dustin Cook, Matthias Mayer and Ted Ligety also gave positive feedback on their recoveries from injuries sustained last year.
The girls team is strong and Wendy Holdener, winner of the Alpine Combined Globe and Lara Gut, Overall Globe winner last season, both explained how positive they are feeling coming into the season. Liz Goergl has made changes to her support staff this season and is feeling a real buzz for the new season, she explained.
The strong men’s Rebels Team were in great form during the conference: World Cup winners, Globe Winners, World and Olympic Champions stood shoulder to shoulder on the podium. The common goal of winning races was there as they told their stories from the summer.
Alexis Pinturault made a huge jump up last season and this season looks to be challenging across the board. He admitted that he knows it will be hard but is looking forward to the challenge. Is the Overall a target for him? “It is difficult to say,” he explained, keeping his cards close to his chest!
With Matthias Mayer back on his skis and excited to be doing so, minus the Titanium plates that were in his back, he explained the joy to be back on skis and racing. The awkwardness of not racing at World Cup races was now behind him and the other recovered Rebels and they were looking to getting back fighting for wins.
Kjetil Jansrud, Mathieu Faivre, Matts Olsson, Andre Myhrer and Aksel Lund Svindal all added to the flavour of the event: HEAD World Cup Rebels all looking to see Whats Your Limit!
News on the Bode Miller situation is that the issue is not concluded, Johan Eliasch explained to an attentive audience. The situation remains that if Bode Miller wants to race again on the World Cup, he would have to race on HEAD equipment. Miller agreed in a telephone conversation with Eliasch, that any other equipment would be inferior but still negotiations have reached an impasse. “I would love to have Bode back racing, but it has to be on HEAD equipment,” Eliasch ended.