Nineteen year old Glasgow Ski Racing and Kandahar racer, Zak Vinter produced the performance of his career to date to score one of the best FIS point Slalom results by a British racer. In finishing joint fourth in the Thredbo ANC race, Vinter made the best of his early start number courtesy of his racing in the series last year.
It has been an up and down summer series so far for the Glasgow racer – a 37 FIS point GS result was followed by an 80 point result also in Giant Slalom. In the Slalom races in the ANC Cup Vinter in 2016 scored a 13th and 16th and with few of those that finished ahead of him last year back, Vinter started in the group 8 to 15 with bib 9. Ski racing is very much a sport where you have to take your chances when they come and this was very much the case.
Vinter can be quietly spoken and explained after the race that he really wanted to take advantage of starting bib 9 on the first run. “I had a pretty good run down and pushed pretty hard,” he explained adding “I was really on the limit and managed to get down OK. I was about a second out in 11th place. Then on the second run I had a pretty good run and quite a lot of the guys struggled.”
This was no give away race. Linus Strasser, the race winner took his maiden World Cup win in the Parallel Slalom in Stockholm last winter; Robby Kelley and Krystof Kryzl have both made regular second run appearances on the World Cup and Stefan Luitz who finished joint fourth with Vinter is a solid Giant Slalom skier and not too bad in the slalom as well.
The second run saw Vinter ski solid and again he rode his luck as others crashed out. “I finished a lot closer than I expected,” he added. In taking fourth place, 50 ANC Cup points, Vinter will start the second the two Slalom’s at Thredbo in the top seven seeds, he has bib 7.
Having spent a lot of the summer training with the Kandahar in Norway and then with his father in Hintertux, Vinter is using his contacts to help with his stay in Australia. “I thought I would mix it up a bit this year by staying in Europe to train before heading to Australia and I think this has worked,” Vinter continued. It was the consistency of the training that Vinter has been looking for this summer as he looks to make the next step up.
Having spent some time training with Rob Kelley earlier this summer, Vinter looks at these little things as how they have helped him settle in to racing among the bigger, more experienced racers. One of the great things he admitted after the race was how gracious and friendly they all were after the race in coming up and saying well done.
With the Thredbo hill a mix of soft at the top followed by some rock hard ice pitches. “The top bit was pretty rough,” he explained.
Race results have a weird habit of hitting you when you least expect it. Vinter admitted he was struggling with a bout of flu and did not know how he had managed to achieve such a great result.
Other British racers in the race included Angus Wills who battled his way into the top 30 in 29th place with Owen Vinter in 32, Edmund Wood in 36 and oliver Weeks was disqualified on the first run.
In the girls race Sarah Woodward placed 15th with Olivia Foster in 16 and Abi Bruce in 17th. Jessica Anderson, Megan Riley, Olivia Ward and Darcie Mead all failed to finish.
Picture: Zak Vinter competing at the Delancey British Alpine Slalom Championship in Tignes, March 2017. Credit – Racer Ready all rights reserved