Ski racer Andreas Sander: World class from Westphalia

“It wasn’t the easy way”, Andreas Sander describes his skiing career. And above all it was a long way – but it led him to the top of the world. On the Teufelswiese in Ennepetal-Rüggeberg, just 353 meters above sea level and just over 100 meters long, he made his first attempts at sliding when he was two years old. In Aspen (Colorado) he recently raced at the age of 33 to his current high point in the Alpine World Cup. The 33-year-old took second place in the Super-G on the “Ruthie’s Run” slope, which started at an altitude of 3,058 meters. Framed on the podium by the top stars of the scene, Marco Odermatt and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.

A photo for the family album after Sander’s 180th World Cup race, where he finally managed his first podium finish. He had often indicated his ability, after all, his World Cup CV lists 30 top ten places, but there was always a little bit missing to make the big leap. And when he sensationally finished second in the downhill at the Alpine World Ski Championships two years ago, he couldn’t celebrate because of Corona and then slipped into a performance hole that made his World Championship silver already seem like a “one-hit wonder”. let.

Had a great burden fallen from him? “I would have thought so,” he says. But it wasn’t like that. It feels like always. That also suits Sander. At the age of 15, the Westphalian moved to Bavaria because the training conditions on the beginner hills in West Germany no longer suited his talent, even with the best will in the world. Sander went to the ski school in Berchtesgaden, later to Oberstdorf. “I was surprised myself that I dared to take the step,” he marvels, looking back. In fact, he didn’t want to leave home at all. “It was probably an inner voice that drove me.”

And which also let him persevere. The Bavarian school system demanded a lot from him, and the lowland Tyrolean also received “one or two sayings” from his classmates. But Sander fought his way through at all levels, managed to graduate from high school and made it into the World Cup. And has long been rooted in the Allgäu, married, father of two boys. And still speaks High German.

On the same level as the top stars: Sander (l.) in Aspen next to Odermatt and Kilde (r.)

On the same level as the top stars: Sander (l.) in Aspen next to Odermatt and Kilde (r.)

Image: AFP

From his life as an underdog, Sander has now gained the power of composure, which culminates in the confident sentence: “If things turn out as I imagine, I still have the best years ahead of me.” He has his meticulousness, which sometimes drifts into perfectionism taken off again, his basic speed is still right, and he has also retained his pronounced feeling for snow.

Basically, he likes the spring snow, which could benefit him at the World Cup finals in Andorra, where he immediately set the third-best time in training for the downhill on Wednesday (10:00 a.m. on ARD and on Eurosport). He has good memories of the slope in Soldeu anyway, because that’s where he managed his only victory in the European Cup in March 2015.

However, a career comparable to his should no longer be possible in the future. Because there hasn’t been enough snow on the Teufelswiese for a long time.


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