Linus Straßer at his best: The secret of the slalom specialist

Linus Straßer is not one of those guys who celebrates his victories dancing on the table with his bare torso. Straßer is more of a quiet connoisseur. And a “collector of moments”. The 31-year-old loves skiing, the mountains, the snow – and the experiences that his profession as a skier enables him.

And of course he is also happy about his successes – which currently seem to be coming his way. It was only on Sunday that Straßer won the slalom in Kitzbühel, and on Wednesday he followed up with victory in the night race in Schladming. Two World Cup successes on the two most prestigious slopes of the World Cup winter within half a week. Only a few have achieved this, most recently the Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen in 2016 – and not a single German before.

After his confident performance in miserable weather on a difficult slope, Straßer seemed moved and almost humbled: “These are moments of a lifetime,” he said with a quiet smile, “I simply enjoy them incredibly.”

“Feel better than ever”

Linus Straßer, born in Munich in 1992, took a long time to get to the top. In October 2013 he made his World Cup debut – placing 52nd in the giant slalom in Sölden. It wasn’t until January 2015 that he finished in the points for the first time. In January 2017 he won the city event in Stockholm. But it took until January 2021 before he was on the winner’s podium in a classic slalom for the first time – and then right at the top in Zagreb.

Back at the front: Linus Straßer wins after Kitzbühel and in Schladming: Image: AP

Slalom skiing is about precision under high pressure. If you don’t risk everything, you have no chance. Anyone who risks too much is eliminated. The slalom rider’s fear of the threader is always present. But he can’t let that stop him from attacking. For Straßer, the art of slalom skiing is “concentrating on the few things that there are to do”. He consistently represents the philosophy of simplicity: stand centrally on the ski, aim for the shortest line, and don’t overdo it with the action. “I feel like I’m driving better than ever before,” he said these days.

Achim Dreis, Kitzbühel Published/Updated: Recommendations: 14 Achim Dreis Published/Updated: Recommendations: 5 Published/Updated: Recommendations: 4

Which is now also quite noticeable on his account. He collected 147,000 euros in prize money between Kitzbühel and Schladming. In the entire previous winter there were 59,300. In the 2018/19 season, when he was eliminated eight times in a row, he earned a total of 3,100 euros.

In general, January is Strasser’s month. He won five of 120 World Cup races – all in January. The next slalom is of course not on the World Cup calendar until February 4th. Straßer’s goal before the race in Chamonix: “Maintain the momentum.” Swing by swing – then the moments will work.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *