Hotel and Residence
- Info Resort
Activity and Events
Ligety Skis to Victory, With Party Included
ANDALO, Italy — With the towering and jagged limestone peaks of Italy’s western Dolomites as a spectacular backdrop, the bottom of the race course at Paganella Ski Area quickly morphed into a high energy rock concert on Friday. It was a festive yet slightly chaotic atmosphere in a typically serene region of natural wonder.
Less than an hour before, Ted Ligety had demonstrated that he was the master of the giant slalom, carving near perfect turns en route to a thrilling victory at the VPAY Alpine Rockfest. Ligety was the fastest of five skiers in the final round of this unusual race, which consists of five elimination rounds on a 400-meter sprint giant slalom course.
Ligety’s winning time of 34.73 seconds was only one-hundredth better than that of the young Italian Giovanni Borsotti.
“To come down and see yourself one-hundredth ahead, it was a relief for sure,” Ligety said. “Standing in the start gate, there is a lot of pressure knowing how fast you’ve already been and being the favorite also,” he said, referring to the semifinal, when he was more than five-tenths quicker than his nearest challenger, Borsotti.
Ligety, a 27-year-old from Park City, Utah, was awarded a check for 60,000 euros — a winner-take-all grand prize of more than $78,000 — as the Italian rock band Radiottanta played.
“There is definitely a nice party atmosphere here,” Ligety said. “It’s not as strict and stringent as the World Cup. It allows for a little more fan interaction and really lets the skiers shine a little bit better.”
Borsotti’s gallant effort against many of the world’s top racers energized the Italian crowd on his final two runs.
“I’m enjoying this for the future because being so close to Ligety is fantastic for me,” Borsotti said. “He’s the best giant slalom skier at the moment, so it’s very good.”
After the race, the announcer asked the enthusiastic crowd if Borsotti could become the next Alberto Tomba, the flamboyant Italian superstar who won five Olympic medals and captured the hearts of the nation in the late 1980s and 1990s.
“Tomba was at another level,” Borsotti said with a laugh when asked about the Tomba comparison. “For the moment, no, but in the future I hope.”
Cyprien Richard of France, who won the first and only other Alpine Rockfest in 2009, was third, two-tenths of a second slower than Ligety.
Bode Miller, who won a downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month, was eliminated in the second round after finishing 11th. But he did not seem to be overly concerned, joking with fellow racers while signing autographs.
“We wanted to provide something that everyone believes is progressive and a lot of fun that hasn’t been available for the fans or the racers ever before,” Miller said of the race. “I think it gives the guys the chance to ski their very best. Each run you learn more about the course and equipment, and then you can charge hard and really push the next run at a high level.”
The Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who also fell in the semifinal, said, “I really like this format, but I had all kinds of problems in my final run.”
The event was developed by the former U.S. Ski Team head coach Phil McNichol.
“The Rockfest is about entertainment, taking ski racing forward as professional sports entertainment,” McNichol said.
He added: “We better get cool, we better get sexy and show that it is extreme or we are not going to compete in the business world of sport.”
With two wins in four races this season, Ligety leads the World Cup giant slalom standings. He is also third in the overall standings, trailing Svindal and Marcel Hirscher of Austria.
“Hopefully, I can keep my skiing at a high level,” Ligety said. “If I can keep it rolling and develop a little bit more slalom, then I think I have a good chance at the overall title.”
In January, Ligety and his fellow racers face a schedule of 13 World Cup competitions at seven sites. On Saturday, he heads home to spend Christmas in Park City, but he will return to Europe just five days later.
“Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of snow there, so it won’t be great for powder skiing, but it will be nice to be home and relax a little bit,” Ligety said.
See all the event
THE FULL FINAL!!
For more info, follow us on