FIS World Cup Speed Skiing – Season Underway In The Arctic With Temperatures Approaching Minus Twenty Degrees Centigrade

Known to the world as ‘The Middle of Nowhere’, Salla Ski Area inaugurated the 2019 FIS Speed Ski World Cup this week with a pair of World Cup races. The fastest non-motorised athletes in the world competed on the most technical track on the World Cup calendar, battling extreme temperatures just 15 kilometres from the Russian border.

But, high wind cancels the final run of the second race day, as Manuel Kramer (Austria) and Britta Backlund (Sweden) claim their second victories of the season.

In the men’s category, Austrian Manuel Kramer emerged victorious in the first race of the 2019 World Cup season with a speed of 170,21 km/h. The Italian brothers Simone and Ivan Origone (169.54 and 166.68 km/h respectively) rounded out the podium.

British team speed skier Jan Farrell said:

I am happy to have finished better than last year on the complicated track here in Finland. This is a promising result for the rest of the season and will be attacking with everything I have in Sweden in three weeks.

On the women’s side, Sweden’s Britta Backlund earned her first-ever World Cup win with a speed of 164.91 km/h, beating out the favourite, Italian Valentina Greggio (162.91 km/h). Celia Martinez of France finished third with a speed of 160.94 km/h.

High winds and low visibility forced race organisers to cancel the final run of the second race day. Based off of the semi-final result, Manuel Kramer claimed his second victory in two days with a speed of 161,85 km/h, followed by Italian Simon Origone (161,12 km/h) and fellow countrymen Klaus Schrottshammer (159,52 km/h).

Britta Backlund won the women’s edition with a speed of 154,63 km/h, with France’s Celia Martinez finishing second (153,74 km/h), and Italy’s Valentina Greggio (153,47 km/h), third.

More From Jan Farrell

After an intense preseason, Jan Farrell has returned to competition hoping to build upon his 5th place finish in the overall World Cup standings in 2018. The British skier residing in Madrid competing with Club Amistad finished 9th in both the first and second World Cup race of the season in Salla (with speeds of 163.636 km/h and 155.729 km/h).

Salla, Finland’s Speed Ski Proving Ground

The Finnish track is one of the greatest obstacles for the fastest skiers in the world, as it is one of the most difficult on the World Cup Circuit. With irregularities throughout, the track demands extraordinary technique and control. In addition, participants must also deal with temperatures that are often below -20 ºC without wind.

Farrell said:

To ski in these temperatures is an important physical test; It is no easy to keep the body warm so that it can perform at 100%. Additionally, ski preparation is incredibly complicated, and we are working hard to get the wax right for each race.

After the first event in Finland, the 2019 World Cup moves to Sweden for its second stop. From March 7-9, Speed Skiers will descend on Idre Fjäll, the steepest track on the World Cup circuit, for the third and fourth races of the season. It will be particularly interesting to follow the evolution of Backlund, who will try and continue her success on home turf.

    Company Information

    Jan is an international athlete, entrepreneur, and British downhill ski record holder.

    His on-the-snow achievements include:
    Overall FIS World Cup Speed Ski DH Champion 2014
    Top speed of 231.66kph (Speed Masters Vars 2015)
    2x World Record holder
    Third fastest human in the world on downhill skis.
    Speed 1 World Cup rank 2018: 5th

    But Jan’s passions don’t end on the snow. Here are some of his off-piste ventures:
    CEO and founder of Liberalia, a mobile phone insurance company
    FIS Speed Ski Marketing and Communications Manager
    Founder Jan Farrell Media
    Angel Investor
    Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Instituto de Impresa (IE) Business School
    Car Fanatic

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    Jan Farrell on the slopes

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