Eighth place felt like a victory for ski racer Thomas Dreßen. Full of relief, the Upper Bavarian threw his arms in the air after crossing the finish line and yelled an unmistakable “YEAAA!” to the Rocky Mountains. Germany’s best downhill skier is back – and how.

“It’s really cool that I’m back. It felt like coming home,” said the 29-year-old after his first World Cup race since March 2020. Victory in Lake Louise, Canada, went to Norwegian powerhouse Aleksander Aamodt Kilde . The winner of the small crystal ball was 0.06 seconds ahead of Daniel Hemetsberger of Austria. The Swiss high-flyer Marco Odermatt (0.10) took third place.

With starting number four, Dreßen threw himself out of the starting gate. “I felt nervous at the start,” reported the athlete from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In the steep middle section, the German still lacked courage in some passages. On the other hand, Dreßen immediately showed his old class in the gliding passages, which has led him to a total of five World Cup victories so far.

difficult months

“I thought I had to deliver. But I think I did it quite well,” said the athlete from SC Mittenwald after his long injury break. First Dreßen had slowed down a hip operation. Then an operation on the injured right knee caused the German to miss the entire past season, including the Olympic Games. After difficult months, in which Dreßen also had the help of his mental trainer, the Bavarian was finally able to shine again on Saturday.

Vice World Champion Romed Baumann in tenth and Dominik Schwaiger in twelfth rounded off the good speed start from the point of view of the German Ski Association. Simon Jocher, Josef Ferstl, Andreas Sander and Luis Vogt missed out on a place in the top 15 and thus missed half the World Cup norm. The route became slower and slower with increasing cloudiness.

It was the first descent of the season for the fastest Alpine athletes after the Matterhorn races planned for the end of October had to be canceled due to a lack of snow. A Super-G is scheduled for the men’s team in Lake Louise on Sunday. And Dreßen is suddenly one of the contenders for the top places.