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22nd January 2022

Last modified on January 25th, 2022

It’s an historic GOLD for Great Britain’s number one alpine ski racer.  The Rocket gets his first World Cup win and the first ever for GB in the Alpine World Cup.  What an achievement! UPDATED

Victory came in the Kitzbühel slalom.

It was held a day earlier than originally planned as organisers made changes to the racing schedule in the Austrian resort.

It proved to be a Super Saturday for The Rocket.

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Ryding was in a strong 6th position after run 1.

He then put in one of his famous second run charges to leap to the top of the leaderboard with just the fastest five racers from the first run to go.

It was a nervous wait.

When Marc Rochat finished 1.21 seconds down and Guiliano Razzoli and Sebastian Foss-Solevaag failed to finish, Ryding was guaranteed a fourth World Cup podium of his career.

France’s Clement Noel then failed to beat Ryding’s time, which meant at least silver for the Brit.

Finally, it was all down to the run 1 leader, Alex Vinatzer.

His mistakes pushed him way down the field to finish 19th.

Victory belonged to Ryding.

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Ryding finished 0.38 seconds ahead Lucas Braathen, with Braathen’s fellow Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen in third.

Now, that looks good

The win puts Ryding up to fourth in the overall World Cup slalom standings with 162 points.

It is the pinnacle of the veteran racer’s career.

“You know, I’m 35 now, but I never stopped believing, I never stopped trying, and to bring the first victory for Great Britain in a World Cup, in Kitzbuhel… I mean, I don’t know if dreams are made better,” Ryding said.

Ryding was seen kissing the snow after he crossed the finish line, having won the biggest slalom event on the men’s circuit.

“There’s life in the old dog yet,” he told Eurosport.

And here is what it means to him and his team:

The former British ski racer and BBC Ski Sunday presenter, Chemmy Alcott, was in the finish area.

Ryding was already GB’s most successful ever alpine racer with three World Cup podiums.

The first was at the scene of his latest triumph when he won silver in Kitzbühel in 2017.

He picked up another silver in the Oslo parallel slalom in 2019 and a bronze at the Adelboden slalom in 2021.

This, though, it something else.

At the age of six, Ryding, along with his younger sister Jo, was ‘encouraged’ to learn to ski at the local dry slope at Pendle in Lancashire.

Dad promised to take the kids on their first family skiing holiday to the mountains if they could get to a good basic level.

It worked and now look where he is.

We have a full length article on Ryding’s route to podium victory from our Chief Reporter, Jane Peel:

  • The Dave Ryding story

Dave Ryding as a child – photo c/o Ryding family

From an historical perspective Ryding’s victory in the slalom could not have come at a better time.

The first slalom race took place 100 years ago yesterday – 21st January 1922.

The centenary is being marked this week in Mürren, Switzerland and we have reported on it in this special PlanetSKI feature:

  • 100 Years of Slalom Racing

Celebrating 100 years of slalom racing – photo © Mürren Tourism

Ryding’s victory is a truly phenomenal result and here at PlanetSKI we could not be more proud of him.

He is about to compete at his fourth Winter Olympic Games, which begin in Beijing, China,  on 4th February.

Dare we dream?

But before that is the small matter of the Schladming night slalom this Tuesday, 25th January.

That’s the last World Cup men’s slalom until the Beijing Games.

PlanetSKI was slopeside the last time large crowds were allowed back in 2020.

Ryding came a very creditable 8th and there was sizeable British support in the crowd.

Schladming Night Race

Schladming Night Race. Image © PlanetSKI

Ryding liked our full report on the race as we looked at the character of the event as well as the sport.He posted on social media at the time:

Facebook reaction

Here is the PlanetSKI article from our editor, James Cove.

  • Schladming excels with Ryding in the Top Ten

Schladming night slalom

Schladming night slalom. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Sadly, PlanetSKI can’t be in Schladming next week as we are currently skiing in Italy, PlanetSKI is Back on Snow.

However we will most definitely be watching on TV from our winter base in the Aosta Valley.

There has been swift reaction on the PlanetSKI Facebook page from readers to his victory in Kitzbühel – he is a very popular athlete both on the racing circuit, and with the general public.

Feel free to add your thoughts on Dave’s fabulous podium success.

Kate Blackwell – BRILLIANT!!!! What a guy, so pleased for him!

Andrew Cleaver – completely deserves this moment of glory.

Tracey Hill – So pleased for this lovely guy, the hard work has paid off, been following and hoping for this day…history made for British skiing x

Sharon Williams – Fantastic news!

Alison  Hodge – Fantastic news.

Paul Michael Hodgson – Hard work pays off!

Russ Sparkes – Well done mate, bloody brilliant!!

Louise Drover  – Brilliant Dave! A British first!!

Andrew McClure – Excellent news well done Dave Ryding

Stephen Speirs – Well done Dave Ryding – Skier!

Carol Philp –  Brilliant

Louise MacGregor – Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Fiona Muirhead – Fantastic

Tony Turpin – Skill, perseverance, HERO! Congratulations! 🍾 🥂 🏆

Alison Grist – This news weirdly gives me joy and peace at the same time. GB finally gets there. Wonderful gutsy skilful Dave Ryding!!!

Alison Jarvie – Outstanding! Well done Dave

Russ Sparkes – Bloody fantastic and well deserved! Congratulations!!

Tony Coyne – Well done Dave!!

Paul Thornton – Superb

Stephen Edwards – Well done

Stuart Whittle – Fantastic

Alison Hodge – Fabulous ! Well done Dave Ryding! ⛷ ⛷ ⛷

A certain skier called Martin Bell has added his thoughts on Facebook:

  • How Good Was Dave Ryding’s Victory?

Image @ PlanetSKI