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25th January 2022

Dave Ryding competes in the Schladming night slalom today.  GB’s latest sporting hero is hoping to repeat his weekend performance in Kitzbühel and be on top of the podium again. It’s the greatest slalom event of them all and the last event before the Olympics. NEW

Ten of thousands of normally people line the course and spill into the bars in the Austrian resort, and it is without question the most popular event of the slalom season.

More on the atmosphere and experience later in this article as PlanetSKI was there the last time large crowds were allowed back in 2020.

It is a course suited to Dave Ryding’s style and he came 8th that night two years ago.

Schladming Night Race

Schladming Night Race. Image © PlanetSKI

First a recap.

Last Saturday in Kitzbühel Dave Ryding became the first British alpine skier to win a World Cup race.

It is now etched in the sporting history books and is the most impressive performance ever by a British skier.

  • Phenomenal! World Cup Victory for GB’s Dave Ryding

His achievement has been reported across the world and has made front page news beyond Great Britain as he is admired across the skiing world by race fans and his fellow competitors alike.

  • How Good Was Dave Ryding’s Victory?

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

Dave Ryding, Hahnenkamm slalom. Image © Juergen Klecha

No-one has a bad word to say about Dave Ryding.

Here is the experience of one of our readers, Martin Allinson, who is currently skiing in Austria.

“Whilst skiing in Saalbach today had a gondola ride up the mountain with a lovely friendly Austrian couple, they as are most Austrians, absolutely thrilled for Dave Ryding.

“Apparently the Austrian press love the whole story too, made me so proud to be a British skier.”

And tonight Dave Ryding goes for it all over again.

But can he reproduce the same form?

Slalom is a hard task master and the margins are some of the finest in snowsport competition.

One small error and it’s all over.

The first run is at 17.45 CET, with the second at 20.45 CET.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be on the edge of our seats tonight watching.

Sadly not in a seat in Schladming itself, as we are currently in the Aosta Valley in Italy, but we know the event well.

It is like the FA Cup Final, the Wimbledon Final and the deciding match in the 6-Nations rugby all rolled into one.

Downhill ski racing has the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel and the Lauberhorn in Wengen.

Slalom has the night race in Schladming.

It is slalom skiing’s big night out, with the crowds there to enjoy the sporting spectacle and party like it is going out of fashion.

Night slalom, Schladming, Austria

Schladming Night Slalom, January 2020. Image © PlanetSKI.

Schladming night slalom

Schladming night slalom. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Schladming Night Race

Schladming Night Race. Image © PlanetSKI

See here for our full account from the event in 2020.

  • Schladming Excels with Ryding in the Top Ten
  • Schladming: A Celebration of Slalom

Two years ago Dave Ryding enjoyed our articles too.

Facebook reaction

And at the time our editor, James Cove, donned his ‘Dave Ryding Mask’.

Schladming Night Race

Schladming Night Race. Image © PlanetSKI

Sadly, the crowds won’t be there tonight due to rising cases of Covid-19 in Austria and strict rules in place.

Only 1,000 tickets were made available for spectators.

They were sold out within 3-minutes.

“Three minutes after the tickets for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Schladming for the legendary Nightrace were put online for public sale, they were already sold out,” said a statement from the organisers.

The resort has seen recent snowfall.

We have reported on the fresh snow in Austria in our latest snow report:

  • Sunshine Across Large Parts of the Alps

“After heavy snowfalls of the last days the team was busy to remove the snow masses from the race track,” said the race authorities.

“A large number of volunteers did an excellent job and brought the slope back to top condition.

“So the runners can expect a perfect, rock hard, race track on Tuesday evening.

“We are looking forward to a wonderful event, which will be held under the currently valid COVID-19 regulations.

“Also under these special circumstances the 25 Nightrace in Schladming will be a super show.”

Even without the crowds tonight should be something special with many GB snowsports fans, old and new, glued to their TV sets.

Here at PlanetSKI we are simply delighted to see slalom ski racing reaching a wider sporting audience.

After tonight the athletes then head to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics from 4th February to 20th.

The slalom will take place on the last weekend.

Dare we dream of an Olympic victory for Dave Ryding?

Yes.

See here for our look at the life and times of Dave Ryding from PlanetSKI’s Chief Reporter, Jane Peel:

  • The Dave Ryding Story

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

Dave Ryding. Facebook image.

If you want to see more on Dave’s Kitzbühel success then check out the Ski Racing Podcast, brought to you by our good friends Ed Drake and Tord Nilson.

They discuss what this means for not only British skiing, but also for ski racers across the globe who don’t have access to snow on a daily basis.

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Image © PlanetSKI