American wins World Pro Ski Tour in Vail
The first World Pro Ski Tour stop this season began the way that the final race of the last season ended: with a Robert Cone win. Cone took the Pepi Gramshammer Cup title and the $10,000 prize. Named for iconic Austrian ski racer Pepi Gramshammer, who passed away in August, the dual-format ski race marked the first World Pro Ski Tour race in Vail in 20 years.
The exciting dual-race began with an epic crash by American Thomas Woolson in the Round of 16, in the same fashion he began the last season. Woolson spun out after aggressively attacking a gate and continued to spin through sponsor banners. Fortunately, Woolson was not seriously injured.
World Pro Ski Tour champion of 2019 Phil Brown was upset in the Round of 8 by Alex Leever (USA), who skied with the precision and aggression of an athlete hungry for a win. Leever was ultimately eliminated by Cone and landed in third place after beating rookie World Pro Ski Tour newcomer Simon Breitfuss-Kammerlander, an Austrian-born ski racer who now races for Bolivia.
“Most of the guys didn’t know me when I got here,” said Breitfuss-Kammerlander. “You never know about this type of skiing; the fastest guys can still get eliminated in the first round, so it’s a lot about strategy.”
Strategy played a major role in the competition between Cone and Garrett Driller, who battled in the final runs to place first and second. In the end, Cone was visibly fastest and the most dominate skier of the day, using his dynamic, athletic style to prevail over the rest of the field.
“The win felt great,” Cone said. “I’m excited for the rest of the season and all of the great things that the World Pro Ski Tour is doing for our sport.”
A lively crowd enjoyed the races as well as VIP hospitality and vendor village.
The next stop of the World Pro Ski Tour is Jan. 2 at Howelson Hill in Steamboat.