Vail’s Gregorak steps on Europa Cup podium
Vail, CO Colorado
OBEREGGEN, Italy – Will Gregorak, a Ski and Snowboard alumnus, charged from the back of the pack with start bib No. 72 to take second in a Europa Cup slalom in Obereggen, Italy, marking his first Europa Cup podium.
Olympic slalom silver-medalist Andre Myhrer of Sweden took top honors. Also in the top five was David Chodounsky of Crested Butte, who skied from the 44th start position to fifth.
With the FIS Alpine World Cup circuit making stops throughout Europe, World Cup athletes flooded the Orberregen race as a warm-up for the next technical stop in Alta Badia, Italy. Among the decorated field of heavy hitters, were 2009 World Championship slalom bronze-medalist Michael Janyk of Canada, 2010 Olympic slalom gold-medalistGiuliano Razzoli of Italy and Myhrer.
“I’m just awestruck with how far back I started,” said Gregorak. “My only goal coming into today was to have a solid first run and hopefully get into the top 30 and then have a good run from there. It just exceeded all my expectations for today by far.”
Gregorak started 72nd breaking inside the top 30 to qualify for a second run. He then proceeded to post the fastest second run time of 48.43 seconds to finish just a mere 0.15 behind Myhrer. Janyk grabbed the final spot on the podium with third, 0.2 behind Gregorak.
“It was a super competitive field, there was about 16 or 17 guys in the top 30 in the World Cup on the start list,” said Europa Cup coach Ben Black. “It was a very deep field, Dave Chodounsky started 44th and Will Brandenburg was right behind him in 45. It was tough, but they hammered and it was awesome.”
Chodounsky, a Dartmouth College graduate, continued his strong skiing, missing the podium by less than two-tenths after starting the season off with Nor-Am podiums in the U.S.
Gregorak pocketed $1,300 with Chodounsky taking $500 in prize money.
The men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team has been running gates at its European training base in Trentino-Paganella, Italy, leading up to this weekend’s races. The U.S. tech men will be back in the Europa Cup starting gate Friday for another slalom race in Pozza di Fossi, Italy before moving to Alta Badia for Sunday’s giant slalom.
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