Historic! Dave Ryding claims Great Britain's first ever alpine ski World Cup victory in Kitzbühel

35-year-old skier Ryding topped the podium World Cup Slalom at the Hahnenkamm-Rennen on a monumental day for British skiing.

By Ken Browne
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Dave Ryding has rewritten the alpine skiing record books by winning the Kitzbuhel World Cup slalom on Saturday (22 January 2022) on the Hahnenkamm slope in Austria.

British ski fans have been waiting for this for 55 years, and just 12 days from the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Ryding, who trained for years on dry slopes in England, did it.

Behind Ryding were two Norwegians with 'Wengen hero' Lucas Braathen in second, and Henrik Kristoffersen third.

But the headlines belonged to Ryding, who soared from sixth to first with two runs of 51.40 and 49.86 for a 1:41.26 total.

The emotions were raw with members of the British team in tears, pounding the snow and shouting "he did it," while Ryding himself was lost for words.

"I've gone blank," he said right after the race in his Lancashire accent, "there was so much emotion when I finished and now I just, I don't know what to say, I'm normally not lost for words but now..."

Composing himself, Ryding continued.

"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."

Asked what he had to say to the cheering fans, he went on:

"Thanks for your support, it means the world just to hear some Brits and people cheering in the fans because you know, I don't have a home race but there's always some Brits in the Alps because we love skiing and we love to party as well, so, thank you!"

For Ryding, the party is only just getting started.

Kristoffersen to dave Ryding: "You're now the favourite at the Olympics!"

It looked like it could be Kristoffersen's day after he finished 24th on the first run but led for a long time after a blistering 49.64 second run for a 1:41.91 total.

As the snowstorm loomed and the white stuff began to fall heavier, the course cut up for the faster skiers starting later.

The A-List DNFs piled up as Alexis Pinterault, 2020 winner Daniel Yule and Ramon Zenhausern all bowed out.

In fact, by the end of the race 11 of 30 had failed to finish.

The top three from Run 1 were Italian 22-year-old Alex Vinatzer, French slalom sensation Clement Noel and pre-race slalom leader, and reigning world champion, Sebastian Foss-Solevaag from Norway, but by the end of the race Vinatzer was 18th, Clement 15th, and Foss-Solevaag DNFed in treacherous conditions.

Today was the fifth slalom of 10 and the standings were shuffled as Braathen leapfrogged Foss-Solevaag at the top of the slalom rankings in what's shaping up to be a thrilling season.

Braathen now leads on 235 points after his second-place finish today, with Solevaag second on 180, Yule dropping to third on 162 and Ryding shredding his way into contention on 160 points in fourth.

After the race with his fellow skiers congratulating history-maker Ryding, Kristoffersen said: "You're now the favourite at the Olympics!"

British ski fans will be glued to the action in Beijing, hoping that's true.

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