History

54th Golden Fox

(06. 01. - 07. 01. 2018)

 

There is only one winner, yet many feel victorious. Mikaela Shiffrin confidently took it all with great lead, yesterday's GS and today's world cup slalom, earning herself the golden and diamond fox for Pohorje Cup. 

Maribor organizing team won the challenge of organizing this race. Atle Skaardal awarded the team with top grade for making the right decision of moving to Kranjska Gora, which was carried out perfectly. Majority of racers gave many compliments regarding the racecourse preparation as well. The race was organized by Golden Fox Organizing Committee which has over 50 years of experience and counts more than 200 team members of ASK Branik today. Entire organizing team moved to Gorenjska for 4 days where they joined forces with Pokal Vitranc’s Organizing Committee. The race stayed in Slovenia and attracted many visitors to Bled, Kranjska Gora and Podkoren. 

This was seventh venue change for Golden Fox race from Maribor to Kranjska Gora. The race had to be moved once to Austria in Badgastein (1975) and later in 1976 to Olympic Jahorina, both times venue change proved to be successful. 

Swiss Wendy Holdener took a chance after the slalom race press conference to say thank you to the organizers: “We enjoy racing in Slovenia and we know if the race can’t be organized in Maribor, the organizers will surely move it to Kranjska Gora”.

Slovenian skiers took away less than expected - Tina Robnik, the best among Slovenians placed 7th in giant slalom. Despite all, Slovenians proved they are a strong team with Meta Horvat, Ana Drev and Maruša Ferk winning some world cup points. 

Ilka Štuhec, injured at the time, was a loud fan and strong supporter of Slovenian team with the help of almost 8000 cheering fans. 

One, yet powerful sentence on front page of mainstream Slovenian journal on following Monday, said it all: 
“Organizers of 54th Golden Fox joined forces with Kranjska Gora Organizing team and created an amazing weekend on a reserve racecourse in Podkoren, Kranjska Gora where Michaela Shiffrin absolutely reigned the race”. There may be only one crowned Golden Fox winner, but it felt like everyone involved in this spectacle won.

 

Seventh move to Gorenjska

While 54th Golden Fox in Kranjska Gora was soaking in rain, Maribor was basking in the sun for an entire week. If we think back, even if there would be enough of snow in the finish area during snow control, it would be completely gone by the race day. This means changing the venue to Kranjska Gora was a right decision to make. 
Despite this, the beginnings of the season on Pohorje were promising. There was snowfall in November and snow cannons were placed along the racecourse in December. However, the temperatures were too high especially in lower part of the slopes. 

Skiing season had opened just before Christmas holidays and there was more than enough snow in the upper slopes. Chief of Race. Mitja Dragšič still had hopes at the time: “ I hope Santa brings  us cold temperatures or at least inversion so we can create a sufficient snow layer in the lower part”. But there was no cold in November nor December on Pohorje. Before the race, on 28. December , Austrian FIS snow controller Hans Grogl checked the entire racecourse and from snowless finish area he made  a statement: “ Safety has to come first, especially in the Olympic season. In upper part, up to start gates there is enough of snow and for this I should complement the organizers who did a great job. But lower part of the racecourse area covered with snow is just not wide enough. World cup race cannot be carried out on such a racecourse. I will inform Atle Skaardal and he will make a decision together with the organizer which will be the following steps”. 
Srečko Vilar, General Secretary of 54th Golden Fox Organizing Committee: “We will suggest to Skaardal to move the race to Kranjska Gora, where there is a sufficient amount of snow. The move will increase  total costs of the event, but losing the race would cause even more damage”. 

Atle Skaardal gave a green light to move the race from Maribor to Kranjska Gora during slalom event in Lienz. Srečko Vilar: “Kranjska Gora is also officially a reserve venue for Golden Fox race, therefore we expected the FIS’ decision. Moreover, we have previous experience with having to change the venue so things should be easier for us. FIS needs both races before the Olympics due to qualifications of competitors within teams. We will carry out the race together with our friends in Kranjska Gora. There is enough of snow in Podkoren, the racecourse is halfway ready. A bigger challenge remains availability of accommodation capacities in Bled.  We will do everting we can to create a great race in Kranjska Gora with a positive financial outcome.”

This meant mobilizing the entire team. Andrej Rečnik, Chief of Racecourse took his entire team to the new venue in Podkoren. Roman Domjan, Chief of side slipping team was leading 82 side slipping workers throughout the event. The entire staff, personnel and equipment needed for  preparation of the race, from racecourse teams to TV cameras, were moved in just three days. 
Skiers were accommodated in Bled, while organizers were placed in Kranjska Gora.
Srečko Vilar: “Other organizers would give up in such circumstances, but we did not. This is not the first and probably not the last time such a situation occurred, at least until the snowmaking systems improves in Maribor.”

 

Mikaela Shiffrin shows no mercy

Mikaela Shiffrin wants it all in first giant slalom run. She skied flawlessly on an excellently prepared racecourse in Podkoren, beating second ranked Tessa Worley, winner of Maribor 2017 giant slalom race for 0,86s and third ranked Brunner (AUT) for 1,30 s. Tina Robnik, best Slovenian missed the podium ranking for 0,38s. Ana Drev and Meta Hrovat qualified for the finals.
During first giant slalom run there were a few rain drops and rain continued throughout the second run. Despite a fair advantage the French Tessa Worely attached the racecourse and a slight mistake right before entering the finish area prevented her from winning the Golden Fox again. A crowd of 4000 fans created a festive atmosphere at the venue. Among Slovenian racers, Tina Robnik with 7th place reached her best career result and young racer Meta Horvat also performed well.  

The very next day, Michaela Shiffrin proved again in slalom event she is going to the Olympics as a champion. She swept away all competitors during her first giant slalom run and gained even more advantage in the slalom. Frida Hansdotter and Wendy Holdener were only two racers who managed to catch up with Michaela in less than 2 seconds and only another 6 racers managed to approach her result with not more than 3 seconds of staying behind. Among Slovenians Klara Livk with bib 50 managed to achieve this, while Maruša Ferk also succeeded to enter the finals runs. 
On second course Austrian Bernadette Schild made the biggest progress and let’s not forget she placed 3rd in Podkoren back in 2014.  Even though top three racers from the first run attacked the racecourse, the American was skiing in a class of her own and swept away other racers. 
Maruša Ferk won some points as the only Slovenian with a bitter aftertaste since the points were won merely on Klara Livk’s fall. 

Organizers had to give up the initial accompanying events’ programme planned for Maribor, but nevertheless visitors were entertained well. Performers Saška Lendero and  Frajkinclarji created a party atmosphere at Podkoren’s finish area during the weekend. 

 

Looking forward to the future

Atle Skaardal, World Cup Director at FIS for ladies’ events: 
“Organizers did a great job despite the difficult circumstances. We shouldn’t forget we had only a few days left to prepare the racecourse. In the future we need to have discussion with the organizer regarding snowmaking in Maribor.  We need to think over what can be done by which costs and make right decisions. We need to find answers to these open questions”. 

Srečko Vilar: “ This time we had the race in Kranjska Gora mostly because we had to keep the race in Slovenia, so we don’t get a black mark from FIS, but a checkmark. To prove ourselves as organizers who are capable of changing a venue, moving the race to another location and establish a connection with the local organizers. My late friend from Kitzbuehl, Hanness Hutter, said there are only a few organizing committees in the world capable of establishing such a fast connection with local organization and arranging all means necessary to finish the project. The fact is there would be no Golden Fox if we would not move the race to Kranjska Gora”. 

Reporters were worried about the future of Golden Fox race since this was in total seventh time the organizer had to change the venue to Gorenjska region. General Secretary of the Organizing Committee responded to these doubts: “For sure each cancellation of the race at home venue is not good. We had a successful race at the reserve venue also thanking to success of our racers. FIS did compliment us for moving the race in such a record time and based on this I think this venue change will not have a negative impact on creating the race calendar after 2021.”


 

Chronicle

 

1964 – Golden Fox was born- three fathers: Dušan Senčar, Marjan Kožuh and Franci Čop.

1965 – Stand for spectators was built under Bellevue slalom course.

1966 – Giant Slalom cancelled due to lack of snow, heavy snowfall occurred before slalom event causing almost too much of snow.

1967 – Road to Pohorje was constructed.

1968 - Last place in slalom was held by Rosie Mittermaier, future threefold Olympic winner.

1969 – Plans for tourist development of Pohorje.

1970 – First World Cup event.

1971 – First Eurovision transmission from Pohorje.

1972 – Giant slalom event occurs in two runs for the first time in alpine skiing history.

1973 – Only 14 skiers qualified in slalom, technical delegate canceled the giant slalom event.

1974 – First venue change: to Badgastein.

1975 – Second venue change: to Sarajevo and Jahorina.

1976 – Third change of venue: to Kranjska Gora.

1977 – The Fox returns to Maribor den.

1978 – Race in a valley, world’s lowest finish area is located at 325 m.a.s.l.

1979 - First World Cup points for Slovenian skiers.

1980 – Course walked over more than a thousand times in only a week.

1981 - First tongue of snow on the clearing and a first strike of slalom skiers.

1982 – Move to an upper course on New Year’s.

1983 – For the last time on the upper course beneath Bellevue?

1984 - First great success of Slovenian skiers.

1985 – Male competitors join Maribor event, yet they dislike the slalom course and oppose to participate.

1986 - First Fox concert.

1987 - Bulldozed snow stadium.

1988 – Fourth change of venue: to Kranjska Gora,  Mateja Svet celebrated a double victory .

1989 - Second tongue of snow and a grand world presentation of the snow stadium in Maribor.

1990 - Mateja Svet celebrated a win in front of 20 000 spectators.

1991 – Fifth move: to Kranjska Gora, victory of Nataša Bokal.

1992 - Successful Slalom, Giant Slalom cancelled.

1993 - Outstanding 30th Golden Fox anniversary.

1994 - Urška Hrovat and Maribor as Kitzbuehel.

1995 – Slalom event split into 2 days due to rainfall, outstanding Slovenians .

1996 - 40 thousand spectators in three days; waiting for Samaranch in vein.

1997 – New hotel Arena located in the finish area, Juan Antonio Samaranch among the spectators and Golden Fox Trophy for Urška Hrovat .

1998 - First cancellation in 35 years! Unhappy 35th anniversary.

1999 – Successful second attempt of 35th anniversary; first time super G event and skiers New Year’s Eve celebration in a tent right next to racecourse.

2000 – Winter idyll at Pohorje foothills: first Norwegian Slalom victory over Špela Pretnar, best slalom racer of the season.

2001 - One race (GS) was won despite high temperatures, other race (slalom) was lost.

2002 – Dušan Senčar, father of the Golden Fox , withdrawed as Organization Committee Chairman.

2003 – At 2 AM on race morning temperatures reached +8°C, yet race was evaluated as flawless!

2004 – Jubilee without both Golden Fox’s “fathers”, Dušan Senčar and Franci Čop, designer and builder of Pohorje slopes.

2005 – Two times the fastest one, Tina Maze! Second Slovenian victory at Pohorje foothills, first one in Giant Slalom!

2006 - Snežni stadion covered in snow, but thaw prevented Giant Slalom event.

2007 – Sixth change of venue.  ’Best race course of the season,’’ was a united appraisal given by competitors and their coaches. Styrian-Upper Carniolan celebration in Kranjska Gora.

2008 – Three members of organization injured: a dislocated shoulder, dislocated knee and one torn tendon.  Skiers however, did not experience any difficulties in rain and ice.

2009 – Everything was just perfect: two days of sunshine, two Presidents in the grandstand, new hotel Arena located in the finish arena, new hotel Videc on Pohorje, new six-seater lift on  Pisker slope and Tina Maze the fastest one on the course! 15 000 spectators on site and another 200 million watching the broadcast!

2010 – Pohorje won! 52-year old gondola's supporting pillar collapsed. Only 157 days later a new 8-seated gondola lift system starts operating with capacity 2400 passengers per hour.

2011 –  +16°C for twelve days in a row! Race started on 13th warm day, but without results. Giant Slalom had to be stopped and Slalom event had to be cancelled.

2012 – The Golden Fox event had to change its venue again, for a fifth time to Kranjska Gora. Podkoren hosted over 13 000 spectators in two days.

2013 - Record breaking number of spectators at Pohorje foothills! In two days event hosted more than 40 000 visitors. Tina Maze finished second in GS, won Slalom race and became the Golden Fox of Pohorje!

2014

50th jubilee brought everything at once. The Golden Fox event had to change its venue for an eighth time, of which this was a sixth move to Kranjska Gora. Two days prior race, a heavy overnight snowfall covered finish area in Podkoren with 130cm of fresh snow. Night before Giant Slalom event brought freezing rainfall. The course was completely ruined in the morning, Giant Slalom event had to be cancelled. Half of Slovenia experienced a power blackout due to sleet on Sunday, but in Podkoren Golden Fox and Frida Hansdotter celebrated victory!

 

2015

The Golden Fox gained, but Tina Maze lost. Massive 26 000 crowd was left disappointed after a double zero outcome which costed Tina the overall World Cup victory. Yet this why the Golden Fox Won! The race for the Golden Fox Trophy was a complete success as FIS Chief Race director, Atle Skaardal, said: “Very, very well. Excellent job!”

 

2016

The Golden Fox did not lose. On first day, it was one of best and most beautiful races in its long history, though on day two slalom was cancelled. It is like leading by 4:0 and ending in a tie.

Giant Slalom was a complete victory for Golden Fox event. During a winter without snow, Snežni stadion had a 70 cm thick snow surface. A week prior competition Maribor had spring temperatures and during Giant Slalom event there was +17C in finish area, while snow surface remained frozen and concrete solid. Wonderful weather attracted 9000 spectators who supported, cheered and enjoyed watching top performances of world's best female skies. Although Tina Maze this time joined the spectators’ part, there was a Slovenian representative on the podium-Ana Drev, second place! But nature stroke back … Cloudy and warm night changed snow structure. Start was approved and the best ones were leading, but there were no Austrian, Italian and Sweedish competitors among them while holes were getting bigger and bigger. It was manageable only up to bib number 25.

 

2017

Tina Maze took off her skies, walked through the finish line and into a legend, while three other Slovenian skiers finished inside the top 10 in front of 20.000 spectators! 53rd Golden Fox was one of the best races and most glorious edition in its long history. In the giant slalom Tessa Worley took the gold, while Mikaela Shiffrin who won the slalom event, was crowned as the overall winner of the 53rd Golden Fox. The best Slovenian skiers were Ana Drev and Ana Bucik, but the reason for the biggest excitement was local Ilka Štuhec, who won FIS points in both events. 

 

2018

Front page of Slovenian mainstream journal says it all:

“Organizers of 54th Golden Fox joined forces with Kranjska Gora Organizing team  and created an amazing weekend on a demanding racecourse in Podkoren, Kranjska Gora where Michaela Shiffrin reigned the race”. There may be only one crowned Golden Fox winner but it felt like everyone involved in this spectacle won. 

Organizers from Maribor moved to the Podkoren venue in a record time for the 7th time and thus succeeded in keeping the race in Slovenia. On behalf of well pleased racers, Swiss Wendy Holdener thanked the organizers: “We love to race in Slovenia, because we know that the organizers will successfully move the race to Kranjska Gora if weather Maribor isn’t favorable.”
 

Superlatives

 

Most victories: 

- Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI): 8 (6 x SL, 2 x GSL), 

- Anja PAERSON (SWE) 7 (5 x SL, 2 x GSL), 

- Erika HESS (SUI) 3 (SL), 

- Annemarie MOSER (AUT) 3 (1 x SL, 2 x GSL), 

- Hanni WENZEL (LIE) 3 (SL), 

- Lise Marie MOREROD 3 (1 x SL; 2 x GSL), 

- Mateja SVET (SLO) 3 (1 x SL; 2 x GSL), 

- Tina MAZE (SLO) 3 (2 x GSL, 1 x SL)

 

Most places among the first three competitors:

- Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI) 15, 

- Anja PAERSON (SWE) 7, 

- Martina ERTL (GER) 6,

- Sonja NEF (SUI) 6, 

- Tina MAZE (SLO) 6

 

Most places among the first fifteen competitors:

 

-Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI) 20,

 

-Martina ERTL (GER) 17,

 

-Anja PAERSON (SWE) 16,

 

-Sonja NEF (SUI) 16,

 

-Erika Hess (SUI) 12

 

Most slalom victorises:

- Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI) 6, 

- Anja PAERSON (SWE) 5, 

- Erika HESS (SUI) 3

 

Most places among the first three competitors in slalom:
- Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI) 9
 

Most places among the first fifteen competitors in slalom:
-Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI): 12
 

The biggest time difference at a slalom race:
- Marielle GOITSCHEL (FRA): 4,2 s (1964)
 

The smallest time difference at a slalom race:
- Rosie FORTNA (USA): 0,01 s (1969)
 

Most giant slalom victories:

- Francoise  MACCHI (FRA), 

- Annemarie MOSER PROELL (AUT), 

- Lise-Marie MORERORD (SUI), 

- Mateja SVET (SLO), 

- Martina ERTL (GER), 

- Sonja NEF (SUI), 

- Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI), 

- Tina MAZE (SLO): 2

 

Most places among the first three competitors in giant slalom:
- Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI): 6
 

Most places among the first fifteen competitors in giant slalom:
-Vreni SCHNEIDER (SUI): 8
 

The biggest time difference at a giant slalom race:
- Marie-France JEANGEORGES (FRA): 2,39 s (1967)
 

The smallest time difference at a giant slalom race:
- Annemarie MOSER PROELL (AUT): 0,05 s (1970)

 

Slovenian on Golden fox: 

- Tina MAZE - SL: 1x1, 1x2, GSL: 2x1, 2x2, pokal: 1x1, 1x3

- Mateja SVET – SL: 1x1, GSL: 2x1, pokal: 2x1

- Urška HROVAT – SL: 1x1, 1x2 1x3, pokal: 1x1

- Nataša BOKAL – SL: 1x1, GSL: 1x2

- Špela PRETNAR – SL: 1x2, GSL: 1x2

- Katja KOREN – SL: 1x2 Ana DREV – GSL: 1x2

- Veronika ŠAREC – SL: 1x3