Betschart scores first World Cup point |

Betschart scores first World Cup point

Steve Yingling

It was only a point, but for Wisi Betschart his 30th-place finish in a World Cup super-G on Friday was certification that he can compete with the world’s-best skiers.

“I’m definitely fired up about it. Some guys race World Cup and never score a point. It’s pretty tough,” said the 22-year-old speed specialist from South Lake Tahoe.

Betschart completed the course in 1 minute and 15.61 seconds.

Stephan Eberharter spearheaded a top-5 Austrian sweep. Eberharter was timed in 1:11.81, with Olympic champion Hermann Maier second at 1:12.33 and Christian Mayer third at 1:12.45.

Betschart, who started 58th out of 68 racers, said more than half of the field didn’t finish because of icy conditions and treacherous turns.

“I hung in there, but I could have gone out three or four times. There would be a straight stretch, then a gate and then a big turn. It was really choppy and tough to hold on and ski smooth,” he said.

It was an unexpectedly good start for the U.S. speed skiers. Including Betschart, five Americans placed among the top-30 finishers.

“Five of our six starters scored. That hasn’t happened since Phil and Steve Mahre were on the team. It’s a great way to start the season,” Betschart said.

The pleasing performance, however, doesn’t change his plans to focus on the United States Ski Team’s Visa Super Series.

“They knew at the end of last year what my schedule was. Even if I had placed better (Friday) and got my own spot, I doubt I would do World Cup regularly,” Betschart said. “I want to make sure I have my own World Cup spot next year.”

In order to secure a World Cup position, Betschart must finish first or second in a Super Series discipline.

However, Betschart plans to race with the best in the world whenever a Super Series doesn’t conflict with World Cup. That appears to be Dec. 12-13 for a downhill and super-G in Val d’Isere, France.

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