Austria’s premier speed racer Markus Salcher is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, Canada, from Saturday (28 February).
Downhill and super-G world and Paralympic champion Salcher would only reveal that he is aiming to win a modest one medal at the biggest gathering of skiers since Sochi 2014, a year after winning his first Paralympic titles.
“The colour is not that important,” the 23-year-old said.
The races in Sochi saw Salcher just edge Russia’s Alexey Bugaev in the downhill and his teammate Matthias Lanzinger in super-G by the tightest of margins. The gap had decreased from the 2013 World Championships when Salcher beat Lanzinger in the super-G and Switzerland’s Micheal Bruegger in the downhill.
In 2014-15, both Bugaev and Lanzinger have been strong on the World and Europa Cup circuit alongside Salcher who has picked up seven podiums in both speed events and giant slalom, even though technical races are not normally his speciality.
“Alexey and Matthias have had a successful season so far” Salcher said. However he was quick to point out that the depth of the field expands even further with other skiers stepping onto the podium this season.
“Of course, there are a lot of other competitors with really good chances in each race, for example Thomas Pfyl [Switzerland], Alex Alyabyev [Russia] as well as my teammates.”
Looking ahead to Panorama 2015, Salcher is excited to be skiing the challenging courses which have various public viewing areas for spectators to watch for free, and being welcomed by the Canadian crowds. Downhill competition will start on 4 March.
His impairment, where he was born with paralysis in the right side of his body, means that he finds the twists and turns of the technical disciplines more challenging.
However with the support of his father Bernd, who is also his coach, and other members of his family who will make the journey to Panorama to watch Salcher compete, the young Austrian feels well prepared for the upcoming races between 28 February-10 March.
“On one hand it is very important for me to have especially my father by my side, because he was my trainer from the very beginning and no one knows me and my handicap better than he does,” Salcher said. “He always knows what is good for me.”
“And on the other hand, the support and the attendance of my family always gives me this little more motivation, that I need.”
Panorama 2015 will feature around 130 athletes from 30 countries. Live results and a livestream will be available at www.Panorama2015.com, whilst viewers in the US can watch at www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics.
Daily previews and reviews will be available at www.panorama2015.com and live updates will be posted to Facebook and Twitter, as well as on Instagram @Paralympics.