The first World Pro Ski Tour stop of the 2020 season began the way that the final race of the 2019 season ended; with a Robert Cone win. Cone took the Pepi Gramshammer Cup title and ten-thousand-dollar prize. Named for the iconic Austrian ski racer Pepi Gramshammer, who passed away in August, 2019, the dual-format ski race marked the first professional race in Vail in twenty years.
The exciting dual-race began with an epic crash by USA’s Thomas Woolson in the Round of 16, in the same fashion he began the 2019 season. Woolson spun out after aggressively attacking a gate and continued to spin through sponsor banners. Fortunately, Woolson was not seriously injured.
2019 World Pro Ski Tour champion, Phil Brown, was upset in Round 8 by Alex Leever (USA), who skied with the precision and aggression of an athlete hungry for a win. Leever was ultimately eliminated by Cone and landed in third place after beating rookie World Pro Ski Tour newcomer, Simon Breitfuss-Kammerlander, an Austrian-born ski racer who now races for Bolivia.
“Most of the guys didn’t know me when I got here,” says Breitfuss-Kammerlander. “You never know about this type of skiing; the fastest guys can still get eliminated in the first round, so it’s a lot about strategy.”
Strategy played a major role in the competition between racers Robert Cone and Garrett Driller, who battled in the final runs to place first and second. In the end, Robert Cone was visibly fastest and the most dominate skier of the day, using his dynamic, athletic style to prevail over the rest of the field.
“The win felt great,” said Cone. “I’m excited for the rest of the season and all of the great things that the World Pro Ski Tour is doing for our sport.”
A lively crowd enjoyed the races as well as VIP hospitality and vendor village participation by Tuff Shed, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, SYNC Performance and Surefoot Ski Boots. The next stop of the World Pro Ski Tour is January 2, 2020, at Howelson Hill in Steamboat, Colorado.