New Rebels, existing goals, improvements made
At the beginning of the 2016 - 2017 season, three new faces lined up with the HEAD World Cup Rebels team. There was the prolific and fast Cowboy, the Attacking Viking and the huge potential.
All had joined the HEAD World Cup Rebels team with the aim of improving and going faster. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Ragnhild Mowinckel and Bernadette Schild had all had various levels of success but had felt their careers had stagnated and wanted to get back on the success trail. Where better to do it than in using the most successful brand of ski and boot on the World Cup in the last six years. How have they got on and are their goals being realised?
The results from St Moritz saw Manuel Osborne-Paradis win his first medal at the World Championships when he was part of a clean sweep of the podium in the Super G by the HEAD World Cup Rebels. Like Osborne-Paradis, Mowinckel and Schild have both expressed their desire to work with a brand that is super committed to developing the products and working with the athletes to improve things. When Kjetil Jansrud joined the HEAD World Cup Rebels programme part of the appeal for him was the idea to work on the helmets and goggles programmes. For the new Rebels in 2016 - 2017, the appeal of joining the team, was being involved in improving the products.
Schild tries to avoid the comparisons with her sister though she explained in Flachau that she enjoys racing in front of her even if she does give her a hard time with comments. A three time podium finisher already in her career, Schild is part of an ever stronger HEAD Slalom team alongside Wendy Holdener and Anne Sophie Barthet. This season has seen her score eight top ten World Cup results, twice finishing fifth, the best return of her career. The infectious enthusiasm she has for her racing and improving is a joy to witness.
The Norwegian Alpine team, the Attacking Vikings has a strong HEAD presence with Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud, Jonathan Nordbotten on the Men’s team as well as Maria Therese Tviberg on the Women’s speed programme so when Ragnhild Mowinckel expressed interest in joining the fastest speed ski programme on the World Cup alongside her compatriot Lotte Smiseth Sejersted, there was little hesitation. Mowinckel has scored five top ten results this season across three different events: Giant Slalom (three times), Super G and Alpine Combined. The potential across the disciplines is something that really appeals.
It is the full package of products, equipment and support that appeals to top racers when they are looking to join HEAD. With over twenty racers from the Men’s Speed events using HEAD skis, fitting a new racer into the team is not just about providing equipment, it is also about providing the back up as well: The serviceman and the test team to make the skis go even faster.
All three racers joined the HEAD World Cup Rebels at the beginning of the season with high hopes of improving their results. The trajectory of the racers is on target. The future of the brand is strong with the talent that is being drawn to the brand.
After Garmisch, Osborne-Paradis explained “every race is a big race,” going on to say that the “set up is really good and I have confidence in my skis which is really good,” something that is crucial to each racer. It takes time to get the right feeling yet at the end of their first season with HEAD, the new Rebels are smiling but all know that there is more to come.