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The Slovenian ski team: fighters through and through

Ilka Stuhec, Zan Kranjec, Ana Drev are the current figureheads of the Slovenian ski team, who are also on the piste with UYN. The young athletes’ careers show: if any team can work hard and be tenacious, then it’s the Slovenian.

Ilka Stuhec is currently the most successful ski racer in the Slovenian team. The 28-year-old is regarded as an all-rounder, but is particularly successful in the downhill and Super-G disciplines. She made her World Cup début in 2007. However, the Slovenian missed the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 seasons due to injury. She had to repeatedly be operated on her knee. With her private trainer and the support of her mother, she worked her way up to the world’s elite until she returned to the 2011 World Cup. In the 2012/2013 season, she only achieved individual top-30 results, her sixth place in the Super-G at the 2013 World Championships in Schladming was all the more surprising. In the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons, she accomplished three top 10 finishes and won the downhill in Lake Louise in December 2016. Stuhec also won the Alpine combination and the downhill in Val-d'Isère. She won the gold medal in the downhill at the World Championships in St. Moritz in 2017. In October 2017, Stuhec crashed while training in Tyrol’s Pitztal and injured her knee again. She missed out on the entire season and the 2018 Winter Olympics as a result.

Zan Kranjec specialises in the giant slalom and slalom disciplines. The 26-year-old won his first World Cup points in December 2013 with 23rd place in the giant slalom on the Gran Risa in Alta Badia. At the start of the 2016/2017 World Cup season, he finished fourth twice (Sölden and Beaver Creek). After placing in the top ten again at the beginning of the 2017/2018 season, he skied into third place in the Alta Badia giant slalom. This was his first podium finish in a World Cup race and the young skier’s greatest success so far.

Ana Drev competes in four alpine skiing disciplines: giant slalom, slalom, super-G and combination. This makes her the all-rounder in the Slovenian team. The 33-year-old has accomplished her greatest achievements in the giant slalom. Numerous setbacks put Drev’s career as a ski racer at risk though and forced her to take longer breaks. She made her World Cup début in 2001, and six years later she was among the top ten in a World Cup race in the giant slalom. Drev's best result so far in a World Cup is seventh place in the giant slalom in St. Moritz. At the 2006 Winter Olympics she achieved 9th place in the giant slalom, at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver she was 19th in the giant slalom.

Ana Bucik specialises in the slalom and giant slalom disciplines. Her premiere in the World Cup was in 2010. After several good results at the beginning of the 2014/2015 season, she returned to the World Cup in December 2014: with the start number 55 she skied into 26th place in the Are slalom, winning her first World Cup points as a result. During the 2016/2017 season, Bucik gradually closed the gap on the world’s elite. With seventh place in the Maribor slalom in 2017 she managed a top 10 placing in a World Cup race for the first time. A year later she skied to third place in the alpine combined in Lenzerheide and stood on the World Cup podium for the first time. The 25-year-old is studying mathematics and physics.