Zan Kranjec (SLO) may be one to stop the current Olympic and world GS champion from jumping into an early lead. The Slovenian has a pretty special Sölden record himself. Second last year and third in two of the three seasons previously, the Beijing 2022 GS Olympic silver medallist will be quietly fancying his chances.
Elsewhere, there is a mixture of young guns and hardened veterans waiting to pounce on any Odermatt errors.
Lucas Braathen (NOR) leads the charge of the new generation. The Norwegian not only established himself as a slalom skier to be feared last season, he also enjoyed some superb moments on the longer skis. A second GS World Cup win came in Alta Badia (ITA) and the fact his first was in Sölden in 2020/21 will do his confidence the world of good.
If Braathen cannot stop the Swiss man, it may well be down to either Marco Schwarz (AUT) or Pinturault. The home fans will be hoping it is Schwarz who jumpstarts the new season. Aged 28, the Austrian is fast becoming the most complete skier on the circuit. A win and two podium finishes in GS last season proves the one-time slalom specialist has what it takes.
Meanwhile, Frenchman Pinturault is the last man not named Odermatt to lift the GS World Cup title. Back in great form – the 32-year-old finished inside the top eight in each of his eight closing GS World Cup races last season – is he the one to stop the Swiss favourite from carrying on from where he left off? We will all find out soon.