Ivica Kostelic has made his reputation on slalom, and although he branched out last season enroute to the World Cup championship, slalom is still his bread and butter. He demonstrated that at Beaver Creek Thursday (Dec.8) in a make up race from Val d’Isere, coming from behind to overtake Marcel Hirscher and pull away from Cristian Deville for the first slalom win of the season.
Kostelic said he was happy to have “removed the curse of Beaver Creek,” after having been removed from the course by the ski patrol in previous visits. “I really wanted to win this race. I had to settle some old issues with this course. I’ve had three surgeries from falls here and have been dreaming of the day I would beat this course.”
It was Nolan Kasper, however, that drew the attention of the Beaver Creek audience. The 22 year old highlighted another up-coming generation of US team skiers with fourth place, a result made incredible considering he had been in the hospital two days before the race with an IV in his arm trying to deal with a nasty virus, and made miraculous considering he had hip surgery in August and hadn’t been on snow until November.
After sprawling on the ground in the finish after the first run Kasper refueled as best he could for the second. “I was drinking energy drinks in the start,” he said, “to get some more energy between runs. It is what it is you try to pull out as much as you can when you can.”
With seven slaloms scheduled over the next six weeks, he’ll need to be at full strength.
“That was good,” Kasper said. “It’s my second best result and my third top 10 ever so I’m excited. It’s a good start to the season.”
Seems he’s not only a master of the slalom course, he’s pretty good an understatement, too.
Coach Sasha Rearick, sporting a wide smile, said it was “a magical day.”
“Kostelic looked amazing today, so we’ve got a little work to do to catch him. But big, big extreme hats off to Nolan Kasper and the team that has worked directly with Nolan for the last six months. This was a magical day.”
Beyond Kasper’s fourth the team had Ted Ligety in 13th and Bode Miller with his first slalom points since January of 2010. If not for a costly error Ligety would have moved up considerably as he was fifth after the first run. And Will Brandenburg led through the early parts of the first run before exiting the course. “Brandenburg’s been skiing extremely fast, we knew that,” said Rearick. “He’s one of the best in the world.”
Canada, too, showed some slalom strength with Brad Spence in 15th,m Julien Cousineau 17th and Mike Janyk 19th.
With seven Cup slaloms scheduled over the next six weeks, Kasper will be testing the recovery program. “I know I have more speed in me and when I’m fully healthy I think I can show it.” The immediate plan was to “Take a nice long nap and then fly to Europe.”
Photos by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Men’s World Cup Slalom, Beaver Creek, Colo., Dec. 8, 2011
1 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
2 Deville, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
3 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Kasper, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Valencic, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
6 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/
7 Thaler, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
8 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Pranger, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
10 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/
Men’s World Cup Slalom, Beaver Creek, Colo., Dec. 8, 2011. … It is the eighth race of the men’s 45 race 2011-12 World Cup schedule. … The second scheduled of 11 slaloms and the first held. . … It is the sixth race at Beaver Creek over the last seven days. … the 47th Cup race hosted by Beaver Creek. … It is a replacement race for one scheduled at Val d’Isere Dec. 11.
It is the 19th career World Cup victory for Ivica Kostelic. … His 12th in slalom. … and his first at Beaver Creek.
It is the first career World Cup podium result for Cristian Deville. … He has previously placed as high as fourth in two slaloms at Garmisch Feb 9, 2008 and Levi Nov. 14, 2010.
It is the 16th career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … his eighth in slalom. … He hit for the cycle at Beaver Creek placing first and second in the two GS’s and third in the slalom.
It is the second best career World Cup result for Nolan Kasper bested only by his second place finish at Kranjska Gora last March6. … That is the last US slalom podium. … He now owns seven Cup scoring results all coming in slalom. … It is the 25th best career slalom Cup result for Ted Ligety. … and is his fifth score of the season. … It is the sixth best of 11 career Cup slalom results for Brad Spence. … All of his scoring finishes are between 12th and 22nd place. … Julien Cousineau matches his 13th best career placing. … It is his first score on the North American continent. … It is the 38th best of 48 World Cup career scoring results for Michael Janyk. … It is the 237th scoring result for Bode Miller. … It is his first slalom score since Adelboden Jan. 10, 2010.
Aksel Lund Svindal (did not qualify for 2nd run of race) leads the World Cup Overall Standings 334-309 over Ligety. … Hirscher moves into third place at 280pts. … Jan Hudec (did not race) is the top Canadian overall in 19th place with 96pts. … Austria maintains control of the men’s Nations Cup 1303-958 over Switzerland. … France is third with 722pts and the U.S. fourth at 688. … Canada sits seventh with 334pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|21||48||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||56.58||55.57||1:52.15||10.79|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|50||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|33||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|58||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|