The annual Snow Queen Trophy races in Zagreb, Croatia, have become a staple on the World Cup tour in recent years with the small eastern European venue attracting large crowds. The unassuming Sljeme slope just outside the city groomed the likes of Janica and Ivica Kostelic as they prepared for World Cup and Olympic success and now plays host to the fastest slalom skiers in the world.

Although the stop began as a women’s tour exclusive (hence the Snow Queen moniker), the race has become a coveted victory on the men’s tour as well with some titanic battles taking place under the lights over the years.

This year’s edition of the men’s Snow Queen Trophy came down to the wire as Austrian superstar Marcel Hirscher captured his 50th career victory, matching Italian great Alberto Tomba on the all-time World Cup wins list. Hirscher seems to have found another gear in his skiing this season, taking slalom and giant slalom races right and left and putting himself firmly in the driver seat for yet another overall title.

“I remember back to last year’s January races where I ended up in second position three times in a row with three, six, and nine hundredths of a second,” Hirscher reflected after the race. “Always in the second position and people were telling me, ‘Ah, it will come back sometime,’ and they were right. In these last races I was the lucky one so it’s good to be me at the moment.”

Hirscher was joined on the podium by fellow Austrian Michael Matt in second, a slim 0.05 seconds shy of the win with Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen just behind in third, 0.11 seconds off of Hirscher for an incredibly tight podium. Kristoffersen looked to have laid down the time to beat in the second run before Hirscher and Matt were able to squeak in front of the young Attacking Viking. Letting his emotions get the best of him, Kristoffersen was visibly upset as the final racers finished their runs.

“First of all, I have to say that I think skiing-wise, second run I was skiing really good,” he explained. “It’s a little bit disappointing to do that mistake on the flat. If you watch the TV, you can definitely see that there is a mistake and when it’s that flat you lose so much time. I’m not disappointed with being third. I’m disappointed by doing a stupid mistake, and that’s the difference between winning a race and being third.”

It was also a step in the right direction for the American slalom team as Mark Engel managed to score his first World Cup points of the season in 24th, conquering a demon or two from last year’s race that saw him sitting in third place after the first run but unable to finish, crashing mere feet from the finish line.

Engel redeemed himself after heartbreak in 2017. Image Credit: GEPA / Christian Walgram

“I sort of felt the pressure to finish here today because our team is going to run out of World Cup spots unless we score more points so I went to ski solid and got to the flats and then I started to push it,” Engel said. “I’m really happy that my best split was down the last pitch which has troubled me before. I took away from that experience (last year) only positives. That was the best race I ever did and it was all about letting go of being afraid to fail, letting go of expectations and just trying to do my best. I’m just gonna keep trying to do that.”

For the rest of the Americans, veteran David Chodounsky did not finish his first run after setting the eighth-fastest intermediate and straddling shortly afterwards. Hig Roberts and AJ Ginnis also did not finish with Robby Kelley and Michael Ankeny not qualifying for the second run.

Looking ahead, the men’s tour now heads to Adelboden, Switzerland, Jan. 6-7 as the Classics begin.


Top 10

  1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Michael Matt (AUT) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  4. Manuel Feller (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  5. Luca Aerni (SUI) – Salomon/ Salomon/ Salomon
  6. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head / Head / Head
  7. Dave Ryding (GBR) –  Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
  8. Sebastian Foss-Solevaag (NOR) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
  9. Andre Myhrer (SWE) – Head / Head / Head
  10. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) – Fischer / Fischer /Fischer

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  5  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  55.58  55.02  1:50.60  0.00  100
 2  2  54170 MATT Michael 1993 AUT  55.37  55.28  1:50.65  +0.05  0.33  80
 3  4  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  55.96  54.75  1:50.71  +0.11  0.72  60
 4  9  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT  56.44  54.95  1:51.39  +0.79  5.14  50
 5  14  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI  56.75  55.49  1:52.24  +1.64  10.68  45
 6  11  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  56.88  55.61  1:52.49  +1.89  12.30  40
 7  10  220689 RYDING Dave 1986 GBR  57.51  55.27  1:52.78  +2.18  14.19  36
 8  16  422082 FOSS-SOLEVAAG Sebastian 1991 NOR  56.78  56.01  1:52.79  +2.19  14.26  32
 9  6  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  57.36  55.60  1:52.96  +2.36  15.36  29
 10  3  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  57.23  55.74  1:52.97  +2.37  15.43  26
 11  13  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI  57.43  55.61  1:53.04  +2.44  15.88  24
 12  17  54320 SCHWARZ Marco 1995 AUT  56.92  56.13  1:53.05  +2.45  15.95  22
 13  24  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI  57.08  55.99  1:53.07  +2.47  16.08  20
 14  30  512182 MEILLARD Loic 1996 SUI  58.45  54.84  1:53.29  +2.69  17.51  18
 15  19  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR  57.39  55.91  1:53.30  +2.70  17.58  16
 16  12  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE  57.48  55.98  1:53.46  +2.86  18.62  15
 17  15  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA  57.45  56.19  1:53.64  +3.04  19.79  14
 18  21  53889 HIRSCHBUEHL Christian 1990 AUT  57.54  56.16  1:53.70  +3.10  20.18  13
 19  26  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT  58.27  55.44  1:53.71  +3.11  20.25  12
 20  23  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  57.92  55.80  1:53.72  +3.12  20.31  11
 21  42  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK  58.38  55.55  1:53.93  +3.33  21.68  10
 22  8  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS  57.58  56.42  1:54.00  +3.40  22.13  9
 23  44  291145 DEVILLE Cristian 1981 ITA  58.29  55.84  1:54.13  +3.53  22.98  8
 24  36  934523 ENGEL Mark 1991 USA  58.26  55.90  1:54.16  +3.56  23.18  7
 25  29  103729 READ Erik 1991 CAN  58.64  55.83  1:54.47  +3.87  25.19  6
 26  18  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA  58.58  56.04  1:54.62  +4.02  26.17  5
 27  25  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER  58.54  56.36  1:54.90  +4.30  27.99  4
Did not finish 2nd run
 7  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  57.22  0
 1  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA  56.73  0
Disqualified 2nd run
 33  202485 KETTERER David 1993 GER  0
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 80  54106 BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon 1992 BOL  1:05.00  0
 76  380292 ZRNCIC DIM Natko 1986 CRO  1:01.54  0
 72  202615 TREMMEL Anton 1994 GER  1:01.68  0
 70  422507 HAUGAN Timon 1996 NOR  1:00.82  0
 69  380361 RODES Istok 1996 CRO  1:00.71  0
 68  501351 JOHANSSON Emil 1988 SWE  1:02.49  0
 67  54252 RASCHNER Dominik 1994 AUT  1:01.44  0
 66  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 HUN  1:01.07  0
 65  380363 KOLEGA Elias 1996 CRO  59.79  0
 64  934502 ANKENY Michael 1991 USA  1:01.38  0
 63  501873 LUNDBAECK Gustav 1993 SWE  1:01.39  0
 59  6291631 LIBERATORE Federico 1995 ITA  59.52  0
 58  561291 GROSELJ Zan 1993 SLO  1:00.63  0
 57  201891 SCHMID Philipp 1986 GER  1:01.03  0
 55  6290886 BACHER Fabian 1993 ITA  59.24  0
 54  54093 STROLZ Johannes 1992 AUT  58.84  0
 53  302982 OHKOSHI Ryunosuke 1988 JPN  1:01.05  0
 52  502015 JAKOBSEN Kristoffer 1994 SWE  1:03.90  0
 51  512138 SIMONET Sandro 1995 SUI  59.14  0
 50  6190403 NOEL Clement 1997 FRA  59.34  0
 48  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA  59.04  0
 46  194262 BUFFET Robin 1991 FRA  59.59  0
 43  201896 STEHLE Dominik 1986 GER  59.52  0
 41  6291574 SALA Tommaso 1995 ITA  59.21  0
 40  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN  59.50  0
 39  103676 BROWN Phil 1991 CAN  59.07  0
 38  320266 JUNG Donghyun 1988 KOR  59.60  0
 37  930160 KELLEY Robby 1990 USA  59.45  0
 35  380334 VIDOVIC Matej 1993 CRO  59.22  0
 34  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS  58.95  0
 32  202520 HOLZMANN Sebastian 1993 GER  59.07  0
 31  511899 ROCHAT Marc 1992 SUI  59.43  0
 27  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA  59.33  0
 22  301709 YUASA Naoki 1983 JPN  58.86  0
Did not finish 1st run
 79  380377 KOLEGA Samuel 1999 CRO  0
 78  710362 LOKMIC Emir 1997 BIH  0
 77  491879 SALARICH Joaquim 1994 ESP  0
 75  700868 FALAT Matej 1993 SVK  0
 74  6293171 VINATZER Alex 1999 ITA  0
 73  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE  0
 60  501898 ROENNGREN Mattias 1993 SWE  0
 56  92719 ZLATKOV Kamen 1997 BUL  0
 47  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO  0
 45  54245 HETTEGGER Thomas 1994 AUT  0
 28  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  0
Disqualified 1st run
 62  934566 ROBERTS Hig 1991 USA  0
 61  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE  0
 49  6531063 GINNIS AJ 1994 USA  0
 20  421669 NESTVOLD-HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  0
Did not start 1st run
 71  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO  0
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Sean Higgins
Senior Editor
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A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American status in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
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