Marcel Hirscher has now won the last four giant slalom crystal globes. After Saturday’s exclamation-point GS victory in Are, Sweden, Hirscher has also won 11 of the last 12 GS races he has competed in, including World Championship and Olympic gold. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there isn’t a whole lot to say that hasn’t been already said about the Austrian superstar.
Nevertheless, Hirscher cruised to his 13th World Cup victory of the season, besting Norwegian rival Henrik Kristoffersen yet again in second with Frenchman Victor Muffat-Jeandet skiing himself onto the podium in third.
Hirscher’s season wasn’t all green lights and gold medals, however, as the Austrian suffered a broken ankle in August and was unsure if he would even be able to muster the strength to win World Cups, much less dominate the tech events like he has this season.
“It’s amazing to have this small crystal globe right now,” Hirscher said after the race. “Looking back to a lot of great GS races is definitely very unexpected. I had a broken ankle at the end of August so no goals compare with globes and to win the GS globe, slalom globe, and the big globe is really my best season so far. I want to hold this level for a couple of more races, that would be amazing.”
Kristoffersen has now finished runner-up a record 11 times on the World Cup this season. The Norwegian dedicated much of his offseason training time to perfecting his GS technique, something that has paid off in the form of an Olympic silver medal and a second place in the GS standings. The fiery Norwegian still has a little bit of work left to do if he plans on catching Hirscher in the coming seasons, though.
“I have taken big steps in GS this year and and I started to catch Hirscher but it is not easy when he skis as well as he does,” Kristoffersen said.
For Frenchman Muffat-Jeandet, it was his first trip to a World Cup GS podium since December of 2015 when he landed on the podium in three straight GS races in Beaver Creek, Val d’Isere, and Alta Badia.
“It’s incredible coming back on the podium in GS,” he said in the finish. “I did it two years ago but after a tough season last year and the start of this season being pretty difficult it’s so cool to come back like this. Being so close to the two legends, Hirscher and Kristoffersen, is really good for the future so I think I will keep that in my head and keep working over the summer; it’s so cool to be coming back into the game.”
For the American duo of Tommy Ford and GS legend Ted Ligety, Ford led the way with a personal-best World Cup finish in eighth, proving that he has the speed to be competitive on the World Cup after some struggles with injury and inconsistent skiing in recent years.
“I was training well in the summer and carried it over into Beaver Creek and the skiing stuck throughout the year,” explained Ford. “A couple hiccups here and there but I’m glad to finish it on that note. From how the speeds felt first run I just knew I could bring a little more intensity. My skiing is there, I just need to trust in the process and continue to work away at it.”
Ligety, who has been coming back from multiple surgeries over the last few seasons, finished in 17th and has been experimenting with his GS setup. The American legend is already looking towards the future and getting back to his winning ways on the World Cup after a season of struggles.
“It’s been a pretty tough one, that’s for sure,” he admitted. “I’m glad it’s over, good to finish this one off and regroup and figure it out from there. First run I skied on the old 35-meter skis. I trained on them a little bit this year and it was kind of stupid of me not to try them earlier in the year but today they set it more like normal GS whereas the rest of the year has been dead, dead straight, like, no turn shape anywhere. This was way, way turnier so that was a difficult task in the first run. Second run I went on a different pair of skis and it worked a little bit better but, yeah, I’ve been trying to figure out the answer.”
The men will now race the final slalom and final World Cup of the 2018 season on Sunday, March 18.
- Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Loic Meillard (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Zan Kranjec (SLO) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Matts Olsson (SWE) – Head/Head/Head
- Thomas Fanara (FRA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Tommy Ford (USA) – Head/Head/Head
- Justin Murisier (SUI) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
- Florian Eisath (ITA) – Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|12||9||421669||NESTVOLD-HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:15.25||1:00.72||2:15.97||+2.34||17.16||22|
|16||12||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:16.03||1:00.61||2:16.64||+3.01||22.07||0|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|