Dominik Paris is on a roll. Since the Italian won his first race of the season late last year in Bormio, Paris has only finished off of a World Cup super-G or downhill podium once, finishing in 11th in the downhill in Wengen, Switzerland, back in January. Add to that a World Championship super-G gold medal and it’s easy to make the case that he is the best speed skier in the world at the moment.
Winning one World Cup race is no easy feat, much less sweeping a series of races. Paris has now managed to sweep the races in both Bormio and Kvitfjell this season after the 29-year-old managed to take the win in Sunday’s super-G in commanding fashion, his leading time never looking to be in danger throughout the entirety of the race.
After Saturday’s near-perfect racing conditions, weather rolled into Kvitfjell on Saturday night and into Sunday, bringing fresh snow and fog. Organizers made the decision to delay the start by 30 minutes to fully clear off the track and racing got underway at 11:30am local time. Paris took to the course with bib seven, masterfully navigated the various undulations of the track and built his lead at each interval, eventually crossing the finish with a commanding one-second lead.
Paris’ time of 1:29.20 proved to be untouchable as Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud only managed to finish 0.43 seconds back for second place. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who is known more for his downhill prowess than super-G, rounded out the podium in third place, 0.60 seconds back.
“I’m feeling great here in Norway!” Paris said with a laugh in the finish. “It’s awesome, I don’t know what I did but it works very well now and I feel a lot of confidence with my skiing and that’s what makes me happy too. I can do a mistake too, like the other guys do, and it’s always hard but in the moment I am feeling good and have a good eye for looking on the track and on the course setting so that makes a lot of difference and I can push really hard on the limit.”
The race for this season’s super-G title is very tight with six racers with a mathematical chance of taking the crystal globe at World Cup Finals later this month in Soldeu, Andorra. Paris currently leads the standings with 330 points, 44 points ahead of Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayer. Sunday’s super-G also happened to be set by Paris’ coach, Alberto Ghidoni, and just might have provided the difference for Paris to take the lead in the standings.
“I talked to [Alberto] about making a good course set, not something stupid, and he did his job very well I think,” Paris shared. “He tried to go with the flow of the bumps and everything so it was a very smooth course but very high speed so it’s more for a speed racer. We will see about the globe, I will fight until the end and then we can talk about it. I know they are close to me and I have to go and push on my limit and try to win the race.”
Jansrud has a special relationship with Kvitfjell. Not only has the Norwegian star landed on the podium here 11 times in his career — including seven wins — the Norwegian venue also happens to be the 33-year-old’s home hill.
“I grew up here so when I look at the big screen and see people going down, that’s what I did when I was seven, eight years old,” he explained. “We didn’t ski gates but would go up in the morning and have our parents make sure we were safe and we would just hunt for speed. I know every millimeter of this course so I feel very comfortable. There’s added pressure, for sure, but added motivation in front of a home crowd. I always want to ski fast and get on the podium but you fight for the wins. Today, crossing the line and seeing those red numbers was a tiny disappointment but then it goes away because second for me is a very good result.”
Although Jansrud’s chances at a fourth career super-G globe are long, the reigning downhill World Champion will be leaving it all on the hill come World Cup Finals.
“I think I’m in good shape now, finally, and I’ll give [Paris] a run for his money but I think he needs to ski lower than expectations and I have to win the race,” Jansrud said. “That makes it interesting at least. The two years prior we already sealed the globe in Kvitfjell and now this brings the excitement all the way to the finals, which is how it’s supposed to be. I revel in pressure so we’ll see, it’s not over till it’s over.”
Feuz had been struggling some in the super-G this season with his previous best result a sixth place in Bormio. Thanks to some new skis, the 2018 Olympic super-G silver medalist might have a few tricks up his sleeve for the final race of the season.
“It’s nice for me personally that it ends here with a podium in the super-G because it has not gone so well so far,” Feuz said. “I like this snow and this track. I did not ski on another ski model here until now in the super-G, which of course can make a difference. The model is something completely new, what we have developed. Maybe that was also crucial.”
Travis Ganong led the Americans in a strong fifth place, his best finish on the season and second-best super-G result of his career. Ganong has struggled some this season on his road to recovery from a season-ending knee injury last winter but saw his skiing over the weekend as a much-needed step in the right direction.
“I’m feeling better,” Ganong explained. “The whole season I’ve kind of been struggling mentally to find my race gear to be comfortable pushing and taking risk, I’ve been really skiing within myself and these last two days, especially yesterday, I decided to push and take some risk. It didn’t quite pan out yesterday in the downhill but it was nice to get that monkey off my back and take some risk and not crash and have some good splits. Today was another chance and I pushed hard again, took some risk, and it worked. It’s just a really good stepping stone in my recovery and my comeback and sets me up really well for next season. Fifth place is awesome.”
Following Ganong in the points was Steven Nyman in 15th and Jared Goldberg in 30th. Thomas Biesemeyer and Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished back-to-back in 33rd and 34th place, respectively, Sam Morse finished 42nd, Samuel DuPratt finished 48th, and Bryce Bennett 49th.
The men’s Tour now heads to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for the final slalom and giant slalom races of the season March 9-10.
1. Dominik Paris (ITA)- Nordica/Nordica/Marker
2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR)- Head/Head/Head
3. Beat Feuz (SUI)- Head/Head/Head
4. Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT)- Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5. Travis Ganong (USA)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)- Head/Head/Head
7. Mauro Caviezel (SUI)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8. Brice Roger (FRA)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
9. Johan Clarey (FRA)- Head/Head/Head
9. Christof Innerhofer (ITA)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
For complete FIS results, please click here.