The 2017-18 alpine skiing World Cup season was a 142-day marathon. Ski Racing Media staff wrote more than 70 World Cup race stories in addition to behind-the-scenes features, Q&As and more. Needless to say, it's been a busy, but before we take a deep sigh of relief, let's take a look at the season as a whole beyond World Cup globes.
Show me the money.
One of the most popular Google searches that brings people to this website is: "How much money do ski racers make?" While we can not give Mikaela Shiffrin's annual salary including endorsement deals and bonuses for World Cup wins, we can break down the prize money.
The two-time World Cup overall title winner from the U.S. earned the most prize money for the second consecutive season of any alpine skier--man or woman. Shiffrin also skied fast enough to get a significant raise over last season. In 2016-17, she claimed a total of 597,692 Swiss francs (approximately 595,000 U.S. dollars). This year, she earned 702,774.88 Swiss francs, or roughly 738,616 U.S. dollars. That's more than retired legend Tina Maze took home in 2012-13 when she earned the most World Cup points in a single season by any man or woman, putting 701,797 Swiss francs in her bank account. In comparison, Switzerland's Wendy Holdener earned the second-most money amongst female alpine skier this season, taking home 273, 794 Swiss francs.
Shiffrin out-earned seven-time men's World Cup overall title winner Marcel Hirscher by 33,093.88 Swiss francs. With 13 World Cup wins this season, Hirscher earned a total of 669,681 Swiss francs in prize money, and his rival Henrik Kristofferson, the second-highest earning man on the World Cup, took home 345,071 Swiss francs.
...And now a word from the sponsors.
Every season, FIS measures the success of brands. After winning last season's brand rankings, Atomic--the ski of Hirscher and Shiffrin--dropped to third. HEAD surged ahead to the top spot with the help of athletes like Holdener, downhill globe winner Beat Fuez, super-G globe winner Kjetil Jansrud and Attacking Viking Aksel Lund Svindal. Rossignol got between the powerhouse brands in second position, matching the company's best result since 2009.
When broken down by discipline, Rossignol was the top performing ski in the tech events while HEAD dominated in super-G, downhill and alpine combined amongst men and women.
Complete brand rankings are available here.
Did that really happen?
Beyond the dominance of Hirscher and Mikaela Shiffrin, a few athletes stunned with their performances this season. Only time will tell if these athletes can hold onto this momentum into 2018-19.
Thomas Dressen kicked off the speed season with a third-place finish at Beaver Creek and he only got faster from there. Coming from bib 19, he smoked the field in the Hahnenkamm downhill, the first German to do so since since Sepp Ferstl won in 1979. The German ended the season ranked third in the downhill standings behind Beat Feuz of Switzerland and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.
Ramon Zenhaeusern made the first World Cup podium appearance of his career when he win the City Event in Stockholm, Sweden, just before the Olympic Winter Games. He took that confidence to South Korea and with strong skiing and a bit of luck, Zenhaeusern earned an Olympic silver medal in the slalom. The Swiss skier was also part of the gold-medal winning squad in the inaugural Team Event at the Games.
Ragnhild Mowinckel is no newcomer to the World Cup, but 2018 is the season she found her footing. She kicked things off with her first World Cup podium--a third-place finish in one of the super-G races at Val d'Isere. The highlight was no doubt her two Olympic medals in PyeongChang, which she followed up with a her first World Cup win in the giant slalom at Ofterschwang. She earned 849 World Cup points in total, landing her eighth in the overall standings. Mowinckel also ended the giant slalom season in fourth place.
In your opinion, what was the biggest surprise of the World Cup season? Let us know in the comments below.