Image Credit: Agence Zoom

Spring was in the air as birds could be heard chirping at the start of the final regular season men’s World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Austrian living legend Marcel Hirscher won his fourth GS of the season with a total time of 2:24.31, 0.46 seconds ahead of Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen in second and 0.67 seconds ahead of another Scandinavian, Sweden’s Matts Olsson, in third.

Warm weather and high cloud cover made for an interesting combination of flat light and soft snow in the first run as Hirscher made easy work of the course en route to setting the pace by nearly a second in the morning. Frenchman Alexis Pinturault failed to finish his first run, leaving the door wide open for Hirscher to finish off yet another GS title. Haugen sat a distant 12th after the first run and Olsson sat in sixth, both well over a second off of the Austrian’s pace heading into the second run.

Weather worsened in the afternoon as the clouds lowered and rain began to fall, shrouding the top section of the course in fog and soaking fans in the finish. It was a challenge for racer after racer as early start numbers had the advantage in the wet conditions with several racers making large jumps in the standings. Haugen took the lead after his run and watched as racer after racer hemorrhaged time on the lower section of the course as he sat comfortably in the leader’s box. After a long course hold due to the weather made the subsequent racers non-factors until Olsson slid into second, Hirscher then stepped into the gate.

With a massive 1.69 second advantage over Haugen, it seemed improbable that a skier of Hirscher’s caliber would let the win slip through his fingers. Despite losing over a second of his advantage, Hirscher managed to walk away with the win, his fourth consecutive GS globe and fifth of his career, as well as securing a record-setting sixth consecutive overall title.

KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA - MARCH 04: Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway takes 2nd place, Marcel Hirscher of Austria takes 1st place, Matts Olsson of Sweden takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom on March 04, 2017 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom)

Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom

“Well, conditions were definitely not easy, for the fans as well waiting in the rain,” Hirscher said in the finish. “It’s good to have this race in the books, but it was a pretty hard and rough fight this second run. You try your best and every athlete does, but it is not easy, especially with a lot of waiting and the first pitch with the bad visibility but anyway, I’m super, super happy. I think this is the globe in GS, so what a day!”

“If I’m telling the truth, maybe it is a little too much for me right now,” he continued about his overall title. “It’s very emotional and I’m trying right now to do a very professional job, but I’m really, really thankful. I would like to just have three hours to myself after the ceremony to just think about what brought me to this point. It’s just amazing to have six consecutive overall World Cup titles. It is a record where I have to say ‘thank you’ to many, many people, especially to my girlfriend, Laura, to my family, and the team around me. They were amazing.”

Haugen has been on a roll in GS over the past few weeks, and this result only backs up his somewhat surprising bronze-medal performance at World Championships two weeks ago.

“I feel obviously great,” said Haugen. “It’s a career-best result and it was a rough race; I didn’t get the worst light, but I didn’t get the best either. I knew I had to fight hard and just not really think too much about the conditions. I think right now I’m skiing really well and I know that when I push hard, I ski my best. We’ve had these conditions before in the summer in Norway on the glaciers where you can’t see more than a couple of meters ahead of you and it’s raining, so I think it’s bringing back some of the stuff I’ve done when I was little.”

Despite the difficult conditions, Olsson knew that his second run wasn’t going to feel great and he just had to keep pushing on through the fog and rain and trust his abilities.

“The end result is great for me, but it was a really tough race with the weather, with the snow, with everything pretty much but in the end it was great,” Olsson said. “It was raining quite a lot in the second run. With rain and poor visibility, the snow and the bumps, everything together gets real difficult. You know that the second run will not be a good feeling and you just have to fight.”

For the Americans, David Chodounsky and Tim Jitloff finished back-to-back in 21st and 22nd, respectively. Tommy Ford did not finish his second run. Brennan Rubie and Kieffer Christianson did not finish their first runs and Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Hig Roberts did not qualify for the second run. As it stands after Saturday’s race, only Tommy Ford will make the top-25 in the standings cutoff for World Cup finals in Aspen, Colo.

The men now race slalom on Sunday, March 5 in Kranjska Gora to finish off the regular World Cup season before Finals in Aspen.

Fans can stay up to date on World Cup by  downloading the U.S. Ski Team – Ski Racing app for iOS and Android.


 Top 10

1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Leif Kristian Haugen (NOR) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
3. Matts Olsson (SWE) – Head/Head/Head
4. Manuel Feller (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5. Stefan Luitz (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
7. Florian Eisath (ITA) – Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
8. Elia Zurbriggen (SUI) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
9. Roland Leitinger (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10. Loic Meillard (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look


Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  7  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:11.63  1:12.68  2:24.31  0.00  100.00
 2  12  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  1:13.32  1:11.45  2:24.77  +0.46  3.12  80.00
 3  10  501324 OLSSON Matts 1988 SWE  1:12.94  1:12.04  2:24.98  +0.67  4.55  60.00
 4  18  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT  1:13.70  1:11.36  2:25.06  +0.75  5.09  50.00
 5  13  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER  1:13.14  1:12.09  2:25.23  +0.92  6.25  45.00
 5  3  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  1:12.93  1:12.30  2:25.23  +0.92  6.25  45.00
 7  11  292967 EISATH Florian 1984 ITA  1:13.24  1:12.08  2:25.32  +1.01  6.86  36.00
 8  34  511741 ZURBRIGGEN Elia 1990 SUI  1:13.62  1:11.77  2:25.39  +1.08  7.33  32.00
 9  14  54031 LEITINGER Roland 1991 AUT  1:13.10  1:12.48  2:25.58  +1.27  8.62  29.00
 10  30  512182 MEILLARD Loic 1996 SUI  1:14.29  1:11.32  2:25.61  +1.30  8.83  26.00
 11  2  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  1:12.59  1:13.03  2:25.62  +1.31  8.90  24.00
 12  15  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI  1:12.73  1:12.90  2:25.63  +1.32  8.96  22.00
 13  4  194495 FAIVRE Mathieu 1992 FRA  1:13.01  1:12.69  2:25.70  +1.39  9.44  20.00
 14  5  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  1:12.86  1:12.95  2:25.81  +1.50  10.19  18.00
 15  17  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR  1:13.71  1:12.11  2:25.82  +1.51  10.25  16.00
 16  6  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp 1983 AUT  1:13.11  1:12.94  2:26.05  +1.74  11.82  15.00
 17  41  422390 MONSEN Marcus 1995 NOR  1:14.63  1:11.43  2:26.06  +1.75  11.88  14.00
 18  47  54144 MEIER Daniel 1993 AUT  1:14.79  1:11.38  2:26.17  +1.86  12.63  13.00
 19  8  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  1:13.67  1:12.51  2:26.18  +1.87  12.70  12.00
 20  24  294890 NANI Roberto 1988 ITA  1:13.80  1:12.51  2:26.31  +2.00  13.58  11.00
 21  28  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  1:14.39  1:12.17  2:26.56  +2.25  15.28  10.00
 22  29  534959 JITLOFF Tim 1985 USA  1:14.70  1:11.96  2:26.66  +2.35  15.96  9.00
 23  9  561244 KRANJEC Zan 1992 SLO  1:14.03  1:12.64  2:26.67  +2.36  16.03  8.00
 24  25  103729 READ Erik 1991 CAN  1:14.13  1:12.76  2:26.89  +2.58  17.52  7.00
 25  32  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE  1:14.39  1:12.55  2:26.94  +2.63  17.86  6.00
 26  27  51159 NOESIG Christoph 1985 AUT  1:14.68  1:12.29  2:26.97  +2.66  18.06  5.00
 27  33  194873 SARRAZIN Cyprien 1994 FRA  1:14.36  1:13.90  2:28.26  +3.95  26.82  4.00
 28  38  53985 MATHIS Marcel 1991 AUT  1:14.44  1:14.12  2:28.56  +4.25  28.86  3.00
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 75  942023 TAHIRI Albin 1989 KOS
 74  54106 BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon 1992 BOL
 73  700901 HYSKA Martin 1994 SVK
 72  380363 KOLEGA Elias 1996 CRO
 71  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 70  491853 DEL CAMPO Juan 1994 ESP
 69  561313 DVORNIK Aljaz 1995 SLO
 66  561291 GROSELJ Zan 1993 SLO
 65  410365 BARWOOD Adam 1992 NZL
 64  92720 POPOV Albert 1997 BUL
 62  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO
 59  512039 ROULIN Gilles 1994 SUI
 57  410364 FEASEY Willis 1992 NZL
 55  20398 VERDU Joan 1995 AND
 51  990051 BOSCA Giulio Giovanni 1990 ITA
 50  934566 ROBERTS Hig 1991 USA
 49  6530319 COCHRAN-SIEGLE Ryan 1992 USA
 48  481103 ANDRIENKO Aleksander 1990 RUS
 46  53889 HIRSCHBUEHL Christian 1990 AUT
 45  103676 BROWN Phil 1991 CAN
 44  422073 NETELAND Bjoernar 1991 NOR
 43  6291430 MAURBERGER Simon 1995 ITA
 42  700879 ZAMPA Andreas 1993 SVK
 40  180705 PIRINEN Eemeli 1993 FIN
 39  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 37  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
 35  180666 TORSTI Samu 1991 FIN
 31  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT
 22  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO
 19  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
Did not finish 2nd run
 23  531799 FORD Tommy 1989 USA
 16  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 68  561255 CATER Martin 1992 SLO
 67  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE
 63  561310 HROBAT Miha 1995 SLO
 61  502015 JAKOBSEN Kristoffer 1994 SWE
 60  6290440 ZINGERLE Alex 1992 ITA
 58  290095 BALLERIN Andrea 1989 ITA
 56  194457 GALEOTTI Greg 1992 FRA
 54  194935 FAVROT Thibaut 1994 FRA
 53  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER
 52  6530115 CHRISTIANSON Kieffer 1992 USA
 36  934568 RUBIE Brennan 1991 USA
 26  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI
 21  511852 CAVIEZEL Gino 1992 SUI
 20  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA
 1  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA
Article Tags: Alpine , Top Rotator , Top Story

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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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