BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – Increasing snowfall throughout the day and a lowered start didn’t faze Austrian Marcel Hirscher as he took the maiden super G victory of his career, clocking a winning time of 1:06.90 down the Birds of Prey track.
Following Hirscher on the podium was the American duo of Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht, finishing 0.33 and 0.36 seconds back for second and third place, respectively.
Today’s victory isn’t just Hirscher’s first World Cup super G win, it’s also his first super G win at any level of international racing. His only other podium appearances in super G are from a sliver medal in the 2009 World Junior Championships, a second in the super G portion of a combined event in Val d’Isere in 2009, and a third at the Schladming World Cup in 2012.
“It is unbelievable, it’s a great result for me,” Hirscher said of his victory. “I train so much in the tech disciplines, but I don’t get much training in SG. It was four days so far this season. Super G is kind of in-between giant slalom and downhill, and today there were a couple of turns where you got to use your GS turns, and that made the win possible.”
The heavy snowfall made for variable racing conditions, with the racers running in the middle of the top 30 starters bearing the brunt of the bad weather.
“I was lucky with bib number four, but you have to pick your chances and go for it. At least I have done that. Two years ago I had an operation on my eyes so they are pretty good (when visibility is bad),” noted Hirscher.
If Hirscher can now consistently podium in super G, in addition to his dominance in the tech events over the past few years, the rest of the world just might be in a competition for second place in the overall World Cup standings this season.
But if you bring that up to Hirscher, he is quick to point out the form of a certain Attacking Viking.
“The direction is definitely the right one, but, you know, I think Aksel (Svindal) is the best Aksel I have ever seen,” added Hirscher. “If he is doing it in the same style as he showed us in the last four or three races, there is no chance against him.”
For the Americans, today marked the first time since 2004 a U.S. Ski Team athlete has made it to the super G podium in Beaver Creek, when Bode Miller was second behind Austrian Stephan Goergl.
“When I got bib 29 (last night), I wasn’t all that psyched on that,” explained Ligety. “In super G, it’s definitely nice to run early. But with the snowstorm today, it was really tough for those guys running 15 to 22. The snowstorm was really hard then. When I went it started to clear up a little bit, so I was able to ski well and capitalize on that little break in the weather. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck on your side and that definitely worked out for me today.”
According to Ligety, today’s result was more of an indicator of the quality of the hill rather than him coming into true World Cup super G form.
“I think this is really the only good super G hill on the World Cup,” he said. “Most of them are glorified cat tracks. In most of them, you’re tucking 98 percent of them, and this one actually has the full gamut. It has some really technical turns up top – it has some jumps – it has some terrain –it has some gliding sections, so this hill is one of the few hills in super G that has the full range of different skills you need to have in order to win.”
For Weibrecht, today marks his first career trip to a World Cup podium. The Lake Placid, N.Y., native has two Olympic super G medals to his name, a bronze from Vancouver 2010 and silver from Sochi 2014, but had yet to hit the podium in a World Cup event.
“You know, it’s just such a monkey off my back,” Weibrecht said. “I get the question all the time, ‘You have two Olympic podiums, but you’ve never had a podium in World Cup, why is that?’ And I’m sick of fielding that question, so hopefully that one’s done and closed now. It’s great. I’ve definitely put a lot more emphasis on my preparation for World Cup, trying to figure out how to ski strong week-in and week-out and what it takes to keep my level high. It’s definitely been a little bit of a shift for me, but it’s nice to see it paying off with both results this weekend.”
Weidrecht also pointed towards another key course report from his teammate Travis Ganong, who ran with bib two and ultimately ended the day in sixth place, 0.56 seconds off of Hirscher.
“Travis gave me a great report again today. He ran early and that’s always a little bit tougher but he basically told me that it’s totally chargeable, it’s super easy, just to absolutely hammer it and that was the perfect advice.”
Another American with a career day was Tommy Biesemeyer, who, in his first World Cup since knee surgery last season, finished a career-best 11th at 0.79 seconds back, starting from the 42nd spot.
“It’s good, it sort of gets that monkey off your back. Being on the sidelines and watching your competition get better and improve and get the results that you dream of is obviously hard, but inspiring,” Biesemeyer said. “To come out here today and walk away with 11th is awesome.”
For Biesemeyer, who was posting consistent scoring results on the World Cup before an unfortunate string of injuries over the past two seasons, his return to top form is so close he can practically taste the next level.
“My inner competitiveness starts to come through and you start to realize how close you are to the next step, and that’s knocking on the door of a podium,” he added. “It’s going to make going to sleep at night a little better because I know that I’m capable of it.”
In all, five of the nine starters for the Stars and Stripes made it into the points, with Ligety in second, Weibrecht third, Ganong sixth, Biesemeyer 11th, and Tommy Ford in 28th.
Beaver Creek weekend is scheduled to wrap-up tomorrow with the men’s giant slalom set to start at 9:45 a.m. local MST.
See more photos from this race here.
By Hank McKee
1 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
3 Weibrecht, Head/Head/Head
4 Theaux, Head/Head/Head
4 Casse, Head/Head/Head
6 Ganong, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Kilde, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Janka, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Guay, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Kriechmayr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Men’s World Cup super G, Beaver Creek, USA, Dec. 5, 2015. … It is the fifth of 45 races (with one cancellation) on the men’s annual World Cup schedule … the second of eight scheduled super Gs. … It is the 61st World Cup race held at Beaver Creek … the 18th super G. … Hannes Reichelt won the race last season, the first of four he would earn and the only super G of the season. Lindsey Vonn is the only American to win a super G in a Beaver Creek World Cup. … Start is lowered due to weather.
- It is the 32nd World Cup win for Marcel Hirscher, but his first in super G. … It is, however, his second win and eighth World Cup podium at Beaver Creek. … Winning margin is 0.33. … Top 19 skiers are within the same second. Entire scoring field is within a second and a half.
- It is the 51st career World Cup podium for Ted Ligety. … The result matches his career best World Cup super G result from Dec. 12, 2009 at Val d’Isere (Ligety won the World Championship gold medal in SG at Schladming in 2013).
- It is a career best World Cup result and first World Cup podium for Andrew Weibrecht. … His previous best had been fifth, scored in super G at Kitzbuehel and Kvitfjell, and in downhill here, yesterday.
- It is the third top-six finish of the season for Travis Ganong and matches his second best career SG placing, topped only by his fourth at Lake Louise last week. …It is the 71st World Cup top 10 for Erik Guay … It is a personal best placing for Tommy Biesemeyer topping an 18th from last season’s Beaver Creek super G. … It is the 15th World Cup scoring finish for Tommy Ford and first of the season. … He scored twice last March after a two-season break due to injury.
- Aksel Lund Svindal (21st in race) holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 317-180 over Ligety. … Peter Fill (26th in race) holds third overall with 177pts. … Travis Ganong is fourth with 172pts and Weibrecht cracks the top 10 at 117pts. …
- Svindal leads the super G standings 110-100 over Hirscher. … Ganong is third with 90, Ligety fourth with 80 and Weibrecht ninth with 65pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 821-604 over Norway. … Italy is third qith 584 and the US fourth at 553. …Canada is seventh with 121pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|7||28||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:07.50||+0.60||9.69|
|21||20||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:08.07||+1.17||18.89|
|34||60||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:08.54||+1.64||26.48|
|51||63||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:09.82||+2.92||47.14|
|56||47||380292||ZRNCIC DIM Natko||1986||CRO||1:11.46||+4.56||73.61|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|27||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|