WENGEN, Switzerland – Much like Aksel Lund Svindal’s domination of downhill this season, his Norwegian teammate, Henrik Kristofersen, has had a similar stranglehold on the top step of the slalom podium. The wiry Attacking Viking took his fourth out of five slaloms contested this season, winning on Sunday in Wengen with a total time of 1:37.85 seconds. Flanking Kristoffersen on the podium was a pair of Italians, with Giuliano Razzoli and Stefano Gross in second and third, 0.30 and 0.68 seconds back, respectively.

As the snow fell steadily – and at times blindingly – throughout the day, the young Norwegian star was calm, cool, and collected en route to yet another convincing slalom win. A relatively flat slope by World Cup standards as the normal slalom hill was not ready in time for the race, the bottom portion of the downhill track proved no match for Kristoffersen as he charged through the snowflakes, attacking the second run like a banshee and crossing the line to do what looked like his best rendition of a “Lambeau Leap” as he jumped into the padding surrounding the finish. The scoreboard displayed its now usual green light.

WENGEN,SWITZERLAND,17.JAN.16 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS World Cup, slalom, men. Image shows Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneisl

“Well, it wasn’t a classic slalom hill here in Wengen this year, but it feels pretty good at the moment to win four out of five and be second in the one I didn’t win, so it gives a lot of confidence,” he said in the finish. “Now, it’s just really important to stay grounded and keep on working because it ain’t over yet.”

Kristoffersen’s closest competition in the slalom hunt this season, Marcel Hirscher of Austria, uncharacteristically failed to finish the second run, something the circuit’s second most consistent slalom skier hasn’t done since the World Championships last year. But that doesn’t mean Kristoffersen is going to let off the gas.

Looking ahead to the next two World Cup slalom stops in Kitzbuehel and Schladming – two of the most classic venues on the circuit – Kristoffersen is more than up for the challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to them. I’ve done really good there before,” he said. “I have a second place from Kitzbuehel and my first win was in Schladming, so I would for sure like to repeat that.”

Kristoffersen’s win marks a perfect weekend for the Norwegian team after Kjetil Jansrud’s win in the alpine combined on Friday and Svindal’s downhill victory on Saturday. The Attacking Vikings are nothing short of dominating the winners box on the men’s side this year with 12 of 19 races having been won by a Norwegian.

For Razzoli, finally making it to the World Cup podium after a streak of bad luck and mistakes so far this season is validation for how fast he knows he has been skiing, despite what his previous results might show.

“It’s important because from the start of the season, I ski very well and very fast,” the Italian explained. “Not lucky in Val d’Isere, fourth in Campiglio, mistake in Santa Caterina, and now I am on the podium. It’s important for this, I am very happy for my skiing and it’s OK for the next time.”

It was also Gross’ first trip to the podium this season, and judging by the aggression in his skiing thus far, he is definitely one to watch as the circuit moves to Austria in the coming weeks.

Leading the way for the Americans in 12th place was Vermont native Tim Kelley. It was a special day for the University of Vermont and Cochran’s Ski Club product, who scored his first ever World Cup points after spending nearly 10 years on and off the circuit following his debut in the 2006 Beaver Creek slalom.

WENGEN,SWITZERLAND,17.JAN.16 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS World Cup, slalom, men. Image shows Tim Kelley (USA). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneisl

After injuries almost ended his career prematurely, Kelley chose the NCAA route, attending UVM and winning a national slalom title in 2011 as well as a team title in 2012. Now, he has arrived on the World Cup.

“It’s great. It’s been a battle the whole 10 years,” Kelley explained. “I wouldn’t trade my career for anyone’s, but it’s definitely been a bit of a grind, you know? Three back surgeries now, a hip surgery, it feels good to be healthy and have a good World Cup race and finally get into the World Cup points. It’s a big weight off my shoulders, and hopefully I can move forward from here and keep scoring points and keep working my way up on the World Cup.”

Kelley has always had a bit of a soft spot for Wengen, as he has been well on his way to qualification here in the past if it weren’t for untimely mistakes or DNFs.

“Wengen is awesome. I’ve always skied well here,” he said. “I had one year I was 31st, a tenth out of the flip and then I think the other three years I was top 30 in the splits and then would blow out. It’s obviously a little different being on the downhill track as opposed to the classic slalom track. The classic slalom track is amazing and super fun, but this one just stole my heart I think!”

American David Chodounsky also battled through some seriously bad visibility on the second run to ultimately finish in 20th place.

Also of note was the fact that eight starters, with six ultimately qualifying for the second run, have roots in NCAA racing. Along with Kelley, Chodounsky (Dartmouth), Leif Kristian Haugen (Norway, University of Denver), Espen Lysdahl (Norway, Denver), Erik Read (Canada, Denver), and Trevor Philp (Canada, Denver) all qualified for a second run. Jonathan Nordbotten (Norway, UVM) and Robby Kelley (USA, UVM) unfortunately fell victim to the first run, nevertheless showing the talent that the American college circuit can help develop.

The news was sadder for slalom specialist Markus Larsson who is out for the season after after being diagnosed with a herniated disk in his back earlier this week. The Swede had been suffering from weakness in his left leg prior to the diagnosis and will undergo surgery in Stockholm sometime in the near future.

The men’s tour now moves to the legendary stop of Kitzbuehel, Austria, for downhill, super G, combined, and slalom races Jan. 19-24.


The Scoop
By Hank McKee

1. Kristoffersen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

2. Razzoli, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

3. Gross, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker

4. Byggmark, Volkl/Fischer/Marker

5. Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

6. Pinturault, Head/Head/Head

7. Grange, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

7. Myhrer, Head/Head/Head

9. Foss-Solevaag, Volkl/Dalbello/Marker

10. Muffat-Jeandet, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

  • Men’s World Cup slalom, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2016. … It is the third and final race of the 86th Lauberhorn. … It is the 19th race of the men’s 45 race World Cup schedule. … It is the sixth of 11 originally scheduled men’s slaloms, with the Levi slalom having been canceled and not made up. … It is the 37th World Cup slalom held at Wengen. … Felix Neureuther won the most recent on Jan. 17, 2015.
  • It is the eighth career World Cup victory for Henrik Kristofferson … his fourth of the season, all in slalom. … It is his first win at Wengen, though he was on the podium in last year’s slalom here. … He is just the second Norwegian to win a Wengen slalom, the first being Kjetil Andre Aamodt on Jan. 16, 2000. … Winning margin is .30 of a second. … Top eight finishers are within the same second. … Top 22 within two seconds.
  • It is the 10th career World Cup podium for Giuliano Rizzoli … his first of the season. … It is his first Wengen podium.
  • It is the seventh career World Cup podium for Stefano Gross … his first since Jan. 27, 2015. … It is his second Wengen podium having placed second on Jan. 17, 2015.
  • It is the first World Cup scoring finish for Tim Kelley. … It is the fifth score of the season for David Chodounsky and his third at Wengen.
  • Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 816-801 over Marcel Hirscher (DNF 2nd). … Kristoffersen is third with 671pts.
  • Kristoffersen leads the slalom standings 480-340 over Hirscher. … Felix Neureuther (fifth in race) is third with 187pts.
  • Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 2766-2412 over Norway. … France is third with 2232pts. … The U.S. is fifth at 1130pts and Canada ninth at 299pts.

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  2  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  47.89  49.96  1:37.85  0.00
 2  8  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA  48.05  50.10  1:38.15  +0.30  2.21
 3  1  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA  48.35  50.18  1:38.53  +0.68  5.00
 4  19  501101 BYGGMARK Jens 1985 SWE  48.97  49.57  1:38.54  +0.69  5.08
 5  7  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  48.24  50.40  1:38.64  +0.79  5.81
 6  15  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  48.56  50.20  1:38.76  +0.91  6.70
 7  13  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA  48.30  50.47  1:38.77  +0.92  6.77
 7  9  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  48.91  49.86  1:38.77  +0.92  6.77
 9  10  422082 FOSS-SOLEVAAG Sebastian 1991 NOR  48.91  49.97  1:38.88  +1.03  7.58
 10  12  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  48.63  50.40  1:39.03  +1.18  8.68
 11  39  194262 BUFFET Robin 1991 FRA  49.29  49.89  1:39.18  +1.33  9.79
 12  41  530837 KELLEY Tim 1986 USA  48.96  50.36  1:39.32  +1.47  10.82
 13  4  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE  48.42  50.93  1:39.35  +1.50  11.04
 14  26  54320 SCHWARZ Marco 1995 AUT  48.63  50.74  1:39.37  +1.52  11.18
 15  16  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA  48.84  50.55  1:39.39  +1.54  11.33
 16  25  220689 RYDING Dave 1986 GBR  48.66  50.80  1:39.46  +1.61  11.85
 17  42  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  49.05  50.44  1:39.49  +1.64  12.07
 18  45  421954 LYSDAHL Espen 1990 NOR  48.83  50.72  1:39.55  +1.70  12.51
 19  52  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA  48.62  50.94  1:39.56  +1.71  12.58
 20  17  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  48.65  50.93  1:39.58  +1.73  12.73
 21  29  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT  49.43  50.22  1:39.65  +1.80  13.24
 22  50  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 HUN  49.36  50.48  1:39.84  +1.99  14.64
 23  43  103729 READ Erik 1991 CAN  49.28  50.58  1:39.86  +2.01  14.79
 24  33  511127 GINI Marc 1984 SUI  49.32  50.86  1:40.18  +2.33  17.14
 25  40  201896 STEHLE Dominik 1986 GER  49.15  56.82  1:45.97  +8.12  59.75
 26  55  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO  49.00  57.60  1:46.60  +8.75  64.38
Disqualified 1st run
 30  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
 20  501223 BAECK Axel 1987 SWE
Did not start 1st run
 62  20324 OLIVERAS Marc 1991 AND
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 61  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE
 60  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 58  430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej 1988 POL
 57  380292 ZRNCIC DIM Natko 1986 CRO
 54  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
 53  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO
 51  304242 NARITA Hideyuki 1993 JPN
 49  291145 DEVILLE Cristian 1981 ITA
 48  50981 HOERL Wolfgang 1983 AUT
 44  54170 MATT Michael 1993 AUT
 38  512014 NIEDERBERGER Bernhard 1993 SUI
 37  561148 SKUBE Matic 1988 SLO
 36  934502 ANKENY Michael 1991 USA
 28  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI
 22  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER
 5  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER
Did not finish 2nd run
 35  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 27  50605 HERBST Reinfried 1978 AUT
 21  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI
 14  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI
 6  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT
Did not finish 1st run
 59  700879 ZAMPA Andreas 1993 SVK
 56  191750 FANARA Thomas 1981 FRA
 47  930160 KELLEY Robby 1990 USA
 46  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR
 34  301709 YUASA Naoki 1983 JPN
 32  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 31  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA
 24  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT
 23  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton 1985 SWE
 18  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA
 11  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA
 3  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS
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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