The hits keep on coming for the Attacking Vikings. On a clear night in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, Henrik Kristoffersen dominated the field and took the 62nd edition of the 3Tre night slalom for the fifth World Cup slalom victory of his career by a staggering 1.25 seconds over a pair of Austrians. Marcel Hirscher finished in second place and Marco Schwarz was third, 1.59 seconds off the pace.
With Kristoffersen’s win today, the Attacking Vikings – including Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud as well – have combined to give Norway victories in eight of the 12 men’s World Cup races contested so far this season. It’s a staggering statistic, especially given how small the Norwegian team is compared to other strong alpine nations.
Perhaps with a fire lit underneath him after an untimely exit in the first round of yesterday’s parallel giant slalom in Alta Badia, Kristoffersen left nothing in the tank as he attacked the Canalone Miramonte slope with borderline reckless abandon, teetering on the edge of disaster more than once before crossing the finish with the win.
“This place is amazing, here in Madonna. So many legends have been here before me,” an exhausted Kristoffersen said to the estimated 12,000 in attendance. “Thank you, Italy.”
Warm temperatures in the Dolomites and all of Central Europe have prevented many of the slopes from being prepared to their normal sheet of ice surface. Both of today’s runs saw the course break down with the warmer temperatures providing rougher conditions for later runners.
“It was so bumpy. It was breaking through a little bit on the steep part,” Kristoffersen explained. “I had a few close calls, just like in Val d’Isere, but that’s the way it is in alpine skiing, I’d rather be on the limit. Now, I’m skiing so good that I can stay on my skis being on the limit and it’s perfect.”
Hirscher, who also made an uncharacteristic first round exit in the parallel, admitted that Kristoffersen is in a league of his own in slalom at the moment, and may soon challenge him for dominance in GS.
“Yes, I’m impressed with his skiing, but I’m not surprised that he is dominating at the moment in slalom, we have seen that already in Val d’Isere,” he said. “There is no way at the moment if he is making no mistakes to beat him. He is the man to beat at the moment, definitely in slalom, and maybe in two months as well in GS.”
About a third of the way down during Hirscher’s second run, an aerial drone providing overhead television shots for the media rights holder Infront plummeted to the ground, narrowly missing Hirscher and shattering into pieces mere inches from the tails of his skis.
At the post-race press conference, the current world number one did not mince words when it came to how he felt about the situation.
“I thought a course worker or a slipper crashed and slid down the hill and was following me, or a pole, or a shovel, I don’t know,” he explained. “I heard something and I felt there was something, but what it was, I just went for it. But when I saw it in the finish area, I have to say that this was total sh–, what happened today. It was unbelievable.”
Understandably upset as he could have been seriously injured or worse if the drone had dropped just inches closer, Hirscher nevertheless felt thankful that things happened the way they did and he managed to escape free of harm.
“I’m not injured, nothing got hurt and I think I have to say thank you for that, that I’m healthy and sitting here, and for the next reason, with another podium,” he added.
For Schwarz who started with bib 33, it has been a steep learning curve so far on the World Cup. His first top-30 results came in Val d’Isere only 10 days ago where he finished 18th in the slalom and 19th in the GS. Still a junior, could Schwarz be the next great Austrian slalom star?
“Unbelievable. My second run was really good, no mistakes and third place, cool thing,” an excited Schwarz told reporters. “In Val d’Isere, I made my first World Cup points with 18th place, and now I am on the podium. It’s so cool, it was a great race.”
American David Chodounsky had another solid performance, taking his second top 10 in as many races, finishing in ninth place to go along with his fifth from Val d’Isere. If it weren’t for a costly mistake approaching the finish, Chodounsky could have been well on his way to his second top five this season. With how he has been skiing lately, a second top five — or better — is likely not far off.
“I felt my top was pretty good, then I had what felt like a big mistake … I came through the finish and I wasn’t too pleased,” he explained. “I’m still happy, I moved up into ninth, I’ll take that.”
Also of note was the performance of young Swiss racer Luca Aerni, who took advantage of an early start in run two, winning the run and leapfrogging from 26th after run one to ultimately finish an impressive fifth, a mere 0.25 seconds from the podium.
The next men’s slalom is scheduled for Zagreb, Croatia, on Jan. 6, but warm temperatures could force the rescheduling of the race to a yet to be determined venue and date. Stay tuned to SkiRacing.com for updates as they become available.
View more photos from this race here.
Fans can stay current on the World Cup circuit by downloading the new U.S. Ski Team iOS app powered by Ski Racing here.
By Hank McKee
- Kristoffersen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Schwarz, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Razzoli, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Aerni, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica
- Grange, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Chodounsky, Nordica/Nordica
- Myhrer, Head/Head/Head
- Men’s World Cup slalom, Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, Dec. 22, 2015. … The 3-Tre. … It is the 13th of 45 races on the men’s World Cup schedule … the second of 11 slaloms (with one cancellation). … It is the fifth straight day with a men’s race. … The 3-Tre has been held at Madonna di Campiglio since 1950, but it is the 56th World Cup race hosted by Madonna, the 36th slalom. … Felix Neureuther is the defending champion. … Phil Mahre (1981) and Bode Miller (2001) are the only Americans to win a Madonna slalom. Tommy Corcoran placed third in 1958. … It’s a large start list with 85 starters.
- It is the sixth career World Cup win for Henrik Kristoffersen and his fifth in slalom. … It is his second win of the season … and the eighth win of the season for Norway, all on the men’s circuit. … It is the fourth Norwegian win of a Madonna slalom. … Winning margin is 1.25 seconds. …. Top six are within two seconds.
- It is the 79th career World Cup podium placing for Marcel Hirscher … his seventh of the season in eight races.
- It is just the third career scoring finish (all this season) and first podium for Marco Schwarz. … His previous best had been 18th in slalom at Val d’Isere Dec. 13.
- It is the sixth career World Cup top 10 for David Chodounsky … his second of the season.
- Hirscher regains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 623-600 over Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race). … Kjetil Jansrud (did not race) is third with 407pts. … Ted Ligety (did not qualify for 2nd run) is seventh overall with 248pts and Travis Ganong (did not race) is 10th with 204pts.
- Kristoffersen leads the slalom standings 200-160 over Hirscher. … Chodounsky is third with 79pts.
- Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup standings 1944-1658 over Norway. … France is third with 1397pts. … The U.S. is fifth with 995pts and Canada eighth with 231pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|22||42||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||50.16||51.16||1:41.32||+3.52||25.91|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|81||30388||BIRKNER DE MIGUEL Tomas||1997||ARG|