Image Credit: GEPA

The fog was nice enough to stay away for the final regular season men’s World Cup slalom of the season in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Sunday, but the same wet, soft snow and flat light as Saturday was on tap as Austria’s Michael Matt took the first World Cup victory of his career with a combined time of 1:48.26 seconds. Italy’s Stefano Gross hung on for a second-place finish, 0.30 seconds back while Germany’s Felix Neureuther claimed his fifth podium of the season in third, 0.46 seconds off of Matt’s pace.

Gross set the pace in the first run, using extremely clean and early skiing to distance himself from the rest of the field by over a second. Matt sat 1.15 seconds back in second place and Neureuther found himself 1.62 seconds adrift in fifth heading into the second run. It was quite the spread in the first run as a whole due to the soft conditions as a whopping 4.39 seconds separated Gross from 30th-place finisher Stefan Hadalin of Slovenia.

Second run action saw a huge shake-up in the results as early racers took advantage of a clean course and deteriorating conditions to make massive jumps in the standings. Italy’s Patrick Thaler had the fastest second run time and charged from 28th to sixth as several other racers from outside the top 20 made solid jumps into the top 15. Neureuther looked to have blown the doors off the race by coming down with a 0.78 second advantage and held the lead until Matt kicked out of the gate. Skiing within himself and maintaining a light touch on his edges, Matt managed to match Neureuther and slide into the lead by a comfortable margin. Gross, despite a valiant second run effort, was not able to hang on to his first run advantage and found himself in second, but was none the less content to make it back to the podium.

Marcel Hirscher’s fourth place finish combined with Henrik Kristoffersen failing to make the second run after hiking in his first run means that the Austrian has now locked up the slalom title as he leads the standing by 110 points with only the slalom at Finals to go.

KRANJSKA GORA,SLOVENIA,05.MAR.17 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS World Cup, slalom, men. Image shows Michael Matt (AUT). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Matic Klansek

Photo: GEPA pictures/ Matic Klansek

Matt looked deceptively fast in both runs as his clean, calm skiing was the ticket to victory on Sunday. Matt’s older brother, Mario, won the slalom in Kranjska Gora twice during his illustrious career, and the younger Matt certainly hopes that Sunday’s result is an indication of what is to come.

“It’s amazing, it’s unbelievable when you stand out there in the finish area,” Matt said of the winner’s presentation. “When you’re second after the first run and then the green light is in the second run when you’re in the finish, it’s amazing. I watched (the other racers) at the World Championships in St. Moritz and that wasn’t good, so I didn’t watch today. I didn’t watch anyone, I just focused on me and my skiing and I’m really happy. I’ve had a good experience in European Cup here on this hill and last year as well. I just like the hill and love to ski here.”

Gross has struggled with a bad back for much of the season and definitely needed the confidence boots of a podium heading into the final slalom of the season in Aspen.

“It feels extremely good because I’ve had a really difficult season,” Gross admitted. “Unfortunately, I had a bad back problem in January and then the best race I could have done was when I was second after the first run in Kitzbuehel and in the second run, I straddled a gate right at the top. That could have probably totally changed my season if something had gone well at that point, but it’s been a terrible season for me and it really feels very good to be back on the podium. I had a great first run, but it was also due to my start number as I had number two. Unfortunately in the second run, from the beginning, I had a few problems. It was bumpy, it was really hard to hold the line, so it was not as good, but I was well prepared for the conditions with training in salty, spring snow.”

Sunday was Neureuther’s fifth career podium at Kranjska Gora and the German also looks to put some early season struggles behind him and finish the season strong.

“It feels very good,” he said. “I don’t know how may times I’ve been on the podium here, but it’s a very, very special hill, technical, tough and the conditions are always tough too, so I am very happy to be on the podium again. I had some problems at the beginning of the season until just right before the World Championships; I was struggling with my setup so I couldn’t ski as I wanted but now, since the World Championships, it feels really good again.”

It was a tough day for the American contingent as David Chodounsky was the lone finisher in 19th place. Despite a strong first run in the ruts that saw him sitting in 11th place, Chodounsky fell victim to the deteriorating second run and slid back to 19th, which unfortunately did not score him enough points to qualify for World Cup Finals in Aspen. Michael Ankeny did not finish his first run and the remaining U.S. skiers — Mark Engel, Robby Kelley, AJ Ginnis, and Hig Roberts — did not qualify for the second run.

The top-25 men in each discipline now pack their bags and head to World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colorado, March 15-19.

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. Michael Matt (AUT) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  2. Stefano Gross (ITA) – Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker
  3. Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
  4. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  5. Andre Myhrer (SWE) – Head/Head/Head
  6. Patrick Thaler (ITA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  7. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  8. Julien Lizeroux (FRA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  9. Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  10. Alexander Khoroshilov (RUS) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  12  54170 MATT Michael 1993 AUT  55.41  52.85  1:48.26  0.00  100.00
 2  2  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA  54.26  54.30  1:48.56  +0.30  2.00  80.00
 3  5  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  55.88  52.84  1:48.72  +0.46  3.06  60.00
 4  1  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  55.73  53.33  1:49.06  +0.80  5.32  50.00
 5  15  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  56.30  53.20  1:49.50  +1.24  8.25  45.00
 6  21  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA  58.53  51.02  1:49.55  +1.29  8.58  40.00
 7  6  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  55.89  53.86  1:49.75  +1.49  9.91  36.00
 8  10  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA  56.28  53.55  1:49.83  +1.57  10.44  32.00
 9  30  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  57.93  51.97  1:49.90  +1.64  10.91  29.00
 10  4  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS  56.42  53.54  1:49.96  +1.70  11.31  26.00
 11  24  422082 FOSS-SOLEVAAG Sebastian 1991 NOR  57.91  52.26  1:50.17  +1.91  12.70  24.00
 12  34  512182 MEILLARD Loic 1996 SUI  58.22  51.97  1:50.19  +1.93  12.84  22.00
 13  22  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI  57.22  53.02  1:50.24  +1.98  13.17  20.00
 13  14  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE  56.34  53.90  1:50.24  +1.98  13.17  20.00
 15  36  511908 SCHMIDIGER Reto 1992 SUI  58.40  51.92  1:50.32  +2.06  13.70  16.00
 16  27  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER  57.43  52.90  1:50.33  +2.07  13.77  15.00
 17  31  194262 BUFFET Robin 1991 FRA  58.46  51.89  1:50.35  +2.09  13.90  14.00
 18  25  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI  57.97  52.40  1:50.37  +2.11  14.03  13.00
 19  23  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  56.88  53.59  1:50.47  +2.21  14.70  12.00
 20  20  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA  58.23  52.25  1:50.48  +2.22  14.76  11.00
 21  33  380334 VIDOVIC Matej 1993 CRO  57.70  52.83  1:50.53  +2.27  15.10  10.00
 22  46  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO  58.65  51.90  1:50.55  +2.29  15.23  9.00
 23  8  54320 SCHWARZ Marco 1995 AUT  55.84  54.85  1:50.69  +2.43  16.16  8.00
 24  29  53889 HIRSCHBUEHL Christian 1990 AUT  58.16  52.54  1:50.70  +2.44  16.23  7.00
 25  11  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  57.41  53.30  1:50.71  +2.45  16.29  6.00
 26  16  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR  57.34  53.55  1:50.89  +2.63  17.49  5.00
 27  19  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  57.25  53.66  1:50.91  +2.65  17.62  4.00
 28  43  511899 ROCHAT Marc 1992 SUI  58.58  52.48  1:51.06  +2.80  18.62  3.00
 29  18  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT  57.37  53.93  1:51.30  +3.04  20.22  2.00
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 78  54106 BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon 1992 BOL
 77  561310 HROBAT Miha 1995 SLO
 76  20378 ESTEVE Axel 1994 AND
 75  400235 WINKELHORST Steffan 1992 NED
 74  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE
 73  221236 TAYLOR Laurie 1996 GBR
 70  700868 FALAT Matej 1993 SVK
 69  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton 1985 SWE
 67  561313 DVORNIK Aljaz 1995 SLO
 66  934566 ROBERTS Hig 1991 USA
 64  6531063 GINNIS AJ 1994 USA
 63  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 HUN
 61  350095 PFIFFNER Marco 1994 LIE
 60  561244 KRANJEC Zan 1992 SLO
 58  380363 KOLEGA Elias 1996 CRO
 57  6190403 NOEL Clement 1997 FRA
 56  92720 POPOV Albert 1997 BUL
 55  561291 GROSELJ Zan 1993 SLO
 54  502015 JAKOBSEN Kristoffer 1994 SWE
 51  6291631 LIBERATORE Federico 1995 ITA
 50  512138 SIMONET Sandro 1995 SUI
 48  201896 STEHLE Dominik 1986 GER
 47  291145 DEVILLE Cristian 1981 ITA
 45  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
 44  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER
 42  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 41  6291574 SALA Tommaso 1995 ITA
 39  930160 KELLEY Robby 1990 USA
 38  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 37  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
 35  934523 ENGEL Mark 1991 USA
 28  103729 READ Erik 1991 CAN
 26  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA
 3  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR
Did not finish 2nd run
 17  301709 YUASA Naoki 1983 JPN
Did not finish 1st run
 72  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 71  410365 BARWOOD Adam 1992 NZL
 68  180567 RASANEN Joonas 1989 FIN
 65  422073 NETELAND Bjoernar 1991 NOR
 62  194664 RIZZO Maxime 1993 FRA
 59  491879 SALARICH Joaquim 1994 ESP
 53  934502 ANKENY Michael 1991 USA
 52  103676 BROWN Phil 1991 CAN
 49  54245 HETTEGGER Thomas 1994 AUT
 40  320266 JUNG Dong-hyun 1988 KOR
 32  511127 GINI Marc 1984 SUI
 13  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT
 9  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI
 7  220689 RYDING Dave 1986 GBR

 

Article Tags: Alpine, Top Rotator, Top Story

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Sean Higgins
Senior Editor
- 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 honors in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
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