Alpine
Image Credit: Agence Zoom

ZAGREB, Croatia — Thursday night’s men’s slalom had it all. A blizzard, clear skies, ice, soft snow, and wind — lots of wind — was on tap as Italy’s Manfred Moelgg took his first win in eight years with a combined time of 2:00.03 seconds. Second place went to Germany’s Felix Neureuther, 0.72 seconds back and Norwegian sensation Henrik Kristoffersen rounded out the podium in third, 0.77 seconds off of Moelgg’s pace.

The evening started of with a full-on snowstorm blanketing the slope that provided little visibility for the first 20 or so racers. Then, as if a someone flipped a switch, the snow stopped and skies cleared for the remainder of the opening run. Austria’s Manuel Feller set the pace in run one from bib 21 and started a trend of racers from high bib numbers making their way into the second run. American Mark Engel had a miraculous run, catapulting himself from bib 48 all the way to third, 0.28 seconds behind Feller.

The wind started whipping during second run inspection and didn’t let up until the last racer kicked out of the gate, creating challenging conditions as the top 30 racers took to the course. In a race that had been very tight up until that point, Neureuther looked to have blown the race wide open as he crossed the line with a healthy advantage and slid comfortably into the leader box. Krisoffersen put up a valiant effort, but slid into second, a slim 0.05 hundredths behind the German. Moelgg took to the course as the fifth fastest racer after run one and skied like he had nothing to lose, taking a commanding lead of 0.72 seconds with just four racers to go.

Heartbreakingly, Engel, after charging his second run and putting himself in position for a top-five finish, crashed in spectacular fashion mere gates from the finish much to the dismay of the thousands of spectators watching. Feller also failed to finish his second run, giving the victory to the Italian.

It was a special night for Moelgg. Winning in front of so many World Cup legends who were in town to commemorate the 50th season of the World Cup provided a special atmosphere all night long.

“It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s awesome, the feeling to win here in Zagreb. It’s the birthday of the World Cup and with all of these guys, Marc Girarelli and Tomba, incredible. It’s been a lot of work in the last two weeks and now we are here in first place; it’s incredible. It was difficult for all the guys, but I stayed focused on my skiing and thought to push hard and to ski fast. That’s the only thing that I thought of until the finish line.”

Neureuther tried his best to not concentrate on the swirling on-course winds and instead focus on his skiing after watching several racers before him struggle with the tough conditions.

“Tough race today,” Neureuther said in the finish. “We had, I think, every condition today; it was snowing, sunshine, windy, hard snow, soft snow, everything in one race. It was crazy. I am very, very happy that it ended that good for me. I watched the other guys at the start and I thought, ‘Ok, its not good for everybody, so you just have to push and don’t care if it’s windy or not,’ and it worked out pretty well for me.”

Kristoffersen continues to chip away at Marcel Hirscher’s lead in the slalom standings and today’s result sets up an exciting month of racing for the two slalom superstars. Although the Norwegian still fancies Hirscher the favorite for the slalom title, fans can rest assured that Kristoffersen won’t give up his slalom globe title with out a fight in the coming months.

“Really happy to be on the podium, for sure, with how everything went down with the conditions, with the wind, everything,” Kristoffersen explained. “Starting the new year with a third place is not bad. I think I got a little bit of wind on the flat there, especially where the banner used to be — it wasn’t there anymore when I was skiing — I got some wind there. I think there were lots of people that got more wind than I did. We are doing an outdoor sport, and we can’t change the weather, unfortunately, so that’s how it is.”

For the Americans, aside from Engel’s heartbreaking crash, David Chodounsky skied a solid second run, but was subject to hands-down the worst wind of the night en route to a 16th place finish.

“It was hard,” he reflected. “This is an outdoor sport, that’s what we do. I just didn’t get good wind today. It was really crazy up there. I went through a hairpin and literally could not see the next gate and I didn’t know where to go. I just gotta shake it off, there’s nothing I can do. I just have to go to the next race and keep firing.”

For Engel, his first time in a World Cup second run was quite the experience given his first run performance. Although crashing out in the second run, the Sugar Bowl native is in good spirits and looking forward to the rest of the season.

“Our whole team has really been skiing very fast and pushing each other,” Engel said. “To me, it felt like normal skiing like we ski in training. When I fell, I probably shouldn’t say (what I was thinking), but I’m smiling now. I was happy that I was going for it and not holding back.”

The remainder of the American squad of Robby Kelley, Michael Ankeny, and AJ Ginnis did not qualify for the second run, but as a whole was a few minor mistakes from making it into the points, which bodes well for the team heading into the remainder of the slalom season.

The men now head to Adelboden, Switzerland for giant slalom and slalom races Jan. 7-8.

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. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  2. Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
  3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  4. Daniel Yule (SUI) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  5. Michael Matt (AUT) –Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  6. Marcel Hisrcher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  7. Dave Ryding (GBR) –Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  8. Luca Aerni (SUI) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  9. Julien Lizeroux (FRA) –Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  10. Stefano Gross (ITA) – Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  4  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  58.52  1:01.51  2:00.03  0.00  100.00
 2  5  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  58.65  1:02.10  2:00.75  +0.72  4.32  80.00
 3  7  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  58.54  1:02.26  2:00.80  +0.77  4.62  60.00
 4  11  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI  58.54  1:02.48  2:01.02  +0.99  5.94  50.00
 5  9  54170 MATT Michael 1993 AUT  58.80  1:02.54  2:01.34  +1.31  7.86  45.00
 6  6  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  58.51  1:02.95  2:01.46  +1.43  8.58  40.00
 7  19  220689 RYDING Dave 1986 GBR  59.05  1:02.53  2:01.58  +1.55  9.30  36.00
 8  23  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI  58.91  1:02.81  2:01.72  +1.69  10.14  32.00
 9  8  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA  58.18  1:03.73  2:01.91  +1.88  11.28  29.00
 10  2  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA  59.41  1:02.68  2:02.09  +2.06  12.36  26.00
 11  17  422082 FOSS-SOLEVAAG Sebastian 1991 NOR  59.39  1:02.95  2:02.34  +2.31  13.86  24.00
 12  3  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  59.43  1:03.03  2:02.46  +2.43  14.58  22.00
 13  34  103729 READ Erik 1991 CAN  59.28  1:03.21  2:02.49  +2.46  14.76  20.00
 14  37  320266 JUNG Dong-hyun 1988 KOR  59.12  1:03.50  2:02.62  +2.59  15.54  18.00
 15  24  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR  59.55  1:03.10  2:02.65  +2.62  15.72  16.00
 16  20  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  59.00  1:03.71  2:02.71  +2.68  16.08  15.00
 17  39  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA  59.67  1:03.05  2:02.72  +2.69  16.14  14.00
 18  29  301709 YUASA Naoki 1983 JPN  59.02  1:03.74  2:02.76  +2.73  16.38  13.00
 19  54  202520 HOLZMANN Sebastian 1993 GER  59.60  1:03.25  2:02.85  +2.82  16.92  12.00
 20  49  511899 ROCHAT Marc 1992 SUI  59.37  1:03.61  2:02.98  +2.95  17.70  11.00
 21  44  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER  59.48  1:03.85  2:03.33  +3.30  19.80  10.00
 22  33  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK  59.12  1:04.32  2:03.44  +3.41  20.45  9.00
Disqualified 1st run
 72  380374 VUKELIC William 1998 CRO
 43  6291574 SALA Tommaso 1995 ITA
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 75  54106 BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon 1992 BOL
 64  561291 GROSELJ Zan 1993 SLO
 63  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 HUN
 62  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO
 61  180567 RASANEN Joonas 1989 FIN
 60  380363 KOLEGA Elias 1996 CRO
 58  6531063 GINNIS AJ 1994 USA
 53  934502 ANKENY Michael 1991 USA
 52  6290183 RONCI Giordano 1992 ITA
 47  380361 RODES Istok 1996 CRO
 46  53889 HIRSCHBUEHL Christian 1990 AUT
 42  380334 VIDOVIC Matej 1993 CRO
 40  290095 BALLERIN Andrea 1989 ITA
 38  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 36  930160 KELLEY Robby 1990 USA
 31  194262 BUFFET Robin 1991 FRA
 30  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR
 28  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton 1985 SWE
 26  501101 BYGGMARK Jens 1985 SWE
 25  201896 STEHLE Dominik 1986 GER
 14  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE
 12  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA
Did not finish 2nd run
 45  934523 ENGEL Mark 1991 USA
 35  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 27  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI
 22  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA
 21  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT
 13  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA
 10  54320 SCHWARZ Marco 1995 AUT
 1  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS
Did not finish 1st run
 74  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri 1991 BLR
 73  750088 RISTEVSKI Antonio 1989 MKD
 71  710353 SLJIVIC Marko 1996 BIH
 70  700868 FALAT Matej 1993 SVK
 69  430633 JASICZEK Michal 1994 POL
 68  60160 ALAERTS Kai 1989 BEL
 67  303696 KONO Kyosuke 1991 JPN
 66  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO
 65  60253 MARCHANT Armand 1997 BEL
 59  194207 THEOLIER Steven 1990 NED
 57  54252 RASCHNER Dominik 1994 AUT
 56  550054 ZVEJNIEKS Kristaps 1992 LAT
 55  502015 JAKOBSEN Kristoffer 1994 SWE
 51  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO
 50  512138 SIMONET Sandro 1995 SUI
 48  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
 41  511908 SCHMIDIGER Reto 1992 SUI
 32  511127 GINI Marc 1984 SUI
 18  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA
 16  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA
 15  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT

 

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Rotator , Top Story
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 status in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.

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