The last men’s Giant Slalom of the year has been won by Marcel Hirscher, the Austrian who has dominated the event all season, and whose Crystal Globe is his fourth in a row. Hirscher didn’t win either run but managed to turn in the lowest overall time at 1 minute, 49.79 seconds. Felix Neureuther of Germany was 0.53 seconds back and Mathieu Faivre of France took third.
The 28 year old Hirscher has also cemented his sixth consecutive overall World Cup title. This was his 45th world cup win, and capped his best year ever in the discipline taking his 22nd career victory in GS. On March 4 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Hirscher won his third GS race of the season and with it secured his 4th GS World Cup title and the 6th overall World Cup title, becoming the only male skier in history to do so. One day later Hirscher finished fourth in the slalom and with it secured his fourth World Cup slalom title.
There simply aren’t enough superlatives to assign to Hirscher’s performances. Perhaps one of his toughest competitors, Felix Neureuther (GER), sums it up best when asked about Hirscher:
“Unbelievable. All the successes speak for themselves. What he does, you’ll only have it once in the history of [ski racing].”
Even though his titles were secured, Marcel Hirscher pushed hard and ended his Giant Slalom season with another win in Aspen.
“I’m a natural racer. I want to compete” Hirscher said. “It isn’t hard for me to motivate myself. If you are a racer then you are a racer. I’m not here for making vacation. It is awesome here but the best vacation is to win races.”
Hirscher had to overcome rapidly rising temperatures as well as competitors on Saturday. The temperature soared into the 60s during the second run, which started at 11:30 a.m. In that second run, the snow turned grippy and slowed the racers down by three to four seconds. Hirscher beat all the top competitors although Florian Eisath of Italy turned in the best second-run time, finishing in 5th for the day.
Hirscher labeled the snow conditions “perfect” and the course work “brilliant,” considering the temperatures.
“They’ve done everything that is possible to make it as fair as possible,” he said.
Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) the only U.S. Team competitor, managed to finish in 18th place after setting the third fastest second run time in his first World Cup Finals appearance. The Oregonian is now looking forward to finishing the season strong at U.S. National Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine.
“It’s been a learning year,” explained Ford. “I’ve been progressing throughout the year and just kind of kept moving through. I think it was a good second run, and I’m psyched for Nationals. It’s funny; It’s really just another race, but it’s cool because it’s a sign of a consistent season, so I am definitely building consistency, but I still got some work to do.”
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TOP TEN MENS GS at ASPEN, CO