It was an eventful week for the FIS World Cup circuit, both in Alpine as well as Snowboarding. We have recapped the highlights for SnowBrains readers.
At the beginning of the week, all eyes were on the Women’s Slalom event in Flachau, Austria. After Mikaela Shiffrin had won her 82nd World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, the week prior, everyone was wondering if the American could dethrone Lindsey Vonn and take the title of most World Cup victories for a female alpine skier. Mikaela did race her heart out but was pipped by Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who won her first season victory. Petra Vlhova said in an interview with FIS: “I am proud I could beat Mikaela because this season she is really strong and if you want to beat her you need to ski above her and perfect, not good. I guess if you beat Mikaela it means you are really strong.” Germany’s Lena Dürr came in third place, which meant the podium consisted of the exact same three ladies as in Kranjska Gora, albeit in a slightly different formation. Team USA skier Paula Moltzan came a strong 5th.
Just a little bit further afield in Austria, the snowboarders were sending it at the FIS World Cup Big Air in Kreischberg. The men’s podium was dominated by Japan with podiums going to Taiga Hasegawa, Ryoma Kimata, and Kira Kimura. US Boarders Chris Corning and Dusty Henricksen came in 7th and 10th place respectively. The women’s event was won by Austria’s Anna Gasser, 2nd place went to Zoi Sadowski Synnott from New Zealand while Japan’s Kokomo Murase came in 3rd. This also marked the last Big Air event of the season, and the crystal globe went to Australian young gun Valentino Guseli while American Chris Corning came in second. The women’s season trophy for Big Air went to Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi.
Another mountain range across in St. Anton, the Women’s speed specialists were battling it out in two Super-G events. The planned Downhill had to be changed to a second Super-G due to heavy snowfall, which made the higher start, required for the slightly longer Downhill course, impossible. In the first Super-G event Italy’s Frederica Brignone took the win ahead of the Swiss duo Joana Hählen in second and Lara Gut-Behrami in third. The following day the second Super-G event ended with Lara Gut-Behrami in first place, while Italian duo Frederica Brignone and Marta Bassino came in second and third respectively. It was a tight and difficult race, with 17 skiers unable to finish the course. The “Queen of Speed”, Sofia Goggia, who had broken her hand in St. Moritz, unfortunately, crashed during the first event at the famously tricky “Eisfall”, but thankfully sustained no further injuries. She did not start the second day out of precaution.
Then for the last event of the week, we head across to neighboring Switzerland, where in the resort of Wengen the Men’s speed events of Men’s Super-G and Men’s Downhill were held, as well as a Men’s Slalom event on the famous Lauberhorn course. The Super-G was won by Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who dominated the course, leaving only 2nd and 3rd for the Swiss Stefan Rogentin and Marco Odermatt on their home course. US skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle came an impressive 6th. The following day for the Downhill Kilde once again proved his dominance in speed events with another victory a whole 0.88 seconds before Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt. Italy’s Mattia Casse came in 3rd, making it the 32-year-old’s only second career podium. It was also Beat Freuz’s ski racing farewell and the Swiss ski racer finished in 5th. It wasn’t enough for a podium on his last ever run, but the predominantly Swiss crowd cheered this ski legend on as if he had won. There were fireworks and flags flying as the 7-time podium finisher took a bow in front of his loyal fans. Cochran-Siegle, unfortunately, recorded a DNF. The weekend ended with the Slalom event. The snow was dumping and the race was tricky, resulting in 32 DNFs. The race was heavily dominated by the Norwegians, with 1st and 3rd place going to Henrik Kristofferson and Lucas Braathen, while Switzerland’s Loic Meillard squeezed in 2nd just 0.2 seconds behind Kristofferson.
Mikaela Shiffrin is firmly in the lead for the 22/23 Overall Alpine Skiing World Cup with 1,195 points, while Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt is also more than 300 points ahead of Kilde with 1,186 points. The Men’s circuit moves to the famous Streif course in Kitzbühel, Austria, where two Downhill races and a Slalom event will be held. The Women’s circuit continues in Italy with two Downhill events and Super-G event at Cortina d’Ampezzo. One of those Downhill events has been scheduled to replace the canceled St. Anton race from last week. It is unclear at this stage if Mikaela Shiffrin will compete at the speed events in Cortina, or will focus on her core strength, Giant Slalom and Slalom at Kronplatz, Italy, the following week.
Make sure to tune in to the legendary Hahnenkamm race! It is always the highlight of the Men’s Alpine season.