Thursday, March 16, saw the Men’s and Women’s Super-G event and the award for the end-of-season Super-G trophy, the elusive Crystal Globe, for the top-ranked skier in the discipline at the end of the 22/23 World Cup season. Both the World Cup win and the Super-G Crystal Globe went to Switzerland, with Marco Odermatt winning the men’s race and trophy and Lara Gut-Behrami winning the women’s race and trophy.
After the men went first in the Downhill yesterday, the women had the earlier race today, and it promised to be an exciting World Cup Final, as the Crystal Globe was up for grabs for several women, who were all under 50 points of each other. The leader going into Thursday’s race was Elena Curtoni, but the Italian skier had Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami, Austria’s Cornelia Hütter, and Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel nipping at her heels, all with a possibility to win the end of season Crystal Globe.
Gold went to Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami, who put down a confident run with minimal mistakes. The 31-year-old Swiss skier has been having a mixed season but showed on the day that she’s still got it by putting down a run so fast she would have beaten some of the men. Italian Federica Brignone finished 0.22 seconds behind the Swiss in second place, while Ragnhild Mowinckel from Norway finished in third, less than half a second behind the winning Swiss.
Elena Curtoni, unfortunately, came in at a disappointing 10th place. The Italian suffered a nasty-looking crash in the Downhill yesterday and was maybe not on top of her game going into the race. Unfortunately, this also meant that the Italian ski racer dropped to fourth rank in the Super-G, missing out on a crystal medal for second and third place. Instead, the women’s top three ranked Super-G skiers were the same as on the World Cup podium that morning, with Lara Gut-Behrami claiming her fourth Super-G Crystal Globe and Brignone and Mowinckel with a medal for second and third, respectively.
The only US skier in the women’s Super-G was the multi-talented Mikaela Shiffrin, who finished in 14th. While it may not have been an impressive race for Shiffrin, she has two technical disciplines to focus on, with Giant-Slalom and Slalom, her best disciplines, still to come. So the American decided to go for a slightly safer run and chose a less aggressive line on the Super-G race course in Soldeu.
Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer bid farewell to the World Cup circuit on Thursday as the last starter. The 2017 Super-G World Champion was the last starter and skied down wearing Austrian lederhosen and a traditional hunting jacket. Like many ski racers before her, she treated her last run as a fun run and took the time to hug members of the Austrian coaching team on the way down. After a severe crash in 2020, where she tore her ACL and LCL in her left knee, the Austrian never entirely managed to ski at her full potential again, so she decided to retire at the end of this season. Nicole announced her decision to retire just the previous day, which coincidentally was her 34th birthday.
Shortly after the women’s race finished, it was the men’s turn to race. The men’s race for the Super-G Crystal Globe was already decided — Odermatt was unreachable in the lead almost 200 points ahead of second-ranked Kilde — so there should have been a bit less pressure on the men’s Super-G specialists, but you would not have been able to tell on that sunny day in Soldeu.
The piste had held up well from the women, and times were fast. Skiing for Team USA was Ryan Cochran Siegle, who was the second starter and put down a solid run which in the end was enough for fourth place — a career-best for the American. Fifth starter Austria’s Marco Schwarz went into the lead, and Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde could not quite match the speed of the Austrian and finished 0.42 seconds behind Schwarz. However, all eyes were on the ninth starter, legendary Marco Odermatt, who proved once again he was in a league of his own. The Swiss showed a lot of aggression from top to bottom and shot into the lead 0.29 seconds ahead of the Austrian, despite some minor mistakes in the middle of the course.
In the 21/22 season, the Swiss skier and the Giant-Slalom Crystal Globes won it overall. It is Odermatt’s first Super-G Crystal Globe, but he did finish in second place last year. The 25-year-old is dominant this season and currently has 1,942 points in overall standings, 602 points ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. The Swiss are poised to break the record for most points by a male skier in one season, which Austria’s Hermann Maier is holding to date. The Herminator — as he was nicknamed at the time — had won precisely 2,000 points in the 99/00 season. A victory in tomorrow’s Giant-Slalom race would give Odermatt 100 points and break the 23-year-old record. The most points by any alpine skier are held by a woman, Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who dominated the women’s circuit in 12/13 with a total of 2,414 points.