State of Ski Racing 12/2/16

Ok as I said earlier I am sorry that I missed the first couple races of the season. I will now bring you all up to speeed and then I will live ocver all the races this weekend… THERE ARE 6 OF THEM!!

Soelden

In Soelden it was supposed to be business as usual for Mikaela Shiffrin, we expected her to win the opening giant slalom of the year on the treacherous Rettenbach Galcier. Lara Gut however had different plans. Lara Gut looked on a different level than she did last season and on a different level than the whole rest of the field. Gut has really fallen into her role as defending champion. Gone are the days where she is content to ride second place, she is a real champion favorite.

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Lara Gut won the opening GS of the season in Soelden.

On the mens side in the opening GS a similar story line played out, when everyone expected defending Overall champion Marcel Hirscher to walk away with the victory, France’s Alexis Pinturalt got in the way. Pinturalt was able to hold off Hirscher and Hirscher was able to get second.

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Pinturault won the opening GS with Hirscher and Neureuther rounding out the podium

Levi

On the women’s side Mikaela Shiffrin continued her winning ways and won the opening slalom of the year. She reamins what looks like unbeatable in her favorite discipline.

When a reporter for NBC asked her how she manages to be unbeatable, she laughed and humbly said,”Oh trust me, I am not unbeatable.”
Budding slalom phenon Petra Vhlova got a podium finish coming in 3rd place. Petra also had the fastest second run in the opening GS. Vhlova is a great slalom skier and has huge potential but I doubt we will see her challenge for the Overall this season.

As is tradition in Levi the winner gets a reindeer, Shiffrin has one named Rudolph already
this time she named her reindeer Sven, like the reindeer from Frozen she said.

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Mikaela Shiffrin with Sven

The men’s again went as the women’s race did. Hirscher, the slalom phenom in the men’s side of things and the 5x in a row World Champion was back to his winning ways. His only real challenger in the slalom over the last year has been Henrik Kristofferson, he did not compete because of a sponsor dispute, whi

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Hirscher at Levi

ch means he will start the year 100pts behind Hirscher.

Hirscher won the race by over a second and he didn’t know until that morning whether he would race or nt because of an inner ear infection. If this is the Hirscher we will see all year, look out.

Killington

World Cup racing returned to the Eastern United States for the first time since 1978. In the GS Tessa Worley of France took the gold. Lara Gut crashed out in her first run and Mikaela Shiffrin got 5th place. Shiffrin still gained on Gut but a result like that was not what neither of them were looking for.

In Slalom Mikaela Shiffrin won her 10th SL race in a row. She remains on a tear and the battle between her and Gut is heating up right as they head into the first speed weekend in Lake Louise. This weekend will be extra special because for the first time ever, Mikaela Shiffrin will be racing in the DH event. This will certainly help her in her Overall title pursuit and it puts more pressure on Gut.

Mikaela Shiffrin
Shiffrin after winning her 10th straight SL race.

The big story of Killington was the fans. The race attracted one of the highest attendances of a ski race anywhere in the world, 40,000 people showed up to watch the fastest women on skis. This exposes a whole group of people who may never have seen ski racing before to the sport that is so desperate to gain viewers.

I have now caught you up to the current weekend. There will be 6 races as I said this weekend 1 for men and 1 for women on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I also realize I need to do a “Stars of Men’s Skiing” post too and I will do that.

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