ALPINE SKIING: Hirscher sweeps Adelboden, beats Kristoffersen again

Austria's Marcel Hirscher (Photo: Jonas Ericcsoon via Wikipedia)

You have to have some sympathy for Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen. Just 24, he’s already won a World Cup seasonal Slalom title and been runner-up in the overall World Cup twice in the last three seasons.

But if it weren’t for Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, he would be the king of Alpine Skiing.

Hirscher swept another Giant Slalom-Slalom series this weekend in Adelboden (SUI) for his eighth and ninth victories there and the third time – also in 2012 and 2018 – that he has won both events on the weekend.

He took the Giant Slalom on Saturday, coming back from a 0.12 deficit to Kristoffersen after the first run. Hirscher compiled the fastest second run in the field while Kristoffersen was only fourth on run no. 2 and ended up in second by 0.71.

On Sunday, it was more of the same. Hirscher was third after the first run, behind Marco Schwarz (AUT) and Kristoffersen, but came on to win the second run by 0.30 over France’s 21-year-old Clement Noel, with Kristoffersen fifth-best on the second run and third overall. Noel grabbed the silver, but was a full half-second behind Hirscher, who won his 67th World Cup title and ninth so far this season.

In fact, Hirscher has now won nine of the 20 races held on the World Cup circuit this season. That includes four of the five Slaloms held, four of five Giant Slaloms and the one Parallel Giant Slalom race. Incredible.

The 1-2 finish by Hirscher and Kristoffersen in the Giant Slalom on Saturday is the third time this season and the 15th time they have finished that way over the past six seasons. But Kristoffersen has 12 wins in 1-2 finishes over Hirscher as well. The seasonal log:

  • 2013-14: Kristoffersen over Hirscher: 1 ~ Hirscher d. Kristoffersen: 0
  • 2014-15: Kristoffersen over Hirscher: 1 ~ Hirscher d. Kristoffersen: 0
  • 2015-16: Kristoffersen over Hirscher: 5 ~ Hirscher d. Kristoffersen: 3
  • 2016-17: Kristoffersen over Hirscher: 4 ~ Hirscher d. Kristoffersen: 0
  • 2017-18: Kristoffersen over Hirscher: 1 ~ Hirscher d. Kristoffersen: 9
  • 2018-19: Kristoffersen over Hirscher: 0 ~ Hirscher d. Kristoffersen: 3

And while much is being made about Lindsey Vonn’s chase of the all-time World Cup wins record of 86 by Ingemar Stenmark (SWE) from 1973-89 (Vonn has 82), Hirscher is on pace – at age 29 – to surpass them both. There are eight more Giant Slaloms and Slaloms this season, which could bring Hirscher to 13-15 wins and more than 70 career wins. He won 13 races last season and therefore could get Stenmark’s record in the 2020-21 season, and if he stays healthy, he might challenge the 100 mark for total wins in a season or two thereafter.

That will give American Slalom star Mikaela Shiffrin – currently 23 – something to shoot at in the middle of the next decade!

The men’s Alpine World Cup moves to Wengen (SUI) next week for a Combined, Downhill and Super-G. Summaries from Adelboden:

FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup
Adelboden (SUI) ~ 12-13 January 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Giant Slalom: 1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT), 2:26.54; 2. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR), 2:27.25; 3. Thomas Fanara (FRA), 2:27.58; 4. Alexis Pinturault (FRA), 2:28.10; 5. Zan Kranjec (SLO), 2:28.16. Also in the top 25: 6. Tommy Ford (USA), 2:28.33; … 16. Ted Ligety (USA), 2:30.49.

Men’s Slalom: 1. Hirscher (AUT), 1:47.37; 2. Clement Noel (FRA), 1:47.87; 3. Kristoffersen (NOR), 1:48.08; 4. Pinturault (FRA), 1:48.10; 5. Ramon Zenhaeusern (SUI), 1:48.34.