ALPINE SKIING: 45th World Championships opens in Are Tuesday

American skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin (courtesy U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association; copyright Reese Brown)

The Alpine skiing world is gathered in Are (SWE) for the start of the 45th FIS World Championships in the famed ski town, with stars galore and what are promised to be the final races for two of the sport’s great stars. First, the schedule:

05 February: Women’s Super-G
06 February: Men’s Super-G
07 February: Women’s Combined
08 February: Women’s Downhill
09 February: Men’s Downhill
10 February: Women’s Downhill
11 February: Men’s Combined
12 February: Mixed Team Event
13 February: Rest day
14 February: Women’s Giant Slalom
15 February: Men’s Giant Slalom
16 February: Women’s Slalom
17 February: Men’s Slalom

Now, the form charts:

Men

Downhill:
2017 World Champs:
1.Beat Feuz (SUI); 2. Erik Guay (CAN); 3. Max Franz (AUT)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR); 2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR); 3. Beat Feuz (SUI)

2019 World Cup:
1. Beat Feuz (SUI: 420); 2. Dominik Paris (ITA: 320); 3. Christof Innerhofer (ITA: 260)

Super-G:
2017 World Champs:
1. Erik Guay (CAN); 2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR); 3. Manuel Osborne-Paradis (CAN)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Matthias Mayer (AUT); 2. Beat Feuz (SUI); 3. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR)

2019 World Cup:
1. Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT: 236); 2. Matthias Mayer (AUT: 233); 3. Dominik Paris (ITA: 230)

Giant Slalom:
2017 World Champs:
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT); 2. Roland Leitinger (AUT); 3. Leif Kristian Haugen (NOR)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT); 2. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR); 3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA)

2019 World Cup:
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT: 540); 2. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR: 302); 3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA: 276)

Slalom:
2017 World Champs:
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT); 2. Manuel Feller (AUT); 3. Felix Neureuther (GER)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Andre Myhrer (SWE); 2. Ramon Zenhausern (SUI); 3. Michael Matt (AUT)

2019 World Cup:
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT: 676); 2. Clement Noel (FRA: 401); 3. Daniel Yule (SUI: 396)

Combined:
2017 World Champs:
1. Luca Aerni (SUI); 2. Marcel Hirscher (AUT); 3. Mauro Caviezel (SUI)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT); 2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA); 3. Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA)

2019 World Cup:
1. Marco Schwarz (AUT: 100); 2. Victor Muffat-Jeandet (FRA: 80); 3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA: 60)

Women

Downhill:
2017 World Champs:
1. Ilka Stuhec (SLO); 2. Stephanie Venier (AUT); 3. Lindsey Vonn (USA)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Sofia Goggia (ITA); 2. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR); 3. Lindsey Vonn (USA)

2019 World Cup:
1. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT: 364); 2. Ramona Sibenhofer (AUT: 346); 3. Ilka Stuhec (SLO: 343)

Super-G:
2017 World Champs:
1. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT); 2. Tina Weirather (LIE); 3. Lara Gut (SUI)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Ester Ledecka (CZE); 2. Anna Veith (AUT); 3. Tina Weirather (LIE)

2019 World Cup:
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA: 300); 2. Tina Weirather (LIE: 268); 3. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT: 253)

Giant Slalom:
2017 World Champs:
1. Tessa Worley (FRA); 2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA); 3. Soffia Goggia (ITA)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA); 2. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR); 3. Federica Brignone (ITA)

2019 World Cup:
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA; 455); 2. Tessa Worley (FRA: 374); 3. Petra Vlhova (SVK: 318)

Slalom:
2017 World Champs:
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA); 2. Wendy Holdener (SUI); 3. Frida Hansdotter (SWE)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Frida Hansdotter (SWE); 2. Wendy Holdener (SUI); 3. Katharina Gallhuber (AUT)

2019 World Cup:
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA: 860); 2. Petra Vlhova (SVK: 725); 3. Wendy Holdener (SUI: 485)

Combined:
2017 World Champs:
1. Wendy Holdener (SUI); 2. Michelle Gisin (SUI); 3. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT)

2018 Winter Games:
1. Michelle Gisin (SUI); 2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA); 3. Wendy Holdener (SUI)

2019 World Cup:
None held yet!

The storylines start with two stars who are retiring and two who could make history:

(1) Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. will compete in the Downhill and Super-G in what she says will be her last races. The all-time World Cup women’s leader at 82 wins, she owns seven World Championships medals (2-3-2), including golds in the 2009 Downhill and Super-G. Injuries have taken their toll, and at 34, she wants to be able to walk by herself into old age.

(2) Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, the reigning Olympic Champion in the Downhill, has also announced his retirement after the Worlds. He’s 36 and owns eight World Championships medals, including five titles in the Downhill (2007 & 2013) and wins in the Combined in 2009 and 2011, plus a Giant Slalom win in 2007, at Are!

(3) American Mikaela Shiffrin is on her way to he third straight overall World Cup title – at age 23 – and is already a three-time World Champion in the Slalom. She also won a silver in the 2017 Worlds Giant Slalom and is a threat in Are in the Super-G, Giant Slalom and Slalom – all of which she leads in the World Cup standings – and the Combined. She says she has very specific goals for this World Championships, but she is not saying what they are. Her schedule could be impacted by any weather delays, as was her program for the 2018 Winter Games; her most precious commodity over the next two weeks will be rest.

(4) Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is also on his way to another World Cup overall title, which would be his eighth! He owns nine World Championships medals, including six wins, with two each in 2013 (Slalom, Team Event), 2015 (Combined, Team Event) and 2017 (Giant Slalom and Slalom). He has dominated the current World Cup season and leads in the Giant Slalom and Slalom. How many events will he attempt?

NBC has extensive coverage of the Alpine Worlds on the NBC Olympic Channel, NBCSN and NBC on the weekends; the schedule is here. Look for results here.