ALPINE SKIING: Norway sweeps Val Gardena speed races

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal

There were familiar faces on the podium of the speed races at Val Gardena (ITA), with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal taking the Super-G on Friday and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde taking the Downgill on Saturday.

For Svindal, 35, it was his 36th World Cup gold medal, 17 of which have come in the Super-G. He loves Val Gardena: it was his sixth victory there.

In the Downhill, Kilde, 26, won his third career World Cup race, but his first since January of 2016. He also loves Val Gardena: he’s now won three medals there, a gold, silver and bronze, in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

The U.S. men also had their best race of the season in the Downhill, with Bryce Bennett in fourth, Steven Nyman in fifth and Travis Ganong sixth.

The skiing is almost non-stop this week, with a Giant Slalom on Sunday and a Parallel Giant Slalom on Monday in Alta Badia (ITA) and then a make-up date for the Slalom that was supposed to be at Val d’Isere (FRA) last week, but will be held with the scheduled Giant Slalom on 19-20 December in Saalbach (AUT).

What does that mean? More points for Austria’s technical-race superstar, Marcel Hirscher. He won the Giant Slalom in Alta Badia on Sunday with a blistering first run of 1:17.61 that was almost a second ahead of everyone else. He beat France’s Thomas Fanara by 2.53 seconds in the final tally.

So far this season, Hirscher has won two of the three Giant Slalom races and the only Slalom. He could end the week with a six-race win streak in the G-S and Slalom. Summaries from Val Gardena and Alta Badia:

FIS Alpine World Cup
Val Gardena (ITA) ~ 14-15 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Super-G: 1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), 1:28.65; 2. Christof Innerhofer (ITA), 1:28.70; 3. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR), 1:28.92; 4. Johan Clarey (FRA), 1:29.30; 5. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR), 1:29.31. Also in the top 25: 24. Travis Ganong (USA), 1:30.10.

Men’s Downhill: 1. Kilde (NOR), 1:56.13; 2. Max Franz (AUT), 1:56.99; 3. Beat Feuz (SUI), 1:57.05; 4. Bryce Bennett (USA), 1:57.11; 5. Steven Nyman (USA), 1:57.14. Also: 6. Ganong (USA), 1:57.18.

FIS Alpine World Cup
Alta Badia (ITA) ~ 16-17 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Giant Slalom: 1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT), 2:32.29; 2. Thomas Fanara (FRA), 2:34.82; 3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA), 2:34.98; 4. Manuel Feller (AUT), 2:35.01; 5. Tommy Ford (USA), 2:35.08. Also in the top 25: 16. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA), 2:36.10; … 24. River Radamus (USA), 2:37.40.