ALPINE SKIING Preview: The World Cup season starts – really – in Soelden!

Defending World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)

It’s not even Halloween yet, but the FIS Alpine World Cup starts – as usual – with racing on the Rettenbach Glacier in Soelden (AUT) this weekend.

The women will start with a Giant Slalom on Saturday and the men will follow with another Giant Slalom on Sunday. That means:

∙ Austria’s Marcel Hirscher will be seeking his eighth straight World Cup title, as well as another Giant Slalom seasonal title, which would be his sixth. He’s been untouchable on a season-long basis and he’s still only 29.

In terms of the Giant Slalom, Hirscher dominated the discipline in 2017-18, racking up 720 points in the seven races that were held, winning six! His season-long rival, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, finished second in the World Cup overall and second in the G-S standings with 575 points and France’s Alexis Pinturault was third (575).

∙ Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S., 23, won her second straight overall World Cup title, overwhelming everyone in the Slalom, but also scoring well in the Downhill and the Giant Slalom, where she finished third (481 points). She has won at Soelden, in 2015.

The seasonal Giant Slalom title was won by Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg (582 points), who won the season-opener at Soelden last season. France’s Tessa Worley (490) was second.

One contender who will not be in Soelden will be Olympic Downhill champ Sofia Goggia (ITA), who suffered a right ankle injury during training last week and will be out for a month and a half.

The Soelden races have been the season start for the Alpine World Cup beginning with the 2000-01 season. After this week, the racers will go back to training and the season will start for real with Slaloms in Levi (FIN) on 17-18 November.

Look for results from Soelden here.