It is time for the season finale in St Moritz, Switzerland, the host of next year’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships! Here’s a brief overview of what’s at stake in the Swiss Alps this week…
1. Fifth time’s the charm for Marcel Hirscher
The big question at the start of the season was whether Marcel Hirscher would clinch the unprecedented fifth consecutive overall title. And that he did – and how! Hirscher already secured the large crystal globe with two weeks of the season remaining.
For the St Moritz week, the only question left is how big his winning margin will be. Going into the finals, Hirscher is leading with 353 points and it looks as if this fifth victory will be the greatest of them all! Hirscher has also confirmed his third giant slalom globe. We already knew it and now there’s no doubt: Marcel Hirscher is a living ski legend!
2. Lara is ‘gut’ over Lindsey
Coming into the season, the ladies’ field was wide open with injuries and retirements wreaking havoc. As it turns out, the race for the overall became a duel between the superstar Lindsey Vonn and the Swiss talent Lara Gut. Another unfortunate injury forced Vonn to rescind the fight and Gut made it all clear for her first title victory during the penultimate weekend of World Cup racing.
The good news for speed queen Vonn was that her win in the downhill standings brought her the career globe #20, a new skiing world record, male or female.
Vonn also holds the lead in the ladies’ super-G standings but will likely have to surrender the title to Gut, who trails her by 19 points and only needs to finish in the top 13 to steal the trophy in Vonn’s absence.
3. Slalom King Henrik The First
This season’s slalom slopes played host to another historical fight. After Marcel Hirscher had held a tight reign on the slalom title for the past three years, it was the Norwegian youngster Henrik Kristoffersen who won the 2016 globe. En route to his first crystal, Kristoffersen scored six wins and became Hirscher’s greatest challenger even for the overall. This duel is clearly the one to watch; stay tuned for more chapters to the Hirscher – Kristoffersen saga!
4. Watch out for Viktoria
One of the most exciting races still open is the ladies’ giant slalom where Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg is fighting for her third title. She’s sitting in second place, 52 points behind Austria’s Eva-Maria Brem and the decision is down to the season’s final race on Sunday. Viktoria has scored first or second in the last three GS races and is poised to give it her all in the season finale under the Engadine sun! Meanwhile, Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter has confirmed her first career globe in the ladies’ slalom.
5. Men’s speed: The metier of Attacking Vikings
The only other globes still up for grabs are the men’s downhill and super-G. Thanks to his early season domination, Norway’s speed king Aksel Lund Svindal still leads the men’s downhill standings but since he’s out with injury, he’s likely to be overtaken by one of the quartet including Italy’s Peter Fill and Dominik Paris, his team-mate Kjetil Jansrud and France’s Adrien Theaux. The men’s super-G standings are led by another one of Svindal’s Attacking Viking mates, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde who still faces a challenge from Jansrud and Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr.