The new ski season is just around the corner! But, before it kicks off, we want to make sure you're up to speed with the season's biggest rivalries. Read on for all you need to know before the opening FIS Ski World Cup opens the season in Sölden, Austria, on Oct. 28–29.
Who'll win the women's overall?
The big names are all set to stage a comeback in 2018, but are expected to take it on their terms meaning more of a focus on season highlight races than the overall title. The World Cup campaign is long, which points to a Shiffrin repeat, thanks to her incredible consistency and technical finesse.
The women's speed event contenders to watch
With 77 career World Cup wins, Lindsey Vonn is the undisputed queen of skiing. On her return to the race slopes, Vonn will focus on speed events and surely has her sights on the all-time wins record of 86 victories set by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark. Besides Lara Gut, she'll have to face Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather, who snatched the World Cup Super-G title last year and enters the season with new skis. Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia, the 2017 World and World Cup Downhill champ, is already out of contention, however, after tearing her ACL during training.
Women's tech event title shots
There's no question that the road to glory in the women's technical events will pass through Shiffrin. Barring injury, the American will be a tough nut to crack both in Slalom and Giant Slalom. The 2018 season could see Shiffrin add her first GS globe to the four Slalom trophies she already owns. However, French ace Tessa Worley, who collected all GS honors in 2017, will be a mighty challenger, as well as the multi-talented Italian Sofia Goggia and another skier making a comeback, Eva-Maria Brem. The form of Anna Veith remains a mystery after a prolonged absence, but if she finds her form of old don't count her out.
Who will fight for the men's overall?
After six back-to-back overall World Cup titles, four World Championships and more records than he can count, there is only one thing missing from Marcel Hirscher's resume: an Olympic gold medal. Still nursing a fractured ankle, the Austrian legend only plans to return to racing in December and is likely to forego World Cup points in order to be in shape when it most matters in February.
The potential void at the top may be filled by Frenchman Alexis Pinturault or young Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. All three have the talent to win the crystal globe come March, but much will depend on their ability to collect points in more than two events between October and March.
The men's speed stars to bet on
In the men's speed events, the much-anticipated return of Aksel Lund Svindal will add glamour and excitement to the circuit. In Svindal's absence, his teammate Kjetil Jansrud rose to the challenge and will again be a force to reckon with in 2018, as well as third Norwegian Kilde and Italians Peter Fill and Dominik Paris. Turning 35 in December, Svindal has been plagued by injury and may opt to choose his starts carefully rather than seeking overall World Cup success.
Who will rise to the top in men's tech?
Despite his late season start, Marcel Hirscher will still be the main name to watch in the tech events standings. Absolutely dominant in 2017, the competition will be hard pressed to find an answer to the Austrian's strength. In the Giant Slalom, the introduction of new skis with a shorter radius might help to shuffle the deck more often, as individual athletes adapt to the changed setup. The 2018 season will also see the return of Mr GS, Ted Ligety, after missing a full year, and he'll surely be hungry for success.