It was another exciting weekend of FIS Alpine World Cup racing. The women’s circuit moved to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for another Super G and a highly-anticipated return of the new parallel slalom event. Big surprise: Mikaela Shiffrin dominated. Again. The men, meanwhile, had to contend with another snowy weekend with difficult racing conditions on the giant slalom course in Val d’Isère, France. It was Austrian Marcel Hirscher who persevered for the win, while American Tommy Ford finished in sixth—a personal best.
Shiffrin Sweeps Up in St. Moritz
After her first ever Super G win in Lake Louise, it seems Mikaela Shiffrin programmed herself to dominate in the speed races from here on out: on Saturday she doubled down to take her second Super G victory in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Skiing another technically clean and aggressive line, the run seemed almost effortless for Shiffrin, who finished 0.28 seconds ahead of Super G frontrunner Lara Gut-Behrami and 0.42 seconds ahead of last year’s winner, Tina Weirather from Liechtenstein.
Then on Sunday, Shiffrin—the queen of slalom—was expected to easily qualify for the season’s first parallel slalom event. And she did, going into the head-to-head rounds as the top qualifier. And though she made quick work of the preliminary rounds, Shiffrin’s final run against Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova was anything but easy. Shiffrin made an uncharacteristic mistake halfway down the course, jeopardizing her narrow lead over Vlhova. Only by firing up the afterburners from the final gate into the finish was Shiffrin able to pull 0.11 seconds ahead of Vlhova to clinch her second parallel slalom victory.
Shiffrin continues to lead the FIS Alpine World Cup overall standings with 689 points—a huge margin over Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin, currently ranked second with 296 points.
Tommy Ford Gains Ground in Val d’Isère
The men on the World Cup circuit are having a tough go of it this season. Inclement weather has gotten in the way of three of their scheduled World Cup races—the season-opening giant slalom in Sölden, Austria had to be canceled, the Birds of Prey downhill proved exceptionally challenging due to fresh snowfall, and this weekend’s giant slalom and slalom races in Val d’Isère, France were also disrupted by new snow. Fighting against the snow and low visibility, it was Austria’s Marcel Hirscher who persevered and finished with the fastest time in Saturday’s giant slalom race, adding to his overall World Cup lead.
American Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) skied an impressive race, finishing in 6th after Run 2, his highest career FIS World Cup finish to date. Other Americans didn’t fare as well. The only other American to qualify for the second run was Ted Ligety, who finished in 25th.
The men did not get a chance to face off in the slalom event scheduled for Sunday, as strong winds forced officials to cancel the race.