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There have been only two giant slalom winners on the men’s World Cup this winter: Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt and Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen. The duo continued their dominance in the discipline in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia over the weekend, with Kristoffersen taking two victories and Odermatt landing on the podium twice and securing his first World Cup crystal globe in the process.
“I’m super happy,” Kristoffersen said of the weekend. “Super happy that we’re still only two winners in GS this season.”
Kristoffersen has been on a late season tear, winning four of his last five starts with another double victory coming in Garmisch, Germany in February. In Kranjska Gora, the Norwegian relied on his strength and agility to navigate the icy Podkoren course that tripped up many of the pre-race favorites, including French superstar Alexis Pinturault, who couldn’t crack the top 10 in either race.
Watch: Henrik Kristoffersen’s winning run in Kranjska Gora GS #2
“Very good weekend for sure,” the Norwegian said of his late-season form. “We’re skiing really good, so it doesn’t matter if it’s straight, turny, whatever it is. When we ski like this, it’s a pretty good day.”
Still, Krisoffersen’s winning-streak wasn’t enough to hold off his fierce GS rival. Saturday saw a tie for second place with Odermatt and another Norwegian, 21-year-old Lucas Braathen, finishing 0.33 seconds behind Kristoffersen’s blistering pace. The second-place finish clinched the season’s GS title for Odermatt, giving him the first crystal globe of his career. Odermatt has yet to finish off the podium in GS this season and has five victories to his name, including Olympic gold in Beijing last month.
“It’s a big relief and wonderful to have secured the globe two races before the end,” Odermatt said. “Winning a globe is maybe not as emotional as the moment you cross the line and win a race, but when I hold that globe in my hand, I will be proud.” After clinching the season GS title on Saturday, Odermatt finished in third on Sunday, 0.27 seconds behind Kristoffersen in first. Austria’s Stefan Brennsteiner joined the podium in second place.
Watch: Marco Oderrmatt’s globe-winning GS run
After finishing as the runner-up in the GS, super-G, and overall standings in 2021, Odermatt now not only adds the GS title to his name, but is poised to bring home the overall title this season, too. He currently leads those standings by 329 points—a virtually insurmountable margin with only four races left on the calendar.
While no Americans finished on the podium this weekend, it was a weekend of firsts for the U.S. men, with River Radamus scoring his maiden World Cup points at Kranjska Gora and Tommy Ford making his first World Cup start since breaking his leg in January 2021.
Radamus turned heads in the Olympic GS after finishing just off the podium in fourth place, proving that he has the chops to compete with the best in the world. While his skiing this weekend didn’t live up to his standards, he and made some impressive recoveries to finish 16th on Saturday and 25th on Sunday.
“I didn’t feel like I skied up to my ability level on either run, really,” said the 24-year-old on Saturday. “Left too much time out there and skied a little too defensive I think, but I felt like I made some really good recoveries and walking away with points is always a good thing.”
For Ford, it was a welcome return to the World Cup with a 22nd place on Saturday. The Oregonian staged his comeback to elite-level competition at the Olympics last month, but said Kranjska Gora was the ideal venue for him to make his World Cup debut this season.
“Kranjska is a great place to get back at it after not racing World Cup for a while,” he said. “It’s been a battle with the head, definitely some fear involved, but also some joy as well. I just need to lean into the joy part of it more.”
Full results from Kranjska Gora can be found here.
The 2022 World Cup season concludes with World Cup Finals in Courchevel, France March 16-20. While the men’s 2022 super-G and GS crystal globes are already spoken for (the super-G title was claimed by Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde), the best downhillers and slalom specialists will be fighting for the two remaining crystal globes until the bitter end of the 2022 World Cup season.