The Men’s FIS Alpine World Cup tour returned to Europe this week, with the men racing the technical events in Val d’Isère, France, and the women racing Super G and parallel slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
In France, snowy weather followed the guys from Beaver Creek to the Alps. After the first run, Austrian Marcel Hirscher held a 0.71 second lead over Slovenian Zan Kranjec, with Hirscher’s usual rival, Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, in fourth behind Sweden’s Matts Olsson. The Swede was 0.99 seconds behind Hirscher, and Kristoffersen sat a full 1.20 seconds behind the leader.
Further down the list after run one, Tommy Ford, of Bend, Ore., sat in eleventh, 1.77 seconds off of Hirscher’s time. Coming off his 15th place finish in Beaver Creek last week, Ford was hungry to move up during his second run, which is exactly what he did. His second run time of 50.50 put him into the leader’s chair, knocking down Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt and Italian Riccardo Tonetti.
Tonetti’s dazzling second run, clocked at 50.42, was the fastest time of the day in Val d’Isère. His first run time was nearly two seconds behind Hirscher, however, meaning his combined time would land him in eighth at the end of the day.
Ford’s time in the leader’s chair would last until Switzerland’s Loic Meillard took a 0.15 second combined advantage over the American. Then it was the usual suspects doing the leader’s chair shuffle, ending with France’s Alexis Pinturault in fourth (+1.46), Olsson in third (+1.38), Kritsoffersen second (+1.18), and Hirscher proving to be absolutely dominant again with a final combined time of 1:42.99.
“In my opinion, this is the hardest GS on the World Cup Tour,” Hirscher said in an interview after the race. “Nine years ago it started here with my first victory here, so Val d’Isère has always been good to me.”
“It feels nice,” Ford told U.S. Ski and Snowboard after his second run and his highest career FIS World Cup finish to date. “Honestly, I skied well and I’m just working on the progression. I’ve been consistent from run to run, a little more consistent on my second run from turn to turn…some good solid skiing.”
The only other American to ski a second run was Ted Ligety (Park City), who finished 2.94 seconds behind Hirscher for 25th. Luke Winters (Gresham, Ore.), Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), River Radamus (Edwards, Colo.), and Brian McLaughlin (Waitsfield, Vt.) did not qualify for a second run. Ryan Cochrane-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.) did not finish his first run.