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Competitions and Events

Top 10 World Cup Moments of the 2019-’20 Season

A look back at the most exciting races of this FIS World Cup season.

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We were robbed. The 2019-’20 FIS Alpine World Cup circuit, which was shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent years thanks to more competitive fields, came to an abrupt end when COVID-19 swept in and put the kibosh on the final races of the season. The epic battles we were promised at the World Cup Finals—between Mikaela Shiffrin and Federica Brignone for the women’s overall title, and between Henrik Kristofferson and Alexis Pinturault for the men’s giant slalom title—never came to fruition, leaving us hanging and wanting more.

But not all was lost. May this look back at the top 10 most exciting moments of the 2019-’20 World Cup season give you some closure and remind you that, despite its disappointing finish, this World Cup season was one exciting ride.

1. Tommy Ford Wins Birds of Prey Giant Slalom

American Tommy Ford made history on Dec. 7 when he won the men’s World Cup GS race at Beaver Creek, the only men’s World Cup event held in the U.S. Ford’s victory marked the first U.S. Ski Team win on the men’s side since January 2017, the first podium on the men’s side since January 2018, and Ford joined Ted Ligety and Bode Miller to become only the third American man to win a World Cup tech race since Phil Mahre in 1983.

2. Mikaela Shiffrin Lands Back-to-Back Wins in Bansko Downhill and Super-G

Mikaela Shiffrin’s World Cup season came to a devastating end before COVID-19 interfered when she was called away from the World Cup due to the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. Until that moment, Shiffrin, the 2019 World Cup Overall Champion, was enjoying yet another highly successful season. While she scored nine podiums this season, arguably her most impressive wins came in the form of back-to-back victories in the Bansko downhill and super-G on Jan. 24 and Jan. 26. Shiffrin’s Bansko downhill victory marked her first since winning the 2017 Lake Louise downhill.

3. Two American Men Crack Top 10 in Kitzbühel 

Since the very beginning of the World Cup, the fabled Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbühel, Austria have separated the boys from the men. Most years, the top 10 is filled by the Austrians, Italians, Swiss, and Norwegians. This year, Americans Travis Ganong and Bryce Bennett joined those elite ranks. On Jan. 24, Ganong finished just 1.15 seconds behind Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud in the super-G to land 10th overall and score his fourth top-10 finish of the season. 

The next day, Bennet went head to head against the fastest downhillers in the world on the infamous Streif course and finished eighth in the Kitzbühel downhill.

4. Newcomer Alice Robinson Bursts onto the World Cup Scene in a Big Way

On Oct. 26, 2019, 17-year-old Alice Robinson from New Zealand wowed the world when she crossed the finish line ahead of defending World Cup Overall and GS Champion Mikaela Shiffrin. Shiffrin, who led Robinson by 0.14 seconds in the first run, was forced to settle for second overall in the end. Robinson’s win at the season-opening women’s giant slalom race marked her first-ever World Cup victory.

5. Mikaela Shiffrin Becomes Best Slalom Racer in History

On Nov. 23 Shiffrin became the most decorated slalom skier in history—male or female—after winning her 41 World Cup slalom victory in Levi, Finland. Stats and records may not be that important to Shiffrin, but she must have enjoyed beating her competition by a whopping 1.78 seconds. Not to mention winning that fourth reindeer.

6. Petra Vlhova Finally Dethrones Mikaela Shiffrin in Zagreb Slalom

The women’s slalom race in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 4 was one for the books as crowds and viewers were treated to an epic battle between Mikaela Shiffrin and her main rival in the slalom discipline, Petra Vlhova from Slovakia. Vlhova, who has had to settle for second place behind Shiffrin too many times to count, finally skied two fast, clean runs to take the win by a resounding 1.31 seconds ahead of Shiffrin.

7. Thomas Dressen Returns from Injury to Win Season-Opening Downhill

Germany’s Thomas Dressen, who sustained a season-ending injury at Beaver Creek last season, returned to the 2019-’20 World Cup circuit ready to make a statement. On Nov. 30, Dressen won the season-opening men’s downhill in Lake Louise by a mere 0.02-second margin over Italian Dominik Paris.

8. Sofia Goggia Returns to the Top of the Podium 

On Dec. 14, 2019, World Cup Downhill Champion Sofia Goggia returned to the top of the podium by winning the women’s St. Moritz super-G. The Italian crossed the finish line with just one pole 0.01 seconds ahead of countrywoman Federica Brignone to deliver one of the closest—and most exciting—races of the women’s World Cup season.

9. Ester Ledecka Wins Lake Louise Downhill

The Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka, who made headlines by coming out of nowhere to win super-G gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, claimed her first-ever World Cup victory in the women’s Lake Louise downhill on Dec. 7. Ledecka, who also won a gold medal in the snowboarding parallel GS event at the 2018 Olympics, is a supremely gifted athlete, and if you’ve never seen her ski race, she’s worth watching just to see a phenomenal display of raw talent.

10. Ryan Cochran Siegle Finishes 5th in Bormio Alpine Combined

Young gun Ryan Cochran Siegle skied to a career-best fifth place in the first FIS Alpine World Cup alpine combined race of the season in Bormio, Italy, on Dec. 29. The event, which combines the times of a super-G run and a slalom run on the same day, provided an opportunity for the American skier to demonstrate his evolving versatility on the tour—not to mention give us a preview of what he’s capable of in the seasons to come. 

Look Back at More 2019-’20 Ski Competitions