Sofia Goggia, Federica Brignone, and Marta Bassino swept the GS podium at the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup finals in Aspen. PHOTO: U.S. Ski Team
The first time Aspen hosted the World Cup was in March 1968 and today the historic World Cup Finals culminated back in Colorado with the ladies GS and men’s slalom going off amidst temperatures in the high 50s.
In a powerful display of strength and speed on the women’s course, the Italian women swept the GS podium, led by winner Federica Brignone, who was joined by her teammates Marta Bassino and Sofia Goggia. The Italians had seven racers in the final event, and this was the nation’s second podium sweep—their fist occurring in 1996.
“This one of the best days of my life, being on the podium with these two girls—the Italians—it’s one of the biggest emotions of my life,” said Brignone, whose mother Maria Rosa Quario, a former World Cup racer in the early 1980s, had four World Cup wins and fifteen podiums, all in slalom. “I like this slope because it’s really technical and even the snow was not easy today—it was hard in the morning and salty in the second run, which is really challenging. But the Italian team is really technical and that’s our secret.”
Brignone, who was in the lead entering the second race, was trailed by the only American competitor, Mikaela Shiffrin, who finished sixth.
French skier Tessa Worley stood atop the overall GS podium with the Crystal Globe, joined by Shiffrin in second and Goggia in third. Worley called the entire racing season a dream, saying today she was able to get out of her head and race from the heart.
“When you have your mind full, you don’t ski well or as fast,” she said. “So in the second race, I wanted to clear all that out and think only of one thing and just go for it.”
In the men’s race, the slalom was won by Swede Andre Myhrer, who entered the final race in second position behind Marcel Hirscher, who ultimately finished fourth, leaving him one spot shy of his 50th podium finish. Felix Neureuther of Germany, in second, and Austrian Michael Matt, joined Myhrer on the podium.
“I’m old, so I need a long start to get in shape. It was the same thing last year,” Myhrer, 31, said about his tendency to save his best race for the last of the season. “I like these conditions; it’s easier for me to handle the salty snow compared to aggressive winter snow, so that helps too.”
Hirscher remained the winner of the overall slalom Crystal Globe. At 27, he has won 20 World Cup Slalom races, and is also taking home the overall GS title. Henrik Kristoffersen, who has won three more slalom races this season than Hirscher and was poised to win in Aspen, finished last.