Words: Amara McLaughlin
In the giant slalom on the Face de Bellevarde in Val d’Isere on Saturday, two-time World Cup giant slalom and slalom champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria claimed his 20th World Cup victory. Mario Matt rounded out a successful weekend for the Austrians by winning his 14th career slalom on Sunday.
Matt matched former teammate Benjamin Raich’s World Cup slalom record with his win and once again showed the Austrian domination in the technical events on the World Cup circuit.
Matt made his winning runs appear easy. He led the first run and claimed another winning time in his second, but it was not an easy ride despite his finesse. Val d’Isere’s course is notoriously treacherous. The Face de Bellevarde’s icy and steep sections challenged two of the world’s best racers. Neither Bode Miller or Ted Ligety, who shared the podium last weekend at Beaver Creek, Colorado, finished their first runs in Saturday’s giant slalom. And the slalom was no more forgiving on Sunday, as 29 of the 68 racers failed to cross the finish line.
Meanwhile, the women’s super-G and giant slalom races ran at St. Moritz, Switzerland. These courses may not have been technically tricky, despite the fall-away terrain, but the snow conditions left almost one-third of Sunday’s giant slalom field with DNFs.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein, who has consistently made the podium in this season’s races, won Saturday’s super-G.
This win slid Weirather into third place in the overall World Cup standings, behind Lara Gut and Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Last year’s ladies overall World Cup winner, Tina Maze of Slovenia, finished third in Sunday’s giant slalom at St. Moritz, a discipline she has owned in the past.
Tessa Worley of France claimed the victory with a combined time of 2:07.62. But there was little time for Worley to celebrate as she and the other women pack up and move to Chourchevel, France, for tomorrow’s World Cup slalom race and the men head to the downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, on Thursday.