Home

Norwegian teen sensation wins Schladming night slalom


Henrik Kristoffersen (GEPA/Harald Steiner)

Henrik Kristoffersen (GEPA/Harald Steiner)

Wiping the smile off Henrik Kristoffersen’s face was not likely. In his first World Cup race starting in the first seed and wearing bib one for the infamous night slalom at Schladming, the 19-year-old Norwegian schooled even the best in the business, including local hero Marcel Hirscher and Germany’s Felix Neueuther and Fritz Dopfer, the second, third and fourth-place finishers, respectively.

The result was not one many of the 50,000 spectators expected when they arrived at the venue earlier in the day, though the lead-up to the top of the first run finish order sure had the oversized stands — built for last season’s World Championships — humming with anticipation.

Neureuther, the ninth fastest first run finisher, was the first to unlock the secrets of the second run, a seemingly straight forward set from his coach, Hannes Wallner. The German star’s run was a clinic. Starting with a .64 of a second margin, he stretched it the entire length of the Planai course for a massive 1.52-second lead. Hirscher staggered out of the start area’s warming structure where he had watched the run of television with his eyes wide in disbelief, knowing his work had just been cut out for him.

Then Dopfer attacked the course in much the same manner and dipped behind his more celebrated teammate by a scant .09.

Manfred Moelgg, Andre Myhrer and Alexis Pinturault started in the next three slots and could not overtake either of the Germans.

When his time arrived, Hirscher took to the course and the stadium vibrated with support. He constructed an amazing lead of .73 of a second before struggling a bit toward the end of the run. It appeared he might have thrown the entire margin away, and an error just above the finish made many wonder if he could even complete the race. But when he crossed the finish the green light displayed the smallest possible margin, just .01. Still in the finish,  he and Neureuther exchanged signals as Neureuther held his forefinger and thumb as close as possible to signify just how close the race had turned out.

But this race was not yet over. Two men, the youngster Henrik Kristoffersen and the old man of the race, first run leader Mario Matt, remained at the start.

The teen started with a .07 margin and quickly lost it. He was more than a half second back at the last interval, but down the final steep into the finish he was exceptional to claim the win by .18. He tossed his ski poles to the side, punched the air and collapsed on the ground where he remained while Matt took to the course. Having collected second place in Kitzbuehel last week, Kristoffersen seemed most pleased with history simply repeating itself.

The assembled multitude, of course, wanted Matt to get the win for Mother Austria, and he was willing. Maybe a little too willing. Perhaps thinking too many gates ahead, he pushed out of the start and barely got into a rhythm before cutting the third turn of the course too direct and straddling the gate. Kristoffersen became a winner in just his 24th World Cup start.

“It’s unbelievable… [to] win my first World Cup race here in Schladming with 45-50,000 spectators is just unbelievable,” said Kristoffersen regarding his victory in the final slalom race before the Sochi Games. “I haven’t thought that much about the Olympics, actually, so I’ve been more focused on the World Cup races. Of course it’s a boost. I kind of get a little bit more pressure now, but I think that’s OK.”

Very okay.

“Henrik has all my admiration, this young boy showed us all how it’s done,” noted Neureuther. “He is a very good skier, he has been constant and solid, and he told me he skied out only seven times in his whole senior career. It wasn’t a huge surprise that he could handle the pressure here in Schladming and win this race.”

While slow motion video replays aired on Universal Sports revealed a potentially questionable passage by Hirscher of the very first gate in the second run, he was not disqualified nor were any protests filed in the required window of time, and the results were validated as official.

“He has brilliant technique and smart skiing. I would almost say that he is one of the leaders of a new generation that we can all learn from,” Hirscher said of Kristoffersen at the press conference following the race.

It was an awful day for the North Americans. The Canadians didn’t advance anyone as far as the second run and the Americans had just David Chodounsky in 22nd at the end of the night. Colby Granstrom more or less survived an ugly mishap in his first second run of the season. Part way down the run he rotated his upper body through a turn, lost pressure on the outside ski, and came to a near stop on course. Then he tried attacking again but lost pressure over the front of his skis, leaned in on the steep, and hipped out. He hiked to finish, but was beyond the time limit needed to secure any World Cup points for his efforts. Ted Ligety straddled in the first run and Bode Miller was disqualified for the second straight leg of slalom.

To view photos from this race click here.

 

The Scoop

Men’s World Cup slalom (night), Schladming, Austria, Jan. 28, 2014

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Kristoffersen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

3 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

4 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/

5 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

6 Hargin, Nordica/Nordica/

7 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

8 Larsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

9 Misssillier, Dynastar/Lange/Look

10 Herbst, Fischer/Fischer

Men’s World Cup slalom (night), Schladming, Austria, Jan. 28, 2014. … The Schladming Night Race. … It is the 24th race of the men’s 2014 World Cup schedule. … The seventh of nine scheduled slaloms. … It is the 43rd World Cup race hosted at Schladming, which has also hosted two World Championships. … Schladming has hosted a mid-week night slalom annually since 1997.

It is the first career World Cup win for Henrik Kristoffersen and fourth career podium, all of them coming this season and all in slalom. … It was just his 24th career World Cup start.

It is the 56th career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … His 11th this season in 13 completed races.

It is the 26th career World Cup podium for Felix Neureuther… his fifth of the season and fourth of the season in slalom.

It is the 12th career scoring result for David Chodounsky… his fourth of the season, all in slalom.

Aksel Lund Svindal (did not race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 897-875 over Marcel Hirscher. … Alexis Pinturault (fifth in race) is third with 714pts. … Ted Ligety (DNF 1st) is fifth overall with 529pts and Bode Miller (DSQ 1st) is seventh with 449pts … Erik Guay (did not race) is top Canadian in 23rd with 261pts.

Hirscher maintains the lead of the slalom standings 420-370 over Felix Neureuther and Henrik Kristoffersen, now tied for second. … David Chodounsky leads the U.S. in 16th place with 93pts. … Michael Janyk leads the Canadians in 28th with 47pts.

Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 3793-2653 over France. … Italy is third with 2104pts. … The U.S. is sixth with 1546 and Canada ninth with 748pts.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  1  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  50.72  56.71  1:47.43  0.00
 2  2  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  50.79  56.82  1:47.61  +0.18  1.04
 3  6  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  51.30  56.32  1:47.62  +0.19  1.10
 4  11  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  51.29  56.42  1:47.71  +0.28  1.62
 5  14  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  51.12  56.64  1:47.76  +0.33  1.90
 6  7  501111 HARGIN Mattias 1985 SWE  50.73  57.65  1:48.38  +0.95  5.48
 7  10  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  51.27  57.72  1:48.99  +1.56  9.00
 8  9  500656 LARSSON Markus 1979 SWE  51.94  57.21  1:49.15  +1.72  9.93
 9  18  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA  52.22  57.05  1:49.27  +1.84  10.62
 10  15  50605 HERBST Reinfried 1978 AUT  51.66  57.64  1:49.30  +1.87  10.79
 11  13  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA  52.53  56.86  1:49.39  +1.96  11.31
 12  26  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS  52.53  57.16  1:49.69  +2.26  13.04
 13  21  293098 RAZZOLI Giuliano 1984 ITA  52.43  57.69  1:50.12  +2.69  15.52
 14  23  501223 BAECK Axel 1987 SWE  52.61  57.52  1:50.13  +2.70  15.58
 15  34  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  52.84  57.30  1:50.14  +2.71  15.64
 16  12  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT  52.59  57.66  1:50.25  +2.82  16.27
 17  22  50624 PRANGER Manfred 1978 AUT  53.04  57.25  1:50.29  +2.86  16.51
 18  32  291145 DEVILLE Cristian 1981 ITA  53.56  56.93  1:50.49  +3.06  17.66
 19  29  501116 LAHDENPERAE Anton 1985 SWE  53.24  57.34  1:50.58  +3.15  18.18
 20  35  421860 NORDBOTTEN Jonathan 1989 NOR  53.60  57.20  1:50.80  +3.37  19.45
 21  8  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO  52.63  58.22  1:50.85  +3.42  19.74
 22  19  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  52.36  58.68  1:51.04  +3.61  20.83
 23  25  560355 VALENCIC Mitja 1978 SLO  52.58  58.58  1:51.16  +3.73  21.53
 24  38  301312 SASAKI Akira 1981 JPN  53.24  58.07  1:51.31  +3.88  22.39
 25  31  422082 SOLEVAAG Sebastian-Foss 1991 NOR  53.42  59.03  1:52.45  +5.02  28.97
 26  48  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA  53.72  59.77  1:53.49  +6.06  34.97
 27  44  930105 GRANSTROM Colby 1990 USA  53.38  1:03.72  1:57.10  +9.67  55.81
Disqualified 1st run
 79  680053 GELASHVILI Jaba 1993 GEO
 33  532431 MILLER Bode 1977 USA
 20  511983 AERNI Luca 1993 SUI
Did not start 1st run
 75  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 80  230189 BONOU Nikos 1986 GRE
 78  410365 BARWOOD Adam 1992 NZL
 74  194262 BUFFET Robin 1991 FRA
 73  380334 VIDOVIC Matej 1993 CRO
 68  303696 KONO Kyosuke 1991 JPN
 67  180567 RASANEN Joonas 1989 FIN
 66  501401 SAXVALL Per 1989 SWE
 64  512014 NIEDERBERGER Bernhard 1993 SUI
 63  6290183 RONCI Giordano 1992 ITA
 62  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI
 58  561148 SKUBE Matic 1988 SLO
 57  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA
 55  511127 GINI Marc 1984 SUI
 54  193347 TISSOT Maxime 1986 FRA
 53  201891 SCHMID Philipp 1986 GER
 52  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 51  511902 ZENHAEUSERN Ramon 1992 SUI
 50  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 49  180703 PALONIEMI Santeri 1993 FIN
 46  220689 RYDING David 1986 GBR
 45  51395 DIGRUBER Marc 1988 AUT
 43  102912 SPENCE Brad 1984 CAN
 41  191459 LIZEROUX Julien 1979 FRA
 40  511996 YULE Daniel 1993 SUI
 39  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 37  532138 KASPER Nolan 1989 USA
 36  102727 STUTZ Paul 1983 CAN
 28  102435 JANYK Michael 1982 CAN
 24  511174 VOGEL Markus 1984 SUI
Did not finish 2nd run
 5  290732 THALER Patrick 1978 ITA
 4  50707 MATT Mario 1979 AUT
 3  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE
Did not finish 1st run
 81  240122 SZEPESI Bertold 1990 HUN
 77  40349 RISHWORTH Mike 1987 AUS
 76  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 72  430633 JASICZEK Michal 1994 POL
 71  550054 ZVEJNIEKS Kristaps 1992 LAT
 70  60160 ALAERTS Kai 1989 BEL
 69  150398 BANK Ondrej 1980 CZE
 65  320266 JUNG Dong-hyun 1988 KOR
 61  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 60  201896 STEHLE Dominik 1986 GER
 59  511908 SCHMIDIGER Reto 1992 SUI
 56  103646 ZAITSOFF Sasha 1990 CAN
 47  102239 COUSINEAU Julien 1981 CAN
 42  194212 THOULE Nicolas 1990 FRA
 30  50981 HOERL Wolfgang 1983 AUT
 27  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT
 17  293797 GROSS Stefano 1986 ITA
 16  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA
On guard: USSA partner Global Rescue readies for Sochi security concernsUVM claims 10th straight Carnival win

Comments

comments



skiracingmag's Latest Youtube Favorite


See more Ski Racing Videos in our Video Vault


Ski Racing Magazine LB1