WENGEN, Switzerland — It was one surprise after another in the men’s World Cup alpine combined in Wengen, Switzerland, on Friday as the home crowd was treated to a Swiss winner. 22-year-old Niels Hintermann came out of nowhere with bib 51 to take the win with a combined time of 2:56.58 seconds. Joining Hintermann on the podium were two other outsiders as France’s Maxence Muzaton finished in second from bib 32 and Austria’s Frederic Berthold was third from bib 39, 0.26 and 0.35 seconds back, respectively.

With only two alpine combined races this season, Alexis Pinturault of France managed to secure the discipline globe with his 20th-place result combined with his victory in December.

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The day started with the schedule reversed and slalom taking place first due to overnight snowfall and the projected forecast for the rest of the day. Another Swiss racer, Justin Murisier, had the early lead after the slalom run as Hinterman, Muzaton, and Berthold all sat more than three seconds back after their slalom runs in 23rd, 28th, and 22nd, respectively.

It was quite the downhill run in the afternoon as the three eventual podium finishers took advantage of a brief break in the weather to ski themselves onto the podium from seemingly impossible deficits after their slalom portion. After about the tenth starter in the downhill run, the snow began to worsen, and the track slowed to a point where World Cup downhill winners were coming down multiple seconds back of Hintermann, who was the eighth starter in the downhill portion.

For Hintermann, whose previous best World Cup finish was 21st in the 2016 Chamonix downhill, the day was something special, but the young Swiss recognized his stroke of luck to climb on top of the podium.

“I’m not that experienced in winning races, so I have no idea what’s upcoming now,” he explained in the finish. “I felt good during the slalom race, I really liked it. It was tough to drive because it was pretty steep and the rollers were pretty intense … (in the downhill) the weather seemed to make a little turn, lucky for me, after me it started snowing pretty heavy again and now I’m here winning my first World Cup.”

Muzaton admitted that the only reason he was racing the combined in Wengen was to get an extra run on the downhill track ahead of Saturday’s race.

“It’s an amazing day,” the Frenchman said. “I never expected to be on the podium at the end, but we make an outdoor sport and today, conditions were more in my turn, so I’m happy with that. My first goal this season was the downhill. I decided to make this alpine combined only to make some speed turns. It’s pretty amazing.”

For Austria’s Berthold, he also did not fancy his chances to start the day and was just as surprised as his podium-mates at the way the day turned out.

“At first, it was a very difficult slalom in the morning,” said Berthold. “I tried to do a solid run, and I finished 22nd and had a good number for the downhill. The conditions got always worse, and I can’t realize that it ended with me on the podium now.”

The lone American finisher was Bryce Bennett, who just missed the weather window in the downhill run, but walked away with a solid top-10 finish in tenth. The rest of the American contingent of Steven Nyman, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, and Jared Goldberg all did not finish the morning’s slalom portion.

“They did their best to get the race off, it’s definitely challenging conditions right now,” Bennet said after his race. “It started snowing pretty hard about after ten guys, and it definitely made the race interesting. I’m more comfortable with downhill, and you can kind of just do the downhill and see where you stand and then go into the slalom, but with slalom first, you definitely have to perform to get a better start position for the downhill. It’s a little bit more pressure to perform in slalom.”

Also of note was Croatian star and 2011 overall World Cup champion Ivica Kostelic announcing that Friday’s 22nd-place finish will be his last World Cup race. The Croatian has suffered tremendous knee pain in recent years and has flirted with retirement for several seasons before finally deciding to hang up his skis.

The men now race the Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen on Saturday and slalom on Sunday.

Fans can stay up to date on World Cup by  downloading the U.S. Ski Team – Ski Racing app for iOS and Android.


Top 10

  1. Nils Hintermann (SUI) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Maxence Muzaton (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  3. Frederic Berthold (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
  4. Valentin Giraud Moine (FRA) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  5. Nils Mani (SUI) – Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  6. Romed Baumann (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  7. Justin Murisier (SUI) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
  8. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  9. Martin Cater (SLO) – Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  10. Bryce Bennett (USA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  51  512124 HINTERMANN Niels 1995 SUI  2:26.58  0.00  100.00
 2  32  194167 MUZATON Maxence 1990 FRA  2:26.84  +0.26  2.04  80.00
 3  39  53968 BERTHOLD Frederic 1991 AUT  2:26.93  +0.35  2.75  60.00
 4  9  194542 GIRAUD MOINE Valentin 1992 FRA  2:26.96  +0.38  2.98  50.00
 5  24  511847 MANI Nils 1992 SUI  2:27.09  +0.51  4.00  45.00
 6  15  51215 BAUMANN Romed 1986 AUT  2:27.23  +0.65  5.10  40.00
 7  3  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI  2:27.76  +1.18  9.26  36.00
 8  2  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR  2:28.05  +1.47  11.53  32.00
 9  25  561255 CATER Martin 1992 SLO  2:28.14  +1.56  12.24  29.00
 10  18  6530104 BENNETT Bryce 1992 USA  2:28.36  +1.78  13.97  26.00
 11  7  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  2:28.44  +1.86  14.59  24.00
 12  11  511513 CAVIEZEL Mauro 1988 SUI  2:28.51  +1.93  15.14  22.00
 13  35  294904 PANGRAZZI Paolo 1988 ITA  2:28.54  +1.96  15.38  20.00
 14  40  990081 CASSE Mattia 1990 ITA  2:28.60  +2.02  15.85  18.00
 15  12  561217 KOSI Klemen 1991 SLO  2:28.72  +2.14  16.79  16.00
 16  57  180570 ROMAR Andreas 1989 FIN  2:28.93  +2.35  18.44  15.00
 17  5  53980 KRIECHMAYR Vincent 1991 AUT  2:29.07  +2.49  19.54  14.00
 18  6  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  2:29.10  +2.52  19.77  13.00
 19  10  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  2:29.32  +2.74  21.50  12.00
 20  1  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  2:29.36  +2.78  21.81  11.00
 21  20  194298 GIEZENDANNER Blaise 1991 FRA  2:29.38  +2.80  21.97  10.00
 22  22  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO  2:29.68  +3.10  24.32  9.00
 23  33  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE  2:29.74  +3.16  24.79  8.00
 24  13  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK  2:29.80  +3.22  25.26  7.00
 25  19  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE  2:29.97  +3.39  26.60  6.00
 26  41  561214 DEBELAK Tilen 1991 SLO  2:30.07  +3.49  27.38  5.00
 27  4  291459 PARIS Dominik 1989 ITA  2:30.46  +3.88  30.44  4.00
 28  48  512031 BARANDUN Gian Luca 1994 SUI  2:30.48  +3.90  30.60  3.00
 29  31  561322 HADALIN Stefan 1995 SLO  2:30.73  +4.15  32.56  2.00
 30  26  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO  2:31.80  +5.22  40.95  1.00
 31  59  700879 ZAMPA Andreas 1993 SVK  2:32.01  +5.43  42.60
 32  56  380361 RODES Istok 1996 CRO  2:32.98  +6.40  50.21
 32  38  310426 VUKICEVIC Marko 1992 SRB  2:32.98  +6.40  50.21
 34  30  511981 WEBER Ralph 1993 SUI  2:33.00  +6.42  50.37
 35  49  103762 WERRY Tyler 1991 CAN  2:33.20  +6.62  51.94
 36  54  380341 ULLRICH Max 1994 CRO  2:33.85  +7.27  57.04
 37  52  151215 FOREJTEK Filip 1997 CZE  2:34.49  +7.91  62.06
 38  44  110324 VON APPEN Henrik 1994 CHI  2:34.66  +8.08  63.39
 39  50  303758 SUGAI Ryo 1991 JPN  2:35.32  +8.74  68.57
 40  28  200379 SANDER Andreas 1989 GER  2:42.85  +16.27  127.65
Did not start 1st run
 60  501987 MONSEN Felix 1994 SWE
Did not finish 1st run
 58  50742 REICHELT Hannes 1980 AUT
 55  533866 NYMAN Steven 1982 USA
 53  151238 ZABYSTRAN Jan 1998 CZE
 47  430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej 1988 POL
 46  6290985 BUZZI Emanuele 1994 ITA
 45  502004 KOELL Alexander 1990 SWE
 43  104096 THOMPSON Broderick 1994 CAN
 42  202059 FERSTL Josef 1988 GER
 37  54009 WALDER Christian 1991 AUT
 36  561216 KLINE Bostjan 1991 SLO
 34  561310 HROBAT Miha 1995 SLO
 29  53817 FRANZ Max 1989 AUT
 27  202535 DRESSEN Thomas 1993 GER
 23  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA
 21  6530319 COCHRAN-SIEGLE Ryan 1992 USA
 17  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
 16  292455 FILL Peter 1982 ITA
 14  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT
 8  192746 THEAUX Adrien 1984 FRA