Spring was in the air as birds could be heard chirping at the start of the final regular season men’s World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Austrian living legend Marcel Hirscher won his fourth GS of the season with a total time of 2:24.31, 0.46 seconds ahead of Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen in second and 0.67 seconds ahead of another Scandinavian, Sweden’s Matts Olsson, in third.

Warm weather and high cloud cover made for an interesting combination of flat light and soft snow in the first run as Hirscher made easy work of the course en route to setting the pace by nearly a second in the morning. Frenchman Alexis Pinturault failed to finish his first run, leaving the door wide open for Hirscher to finish off yet another GS title. Haugen sat a distant 12th after the first run and Olsson sat in sixth, both well over a second off of the Austrian’s pace heading into the second run.

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Weather worsened in the afternoon as the clouds lowered and rain began to fall, shrouding the top section of the course in fog and soaking fans in the finish. It was a challenge for racer after racer as early start numbers had the advantage in the wet conditions with several racers making large jumps in the standings. Haugen took the lead after his run and watched as racer after racer hemorrhaged time on the lower section of the course as he sat comfortably in the leader’s box. After a long course hold due to the weather made the subsequent racers non-factors until Olsson slid into second, Hirscher then stepped into the gate.

With a massive 1.69 second advantage over Haugen, it seemed improbable that a skier of Hirscher’s caliber would let the win slip through his fingers. Despite losing over a second of his advantage, Hirscher managed to walk away with the win, his fourth consecutive GS globe and fifth of his career, as well as securing a record-setting sixth consecutive overall title.

KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA - MARCH 04: Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway takes 2nd place, Marcel Hirscher of Austria takes 1st place, Matts Olsson of Sweden takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom on March 04, 2017 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom)
Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom

“Well, conditions were definitely not easy, for the fans as well waiting in the rain,” Hirscher said in the finish. “It’s good to have this race in the books, but it was a pretty hard and rough fight this second run. You try your best and every athlete does, but it is not easy, especially with a lot of waiting and the first pitch with the bad visibility but anyway, I’m super, super happy. I think this is the globe in GS, so what a day!”

“If I’m telling the truth, maybe it is a little too much for me right now,” he continued about his overall title. “It’s very emotional and I’m trying right now to do a very professional job, but I’m really, really thankful. I would like to just have three hours to myself after the ceremony to just think about what brought me to this point. It’s just amazing to have six consecutive overall World Cup titles. It is a record where I have to say ‘thank you’ to many, many people, especially to my girlfriend, Laura, to my family, and the team around me. They were amazing.”

Haugen has been on a roll in GS over the past few weeks, and this result only backs up his somewhat surprising bronze-medal performance at World Championships two weeks ago.

“I feel obviously great,” said Haugen. “It’s a career-best result and it was a rough race; I didn’t get the worst light, but I didn’t get the best either. I knew I had to fight hard and just not really think too much about the conditions. I think right now I’m skiing really well and I know that when I push hard, I ski my best. We’ve had these conditions before in the summer in Norway on the glaciers where you can’t see more than a couple of meters ahead of you and it’s raining, so I think it’s bringing back some of the stuff I’ve done when I was little.”

Despite the difficult conditions, Olsson knew that his second run wasn’t going to feel great and he just had to keep pushing on through the fog and rain and trust his abilities.

“The end result is great for me, but it was a really tough race with the weather, with the snow, with everything pretty much but in the end it was great,” Olsson said. “It was raining quite a lot in the second run. With rain and poor visibility, the snow and the bumps, everything together gets real difficult. You know that the second run will not be a good feeling and you just have to fight.”

For the Americans, David Chodounsky and Tim Jitloff finished back-to-back in 21st and 22nd, respectively. Tommy Ford did not finish his second run. Brennan Rubie and Kieffer Christianson did not finish their first runs and Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Hig Roberts did not qualify for the second run. As it stands after Saturday’s race, only Tommy Ford will make the top-25 in the standings cutoff for World Cup finals in Aspen, Colo.

The men now race slalom on Sunday, March 5 in Kranjska Gora to finish off the regular World Cup season before Finals in Aspen.

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. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Leif Kristian Haugen (NOR) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
3. Matts Olsson (SWE) – Head/Head/Head
4. Manuel Feller (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5. Stefan Luitz (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
7. Florian Eisath (ITA) – Blizzard/Tecnica/Marker
8. Elia Zurbriggen (SUI) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
9. Roland Leitinger (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10. Loic Meillard (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look


Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationRun 1Run 2Total TimeDiff.FIS PointsWC Points
 1 7 53831HIRSCHER Marcel1989AUT 1:11.63 1:12.68 2:24.31 0.00 100.00
 2 12 421669HAUGEN Leif Kristian1987NOR 1:13.32 1:11.45 2:24.77 +0.46 3.12 80.00
 3 10 501324OLSSON Matts1988SWE 1:12.94 1:12.04 2:24.98 +0.67 4.55 60.00
 4 18 54063FELLER Manuel1992AUT 1:13.70 1:11.36 2:25.06 +0.75 5.09 50.00
 5 13 202437LUITZ Stefan1992GER 1:13.14 1:12.09 2:25.23 +0.92 6.25 45.00
 5 3 201702NEUREUTHER Felix1984GER 1:12.93 1:12.30 2:25.23 +0.92 6.25 45.00
 7 11 292967EISATH Florian1984ITA 1:13.24 1:12.08 2:25.32 +1.01 6.86 36.00
 8 34 511741ZURBRIGGEN Elia1990SUI 1:13.62 1:11.77 2:25.39 +1.08 7.33 32.00
 9 14 54031LEITINGER Roland1991AUT 1:13.10 1:12.48 2:25.58 +1.27 8.62 29.00
 10 30 512182MEILLARD Loic1996SUI 1:14.29 1:11.32 2:25.61 +1.30 8.83 26.00
 11 2 422304KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik1994NOR 1:12.59 1:13.03 2:25.62 +1.31 8.90 24.00
 12 15 511896MURISIER Justin1992SUI 1:12.73 1:12.90 2:25.63 +1.32 8.96 22.00
 13 4 194495FAIVRE Mathieu1992FRA 1:13.01 1:12.69 2:25.70 +1.39 9.44 20.00
 14 5 193967MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor1989FRA 1:12.86 1:12.95 2:25.81 +1.50 10.19 18.00
 15 17 422139KILDE Aleksander Aamodt1992NOR 1:13.71 1:12.11 2:25.82 +1.51 10.25 16.00
 16 6 51007SCHOERGHOFER Philipp1983AUT 1:13.11 1:12.94 2:26.05 +1.74 11.82 15.00
 17 41 422390MONSEN Marcus1995NOR 1:14.63 1:11.43 2:26.06 +1.75 11.88 14.00
 18 47 54144MEIER Daniel1993AUT 1:14.79 1:11.38 2:26.17 +1.86 12.63 13.00
 19 8 501017MYHRER Andre1983SWE 1:13.67 1:12.51 2:26.18 +1.87 12.70 12.00
 20 24 294890NANI Roberto1988ITA 1:13.80 1:12.51 2:26.31 +2.00 13.58 11.00
 21 28 534508CHODOUNSKY David1984USA 1:14.39 1:12.17 2:26.56 +2.25 15.28 10.00
 22 29 534959JITLOFF Tim1985USA 1:14.70 1:11.96 2:26.66 +2.35 15.96 9.00
 23 9 561244KRANJEC Zan1992SLO 1:14.03 1:12.64 2:26.67 +2.36 16.03 8.00
 24 25 103729READ Erik1991CAN 1:14.13 1:12.76 2:26.89 +2.58 17.52 7.00
 25 32 150644KRYZL Krystof1986CZE 1:14.39 1:12.55 2:26.94 +2.63 17.86 6.00
 26 27 51159NOESIG Christoph1985AUT 1:14.68 1:12.29 2:26.97 +2.66 18.06 5.00
 27 33 194873SARRAZIN Cyprien1994FRA 1:14.36 1:13.90 2:28.26 +3.95 26.82 4.00
 28 38 53985MATHIS Marcel1991AUT 1:14.44 1:14.12 2:28.56 +4.25 28.86 3.00
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 75 942023TAHIRI Albin1989KOS
 74 54106BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon1992BOL
 73 700901HYSKA Martin1994SVK
 72 380363KOLEGA Elias1996CRO
 71 30149SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier1980ARG
 70 491853DEL CAMPO Juan1994ESP
 69 561313DVORNIK Aljaz1995SLO
 66 561291GROSELJ Zan1993SLO
 65 410365BARWOOD Adam1992NZL
 64 92720POPOV Albert1997BUL
 62 561322HADALIN Stefan1995SLO
 59 512039ROULIN Gilles1994SUI
 57 410364FEASEY Willis1992NZL
 55 20398VERDU Joan1995AND
 51 990051BOSCA Giulio Giovanni1990ITA
 50 934566ROBERTS Hig1991USA
 49 6530319COCHRAN-SIEGLE Ryan1992USA
 48 481103ANDRIENKO Aleksander1990RUS
 46 53889HIRSCHBUEHL Christian1990AUT
 45 103676BROWN Phil1991CAN
 44 422073NETELAND Bjoernar1991NOR
 43 6291430MAURBERGER Simon1995ITA
 42 700879ZAMPA Andreas1993SVK
 40 180705PIRINEN Eemeli1993FIN
 39 103865PHILP Trevor1992CAN
 37 481327TRIKHICHEV Pavel1992RUS
 35 180666TORSTI Samu1991FIN
 31 53902MAYER Matthias1990AUT
 22 380335ZUBCIC Filip1993CRO
 19 291318TONETTI Riccardo1989ITA
Did not finish 2nd run
 23 531799FORD Tommy1989USA
 16 292491MOELGG Manfred1982ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 68 561255CATER Martin1992SLO
 67 150743BERNDT Ondrej1988CZE
 63 561310HROBAT Miha1995SLO
 61 502015JAKOBSEN Kristoffer1994SWE
 60 6290440ZINGERLE Alex1992ITA
 58 290095BALLERIN Andrea1989ITA
 56 194457GALEOTTI Greg1992FRA
 54 194935FAVROT Thibaut1994FRA
 53 202451STRASSER Linus1992GER
 52 6530115CHRISTIANSON Kieffer1992USA
 36 934568RUBIE Brennan1991USA
 26 511313JANKA Carlo1986SUI
 21 511852CAVIEZEL Gino1992SUI
 20 192506MISSILLIER Steve1984FRA
 1 194364PINTURAULT Alexis1991FRA