ADELBODEN, Switzerland — The race weekend in Adelboden, Switzerland, wrapped up on Sunday as Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen took his second slalom win in a row at the venue with a combined time of 1:54.87 seconds. Italy’s Manfred Moelgg continued his strong slalom skiing this season, landing in second place, albeit a massive 1.83 seconds behind the Norwegian. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher fought his way to a third-place finish, 2.19 seconds off the pace.
About 15 centimeters of fresh snow fell overnight, and course crews scrambled to clear the track in time for the first run start. Skies cleared for the start of the first run, but quickly turned as heavy fog rolled in after only a handful of racers had taken their runs, limiting visibility to just a few gates. Kristoffersen was one such early racer as he set the pace with bib three. Moelgg slid just behind in second with bib five and Hirscher, running sixth, was the first racer to have to deal with the fog and sat a distant sixth, 1.60 seconds back and crossed the line visibly annoyed with his bad luck.
Second run saw the fog clear for the most part, but overcast skies still provided for challenging visibility for the top-30 racers. Hirscher channeled his frustrations from the first run and battled his way to the leader’s box following his second run. The Austrian knocked off the next few racers until Moelgg slipped in front with a solid performance. Not one to hold back, Kristoffersen took control of the race in his second run and showed the field who is the king of slalom at the moment, stretching his lead to an impressive 1.83 seconds for the win.
With Sunday’s result, Kristoffersen and Hirscher are now tied atop the slalom standings with 360 points a piece despite Kristoffersen sitting out the opening slalom in Levi, Finland.
“This was really good,” Kristoffersen said of his performance. “This was really cool. I had a bit of luck with the light in the first run, but I don’t think I had luck with the skiing. In the second run, even though it was tough, I still did really good. Today was an awesome day, for sure. I don’t think you can expect the same as last year, last year was pretty outstanding, but I hope I can ski good, keep skiing the way I did today; as long as I can do that, I’m happy.”
The 34-year-old Moelgg had to put up quite a fight in the second run to hold off a surging Hirsher, but his efforts were not enough to ultimately challenge for the win.
“Tough race,” he said. “The conditions were not so easy. Adelboden is always the same, it’s difficult. Fantastic people here, and I’m very happy about second place and compliments to Henrik, one second eighty, it’s a lot but it was not so easy. He skied very fast in the second run.”
Although Hirscher was frustrated with the conditions he had to deal with in the first run, the Austrian superstar managed to widen his lead in the overall standings and walked away with his 100th and 101st career podium finishes this weekend.
“I think a third place is, for today, absolutely the maximum,” reflected Hirscher. “140 points for this weekend is not too bad, let’s keep on going. Second run was nearly the same for everyone; first run was a big difference between the numbers, but we are outside and this is what you have to deal with. This is skiing, not ice hockey.”
The American contingent continued to find their groove in slalom after a frustrating start to the season as David Chodounsky, Michael Ankeny, and Mark Engel all managed to find the points in 12th, 23rd, and 24th, respectively. Robby Kelley and AJ Ginnis did not qualify for the second run, and Hig Roberts did not finish his first.
“First run was really good, I’m happy with that,” Chodounsky said in the finish. “Second run, not as happy with. I’m actually a little disappointed with today even though it’s my best result of the season. I’ll take it, obviously, I’m happy with that, but there was more left; I left a lot out there. I’m skiing well, I just have to bring it, and we have a lot of slaloms in a row now, which is great, gotta keep the momentum going into next week in Wengen.”
Ankeney has now scored points two years in a row in Adelboden, and took inspiration from the performances of his teammates into today’s race.
“I think seeing that my teammates, Mark Engel and AJ Ginnis, pop in there (in past races) really helped me because we are all really close in training, so it makes it really feasible,” he said.
Engel, after failing to finish in Zagreb after a blazing first run that had him sitting in podium contention, was happy with his result, but hungry for more as the World Cup tour continues.
“I’m pretty stoked to make it down two runs in a row, but I’m still unsatisfied,” Engel admitted. “I think I can do better than that.”
The men now head to Wengen, Switzerland, for downhill, combined, and slalom races Jan. 13-15.
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- Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Manfred Moelgg (ITA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Marcel Hirscher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Alexander Khoroshilov (RUS) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Andre Myhrer (SWE) – Head/Head/Head
- Manuel Feller (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Daniel Yule (SUI) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
- Linus Strasser (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|29||30||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:02.04||58.32||2:00.36||+5.49||34.41||2.00|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|66||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|69||54106||BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon||1992||BOL|
|68||60236||VAN DEN BROECKE Dries||1995||BEL|