ZAGREB, Croatia — Thursday night’s men’s slalom had it all. A blizzard, clear skies, ice, soft snow, and wind — lots of wind — was on tap as Italy’s Manfred Moelgg took his first win in eight years with a combined time of 2:00.03 seconds. Second place went to Germany’s Felix Neureuther, 0.72 seconds back and Norwegian sensation Henrik Kristoffersen rounded out the podium in third, 0.77 seconds off of Moelgg’s pace.

The evening started of with a full-on snowstorm blanketing the slope that provided little visibility for the first 20 or so racers. Then, as if a someone flipped a switch, the snow stopped and skies cleared for the remainder of the opening run. Austria’s Manuel Feller set the pace in run one from bib 21 and started a trend of racers from high bib numbers making their way into the second run. American Mark Engel had a miraculous run, catapulting himself from bib 48 all the way to third, 0.28 seconds behind Feller.

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The wind started whipping during second run inspection and didn’t let up until the last racer kicked out of the gate, creating challenging conditions as the top 30 racers took to the course. In a race that had been very tight up until that point, Neureuther looked to have blown the race wide open as he crossed the line with a healthy advantage and slid comfortably into the leader box. Krisoffersen put up a valiant effort, but slid into second, a slim 0.05 hundredths behind the German. Moelgg took to the course as the fifth fastest racer after run one and skied like he had nothing to lose, taking a commanding lead of 0.72 seconds with just four racers to go.

Heartbreakingly, Engel, after charging his second run and putting himself in position for a top-five finish, crashed in spectacular fashion mere gates from the finish much to the dismay of the thousands of spectators watching. Feller also failed to finish his second run, giving the victory to the Italian.

It was a special night for Moelgg. Winning in front of so many World Cup legends who were in town to commemorate the 50th season of the World Cup provided a special atmosphere all night long.

“It’s incredible,” he said. “It’s awesome, the feeling to win here in Zagreb. It’s the birthday of the World Cup and with all of these guys, Marc Girarelli and Tomba, incredible. It’s been a lot of work in the last two weeks and now we are here in first place; it’s incredible. It was difficult for all the guys, but I stayed focused on my skiing and thought to push hard and to ski fast. That’s the only thing that I thought of until the finish line.”

Neureuther tried his best to not concentrate on the swirling on-course winds and instead focus on his skiing after watching several racers before him struggle with the tough conditions.

“Tough race today,” Neureuther said in the finish. “We had, I think, every condition today; it was snowing, sunshine, windy, hard snow, soft snow, everything in one race. It was crazy. I am very, very happy that it ended that good for me. I watched the other guys at the start and I thought, ‘Ok, its not good for everybody, so you just have to push and don’t care if it’s windy or not,’ and it worked out pretty well for me.”

Kristoffersen continues to chip away at Marcel Hirscher’s lead in the slalom standings and today’s result sets up an exciting month of racing for the two slalom superstars. Although the Norwegian still fancies Hirscher the favorite for the slalom title, fans can rest assured that Kristoffersen won’t give up his slalom globe title with out a fight in the coming months.

“Really happy to be on the podium, for sure, with how everything went down with the conditions, with the wind, everything,” Kristoffersen explained. “Starting the new year with a third place is not bad. I think I got a little bit of wind on the flat there, especially where the banner used to be — it wasn’t there anymore when I was skiing — I got some wind there. I think there were lots of people that got more wind than I did. We are doing an outdoor sport, and we can’t change the weather, unfortunately, so that’s how it is.”

For the Americans, aside from Engel’s heartbreaking crash, David Chodounsky skied a solid second run, but was subject to hands-down the worst wind of the night en route to a 16th place finish.

“It was hard,” he reflected. “This is an outdoor sport, that’s what we do. I just didn’t get good wind today. It was really crazy up there. I went through a hairpin and literally could not see the next gate and I didn’t know where to go. I just gotta shake it off, there’s nothing I can do. I just have to go to the next race and keep firing.”

For Engel, his first time in a World Cup second run was quite the experience given his first run performance. Although crashing out in the second run, the Sugar Bowl native is in good spirits and looking forward to the rest of the season.

“Our whole team has really been skiing very fast and pushing each other,” Engel said. “To me, it felt like normal skiing like we ski in training. When I fell, I probably shouldn’t say (what I was thinking), but I’m smiling now. I was happy that I was going for it and not holding back.”

The remainder of the American squad of Robby Kelley, Michael Ankeny, and AJ Ginnis did not qualify for the second run, but as a whole was a few minor mistakes from making it into the points, which bodes well for the team heading into the remainder of the slalom season.

The men now head to Adelboden, Switzerland for giant slalom and slalom races Jan. 7-8.

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. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  2. Felix Neureuther (GER) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
  3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  4. Daniel Yule (SUI) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  5. Michael Matt (AUT) –Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  6. Marcel Hisrcher (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  7. Dave Ryding (GBR) –Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  8. Luca Aerni (SUI) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  9. Julien Lizeroux (FRA) –Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  10. Stefano Gross (ITA) – Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker

Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationRun 1Run 2Total TimeDiff.FIS PointsWC Points
 1 4 292491MOELGG Manfred1982ITA 58.52 1:01.51 2:00.03 0.00 100.00
 2 5 201702NEUREUTHER Felix1984GER 58.65 1:02.10 2:00.75 +0.72 4.32 80.00
 3 7 422304KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik1994NOR 58.54 1:02.26 2:00.80 +0.77 4.62 60.00
 4 11 511996YULE Daniel1993SUI 58.54 1:02.48 2:01.02 +0.99 5.94 50.00
 5 9 54170MATT Michael1993AUT 58.80 1:02.54 2:01.34 +1.31 7.86 45.00
 6 6 53831HIRSCHER Marcel1989AUT 58.51 1:02.95 2:01.46 +1.43 8.58 40.00
 7 19 220689RYDING Dave1986GBR 59.05 1:02.53 2:01.58 +1.55 9.30 36.00
 8 23 511983AERNI Luca1993SUI 58.91 1:02.81 2:01.72 +1.69 10.14 32.00
 9 8 191459LIZEROUX Julien1979FRA 58.18 1:03.73 2:01.91 +1.88 11.28 29.00
 10 2 293797GROSS Stefano1986ITA 59.41 1:02.68 2:02.09 +2.06 12.36 26.00
 11 17 422082FOSS-SOLEVAAG Sebastian1991NOR 59.39 1:02.95 2:02.34 +2.31 13.86 24.00
 12 3 501017MYHRER Andre1983SWE 59.43 1:03.03 2:02.46 +2.43 14.58 22.00
 13 34 103729READ Erik1991CAN 59.28 1:03.21 2:02.49 +2.46 14.76 20.00
 14 37 320266JUNG Dong-hyun1988KOR 59.12 1:03.50 2:02.62 +2.59 15.54 18.00
 15 24 421860NORDBOTTEN Jonathan1989NOR 59.55 1:03.10 2:02.65 +2.62 15.72 16.00
 16 20 534508CHODOUNSKY David1984USA 59.00 1:03.71 2:02.71 +2.68 16.08 15.00
 17 39 291318TONETTI Riccardo1989ITA 59.67 1:03.05 2:02.72 +2.69 16.14 14.00
 18 29 301709YUASA Naoki1983JPN 59.02 1:03.74 2:02.76 +2.73 16.38 13.00
 19 54 202520HOLZMANN Sebastian1993GER 59.60 1:03.25 2:02.85 +2.82 16.92 12.00
 20 49 511899ROCHAT Marc1992SUI 59.37 1:03.61 2:02.98 +2.95 17.70 11.00
 21 44 202451STRASSER Linus1992GER 59.48 1:03.85 2:03.33 +3.30 19.80 10.00
 22 33 700830ZAMPA Adam1990SVK 59.12 1:04.32 2:03.44 +3.41 20.45 9.00
Disqualified 1st run
 72 380374VUKELIC William1998CRO
 43 6291574SALA Tommaso1995ITA
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 75 54106BREITFUSS KAMMERLANDER Simon1992BOL
 64 561291GROSELJ Zan1993SLO
 63 380290SAMSAL Dalibor1985HUN
 62 380260KOSTELIC Ivica1979CRO
 61 180567RASANEN Joonas1989FIN
 60 380363KOLEGA Elias1996CRO
 58 6531063GINNIS AJ1994USA
 53 934502ANKENY Michael1991USA
 52 6290183RONCI Giordano1992ITA
 47 380361RODES Istok1996CRO
 46 53889HIRSCHBUEHL Christian1990AUT
 42 380334VIDOVIC Matej1993CRO
 40 290095BALLERIN Andrea1989ITA
 38 103865PHILP Trevor1992CAN
 36 930160KELLEY Robby1990USA
 31 194262BUFFET Robin1991FRA
 30 421669HAUGEN Leif Kristian1987NOR
 28 501116LAHDENPERAE Anton1985SWE
 26 501101BYGGMARK Jens1985SWE
 25 201896STEHLE Dominik1986GER
 14 501111HARGIN Mattias1985SWE
 12 290732THALER Patrick1978ITA
Did not finish 2nd run
 45 934523ENGEL Mark1991USA
 35 150644KRYZL Krystof1986CZE
 27 511902ZENHAEUSERN Ramon1992SUI
 22 293098RAZZOLI Giuliano1984ITA
 21 54063FELLER Manuel1992AUT
 13 194364PINTURAULT Alexis1991FRA
 10 54320SCHWARZ Marco1995AUT
 1 480736KHOROSHILOV Alexander1984RUS
Did not finish 1st run
 74 660021DANILOCHKIN Yuri1991BLR
 73 750088RISTEVSKI Antonio1989MKD
 71 710353SLJIVIC Marko1996BIH
 70 700868FALAT Matej1993SVK
 69 430633JASICZEK Michal1994POL
 68 60160ALAERTS Kai1989BEL
 67 303696KONO Kyosuke1991JPN
 66 380335ZUBCIC Filip1993CRO
 65 60253MARCHANT Armand1997BEL
 59 194207THEOLIER Steven1990NED
 57 54252RASCHNER Dominik1994AUT
 56 550054ZVEJNIEKS Kristaps1992LAT
 55 502015JAKOBSEN Kristoffer1994SWE
 51 561322HADALIN Stefan1995SLO
 50 512138SIMONET Sandro1995SUI
 48 481327TRIKHICHEV Pavel1992RUS
 41 511908SCHMIDIGER Reto1992SUI
 32 511127GINI Marc1984SUI
 18 192665GRANGE Jean-Baptiste1984FRA
 16 193967MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor1989FRA
 15 51395DIGRUBER Marc1988AUT