KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia – Austrian skier Marco Schwarz locked up the men’s World Cup slalom title Sunday, finishing seventh in a race won by Clément Noël.

The result gave Schwarz an insurmountable lead of 122 points over his only remaining challenger in the discipline standings, Ramon Zenhäusern, with only next week’s slalom at the finals in Switzerland coming up.

The Swiss skier finished Sunday’s race in third, but needed a win to retain his chance of overtaking Schwarz in the final race.

“This is the nicest seventh place of my career,” Schwarz said.

Noël defied heavy snowfall to hold on to his first-run lead and beat Victor Muffat-Jeandet by 0.62 seconds for a French 1-2 finish.

“It was really, really tough, the second run, so bumpy. I don’t know how but I just managed to ski fast, the second run also,” Noël said after his eighth career win and second of the season.

“I’m more than happy to share the podium with Victor. This is his first podium in slalom. A great day for us,” Noël added.

Henrik Kristoffersen, who was second after the opening run, dropped to fifth.

Alexis Pinturault (FRA).

Overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault straddled a gate early in his second run. The Frenchman failed to increase his 31-point lead over Marco Odermatt in the overall standings. The Swiss skier doesn’t compete in slaloms.

Schwarz had not won a World Cup slalom before this season but triumphed in two of the circuit’s classic races, in Adelboden and Schladming, and racked up five more podium results.

Schwarz succeeded Kristoffersen, who won the title last year, the first season after the retirement of Marcel Hirscher. The record eight-time overall champion from Austria won the slalom globe six times in total.

“It’s cool to be the successor of those two. This is a childhood dream come true,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz’ triumph came less than four weeks after he won gold in the combined event at the world championships.

Marco Schwarz (AUT).

“A world title is also something really special but the slalom globe is a reward for your performance in an entire season. And my performance was really, really cool this season,” he said.

Conditions on the Podkoren course rapidly deteriorated during both runs, with the increasing snowfall causing lots of ruts around the gates.

Only 42 of the 67 starters finished their opening run and a deficit of four seconds was still good enough to qualify for the final run. None of the four starting Americans finished.

Visibility was also an issue and many skiers wiped snow off their goggles after finishing, suggesting their ability to see had been hampered.

The World Cup finals in Lenzerheide start Wednesday with the downhills for men and women.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more. 

Men’s World Cup – Slalom – Kranjska Gora – March 14, 2021

9 COMMENTS

  1. Another AP approximation…
    One American did finish the first run: Alex Leever. Although the result was underwhelming (42nd and last, 29.73 s behind the first-run winner), at least the willingness to hike and work through major mistakes in order to gain experience can be recognized.

    • That is one way to look at it and I appreciate your silver lining. Now we must consider that the current state of the US slalom team is directly and undeniably tied to the lack of meaningful leadership within US Skiing. And lest we forget Mr.Shaw’s clear and concise words around the one pathway to the team that goes through the D team not college. But at least Mr Shaw can work hard to match Marolt’s outsized pay package during his “leadership” of the team

  2. Bad luck for the US Men, the conditions could not have been worse for them with their high start numbers. Their course looked like it was set thru a mogul field with 6 inches of fresh snow, and fog. It was snowing so hard that they could hardly keep the camera lenses clear. Still, Seymour and Winters were relatively fast, considering that it was literally impossible to qualify for the second run, when starting with a bib in the high 40s. The biggest disappointment must be Pinturault`s. He gambled and failed to finish. Its ironic that in the year, when he is so close to winning the Overall, that his own team mates are some of his main competition in SL and GS.

    • PS. Despite the impossible course conditions, Seymour did show a quickness and balance staying on the line, that is similar to some of the better WC SL racers

  3. In reality the USST should be dominating the World Cup, but when we make ski racing so expensive (i.e. $60K ski academies only the very wealthy can afford), then we’re eliminating 90% of our talent pool. If the USST really wants to become “Best in the World” we need to focus on making the sport more affordable and accessible at the “Club Level” to help grow our talent pool. It’s just common sense, but unfortunately the “grown ups” are ruining the sport for our kids. The good news is we don’t need a large mountain or fancy facilities to develop great slalom and GS skiers. They’re only plastics poles drilled into the snow, so what’s the big deal???? We can do better!

    • You nailed it and this is the same hurdle that US Skiing has comfortably ignored since the 80s. Take a hard look at the current Board that is responsible for the trajectory of US Skiing and you’ll see that money not the best athletes remains the driving force so don’t expect any real change save for the color of the jackets the privileged athletes receive when their parents write the check to join the team…yes, there are rare exceptions but one would be hard pressed to argue with what is important to the organization and it isn’t broader/better results. Be thankful for the outliers as they keep the dream alive! The dream you ask? That is the dream of raising money for the machine!

      • Try being a club junior athlete who wants to race for an NCAA program? The college programs want to be the feeders to the USST but they won’t even talk with a club athlete or they’ll tell them to PG at an Academy for a year or two. Collegiate racing should be an avenue to lower your FIS points, but NCAA coaches will only recruit kids with low FIS points. Meaning they will only recruit academy athletes and the club kids who may have potential are left on the sidelines. It’s got to be the dumbest system in college sports.

        • It only gets better with certain college teams filled with athletes and their own private coaches paid for by the parents. Yes, even college racing is a big money sport. This leads me to wonder who will apply for the CU job with the Rokos retirement?

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