The 2016 World Cup season officially came to a close on Sunday in St. Moritz, Switzerland, as Sweden’s Andre Myhrer wowed spectators and took the win with a total time of 1:43.75 seconds. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher had another spectacular second run to claim second place, 0.14 seconds back. Norway’s Sebastian Foss-Solevaag took third, 0.36 seconds off of Myhrer’s pace.
First run action saw a shake-up in the usual hierarchy of World Cup slalom as a trio of newcomers to the top ranks held the quickest spots after the morning’s run. Switzerland’s Daniel Yule held the lead with Austria’s Marco Schwarz (who was accidentally reported as disqualified between runs before it was overturned) and Foss-Solevaag in second and third, respectively. Myhrer sat fourth and Hirscher in fifth. Standings leader Henrik Kristoffersen had been battling an illness all week and was in 15th place after the first run.
Second run saw extremely warm temperatures on course as deteriorating conditions played a significant role in shaking up the final standings. After Myhrer and Hirscher both battled their way down the fast second run set, it was up to the youngsters left at the start to determine how the day would end. Foss-Solevaag skied solidly and aggressively but was unable to match the pace of the two veterans and slipped to third. Schwarz and Yule proved no match for Myhrer’s pace as well with Schwarz slipping to fourth and Yule dropping all the way back to 11th, giving the big Swede his first World Cup victory since 2012.
“It’s a totally amazing feeling,” Myhrer said. “It was a tough start to the season for me and I had to really work to come in and make some good results. I had a feeling that it turned a little bit in Japan with the second place there and then in Stockholm. After that I’ve just been skiing really good and to finish like this was perfect.”
Hirscher’s runner-up finish puts an exclamation mark on an incredible season for the Austrian as he claimed his fifth consecutive overall title on Sunday by an impressive 497 points over Kristoffersen. Hirscher had already locked down the overall title in Kranjska Gora last month, but still skied like he had something to prove on Sunday. Perhaps Kristoffersen claiming the slalom title with one race to go had something to do with Hirscher’s on-course tenacity on Sunday.
“It’s been a really great season for sure,” explained Hirscher. “Before this season started, statistically, I had no chance to win the fifth globe in a row. I never thought that it was possible. But after a really good start into the season I thought, ‘OK, let’s go for it.’ I gave my best. I had lucky moments. I had amazing moments. I had frustrating moments. Everything was in this season and that was for sure something special.”
Foss-Solevaag claimed his second career World Cup podium to go with another third place in last season’s Zagreb slalom. Like Myhrer, he also had to deal with some early season troubles.
“I had a little struggle at the beginning of the season with two DNFs,” Foss-Solevaag said. “My skiing has been good, but my ranking has fallen down so I was in a little bit of a pushed situation there with my ranking and start lists so I had to put that together in January and now I am up on top. It was good to finish with a podium.”
Although Kristoffersen ultimately finished a disappointing 19th on Sunday, he was still able to collect his first career discipline crystal globe after the race. The Attacking Viking had nothing short of a remarkable season, taking six slalom wins, including four straight in January. Look for him to further perfect his slalom form in coming years as well as improve his GS, which has the speed to challenge for wins as well.
“This is a huge thing,” Kristoffersen said in the finish. “The battle with especially Marcel this year was unbelievable. There were some close races there but I managed to pull it off. Next year, I promise to hold my energy for two races longer. I’ve been sick so that wasn’t easy. This season in general has been amazing. I’ve taken a lot of new steps and one big new step.”
“It’s lighter than I expected,” he added of his new hardware. “Maybe I’m getting stronger, I don’t know! It’s pretty cool.”
Lone American David Chodounsky finished a disappointing 21st after struggling with the second run conditions, but now looks forward to defending his national slalom title next week in Sun Valley, Idaho.
World Cup action may have come to a close this season, but many of the world’s best will now head back home and compete in their respective national championship races. SkiRacing.com will be on hand for full coverage of the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, March 22-27.
By Hank McKee
1. Myhrer, Head/Head/Head
2. Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3. Foss-Solevaag, Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
4. Lizeroux, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4. Schwarz, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
6. Feller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7. Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8. Khoroshilov, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9. Thaler, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10. Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Men’s World Cup slalom, St. Moritz, Switzerland, March 20, 2016. … It is the 44th and final race of the men’s season. … The 10th of 11 scheduled slaloms with one cancellation (Levi Nov. 15). … It is just the third World Cup slalom hosted by St. Moritz, the previous two both won by Americans (Mikaela Shiffrin March 19, 2016 and Tyler Palmer Jan. 17, 1971).
- It is the sixth career World Cup win for Andre Myhrer. … His first since Nov. 11, 2012.
- It is the 91st career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher. … His 19th of the season and eighth of the season in slalom.
- It is the second career World Cup podium for Sebastian Foss-Solevaag. … He was also third in the Zagreb slalom Jan. 6, 2015.
- The only North American in the race is David Chodounsky in 21st place, a non-scoring position in finals.
- Hirscher wins the overall title (his fifth) by 497pts over Henrik Kristofferesen (19th in race). Alexis Pinturault is third overall with 1200pts, 595 behind Hirscher.
- Kristofferesen wins the slalom title (his first) 811-780 over Hirscher. … Felix Neureuther (tenth in race) is third in slalom with 389pts.
- Austria wins the men’s Nations Cup (its 24th in a row) 5804-5603 over France. … Norway is third with 4833pts. … The U.S. is seventh at 2154 and Canada ninth at 744pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|