22 March 2017 — Wrapping up the FIS World Cup Season, you probably know by now that your Alpine Overall Champions are Marcel Hirscher of Austria (again) and Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA (her first)…Hirscher merely had to stay healthy and ski at about 80% of his ability and he still would’ve walked away with the globe. Naturally he skied like the machine he is, grabbing the season championships for the slalom and giant slalom disciplines in the process…Shiffrin was embroiled in an exciting battle with Lara Gut early in the season, but a crash put the Swiss starlet out for the remainder of the campaign. Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec stayed in the overall hunt right up to finals in Aspen, CO but that was more mathematical than a real threat. Stuhec was, however, the breakout star of the season, taking the ladies’ downhill globe, combined globe, and finishing second to Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather in the super G chase. She did score points in every discipline…Shiffrin took home the slalom hardware, and finished second to France’s Tessa Worley in the giant slalom title chase…another skier on the ladies’ side scoring points across the board — well except slalom — was rising Italian star Sophia Goggia. Second to Stuhec in the downhill, third overall, Goggia is suddenly an exciting presence on the circuit. It’s counter-intuitive, but a strong return from Gut could be the best thing for Shiffrin to take a second overall, because Gut, Goggia and Stuhec would then be taking points from each other in the speed disciplines. On the other hand, with the big globe now on the shelf I think we’re going to see more of Mikki in the speed events. She doesn’t strike me as someone who is satisfied with being strictly a tech nerd, and she did score points in every discipline this season. Including downhill…back to the men, I hate to call a super G globe “disappointing,” but it kind of is when you look at where Kjetil Jansrud started; he was gobbling up the competition on the speed slopes but faltered quite a bit after mid season. Regardless, any globe is a big deal, so the Norseman shouldn’t be too disappointed. He certainly has the tools to take the downhill, which went to Italian Peter Fill. Fill never topped the downhill podium this season, just a steady stream of second and third place finishes put the crystal in his hands. Don’t be fooled, Fill won the Hahnenkamm last season so he’s certainly a worthy champion…and that leaves us with men’s combined, which was won by Frenchman Alexis Pinturault…quick review here, most of these names have been top skiers for a few years now, again it is Stuhec and Goggia who really broke out and we’re glad to see these two light up the slopes. That is also why we’re using their photo above…others worth pointing out: Dave Ryding, who skis for Great Britain. No, that’s not a typo. Ryding finished 8th in the men’s slalom standings, which is kind of remarkable…Resi Stiegler — Resi rhymes with crazy — as always coming back from injury, still managed to finish 20th in the ladies’ slalom standings. While that’s really no great shakes, it is worth noting for her perseverance and the joy she brings to the fans no matter where she is or how she performs. If you saw footage of Resi’s crash in Squaw Valley you can see that she’s still a fierce competitor. If you didn’t, here it is, although whoever uploaded this to Youtube could’ve found an adjective other than “Funny”:
…Please. Frustrating for sure, Funny? NO…and one more worth noting, 35-year-old Canadian Erik Guay finished fifth in the downhill standings, he had a victory along the way and he’s another skier who has just suffered from too many injuries…speaking of which, Lindsey Vonn did tally a victory, she’s prepping for the Olympics. Otherwise I’m not sure she’d still be doing this? Could you blame her? Certainly the greatest skier of this generation, she needs to prove NOTHING. But maybe this is why she is the best, “quit” is not part of her vocabulary, regardless of the fact that 99.99% of skiers would hang it up with far fewer setbacks. Except Stiegler, of course…and other Team USA World Cup news, non-alpine: Ashley Caldwell and Jonathon Lillis used quadruple twisting triple flips to take gold medals at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships…Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen skied to a classic team sprint medal at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships. Diggins also took silver in an earlier individual event…and last but not least, the lovely Lindsey Jacobellis won her fifth gold at the recent Snowboardcross World Championships in Spain.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already looking forward to Jeongseon!