here,” he told reporters. “I like these conditions. ... I like these bumpy slopes. [But] It was
not easy. Have you heard the crowd when Ivica was skiing? You could tell who is the real
Hirscher became the fifth men’s winner at Zagreb in five races; and the 11th different skier
to reach a Snow Queen podium. Only Kostelic and Olympic gold medalist Guiliano Razzoli
have made two podiums at the site.
“I hope,” said Kostelic, “in the years to come I will maintain this level and the curse will be
broken. In the last five years others on the podium have changed, while I am still among
The Americans, with four in the final heat, struggled. Will Brandenburg straddled about a
third of the way down the course when the damp snow directed his ski a little too sharply.
Jimmy Cochran skied well before getting caught up just before the finish and crashed, sliding on his belly down the finish pitch. Nolan Kasper skied to survive and dropped back to
finish 25th. Ted Ligety had been the only skier with two digits on his bib to break into the top
six of the first run, and took risks at every given opportunity in the second. The small errors
compounded as he fought down the hill, winding up tied with Canadian Michael Janyk in
14th place and exactly three seconds off Hirscher’s two-run time.
Organizers founded the Snow Queen race in 2005 to give the Croate fans a chance to see
their biggest alpine star ever — three time overall champion Janica Kostelic and Ivica’s big
sister — win a race at home. She never did. Maybe next year they will sing “Lijepa nasa
domovino,” or “Our Beautiful Homeland,” at the awards ceremony.
Snow King Marcel Hirscher is
flanked by his court, second-finishing Felix Neureuther at left
and Ivica Kostelic on the right.