Swiss and other media, something to which he wasn’t accustomed. He elected to use that
and criticism about his conditioning to drive his performance. “I think I just showed you what
my fitness is,” he said. “I am very relaxed on my skis and I think I proved it today by skiing the
Zeil-S absolutely perfectly.”
Slalom, Jan. 15
When Marcel Hirscher, the winner of the three previous slaloms, was disqualified on the first
run of the Wengen slalom for a straddle he didn’t even know he had committed, the context of the race changed dramatically. Until the slow motion camera revealed the infraction,
Hirscher was indisputably in the lead and had skied to a stunningly large 0.77 of a second
margin. With Hirscher out of the equation, the top three (Mario Matt, Cristian Deville and
Ivica Kostelic) were separated by three-hundredths, and nine men were less than Hirscher’s
margin from first.
“What can I say?” said Hirscher. “It’s business. I skied an awesome run.”
A soft course had created enough problems that 28 skiers — more than half the field — failed
to finish, including (in a reversal of precedent) all of the Americans except Bode Miller. Ted
Ligety and Nolan Kasper both exited four or five gates into the course while Will Brandenburg,
Jimmy Cochran and Colby Granstrom made better, but not successful, progress. The Canadians lost four guys on the first run but had two more — Mike Janyk and Brad Spence — make
“There were some challenging sections,” Kasper said, “but I definitely didn’t think where I
went out today was challenging. I hit a little bump. It’s such a fine line with slalom.”
The line got even thinner for the second run as the sun worked its magic on a couple of sections of the course and not on others.
The all-out charge required in most World Cup slaloms meant huge risk and little reward. The
second run would claim three more victims, and two of the guys who did manage to finish
were so far out they didn’t score points. Only Kostelic managed to find the right formula.
“The upper road was rough,” said Kostelic, who saved his attack for the bottom third of the
course. His charge moved him into the lead, and the two who followed him ran into troubles
early, struggled to get back in front of the course and faded off the podium. In the final listing,
German Fritz Dopfer was “on the lucky side of the hundredths” for third and Swede Andre
Myhrer was in second. Kostelic had matched icon Ingemar Stenmark’s record of three consecutive Wengen slalom wins.
“I know that for many people, even maybe for some skiers this does not mean that much,”
Kostelic said. “But for me ... it is truly a great honor that I was able to accomplish something
that only ‘big’ Ingemar Stenmark was able to do.”
Bumps in the
may have cost Bode
the Wengen win.
Beat Feuz collapsed in a
happy pile by the fence.