It is one of the most brutal Giant Slalom hills of the tour with its steep and icy terrain. The racing is not pretty and for many it is a case of hanging on and getting down rather than arcing and looking good! This is a gnarly hill and … one that demands focus, attention and concentration on the technique: You let a mistake creep in and it will bit you hard! Marcel Hirscher took the win from Thomas Fanara and Stefan Luitz coming third. First run leader, Alexis Pinturault had to be content with fourth. And the surprise of the day was seeing Mr GS, Ted Ligety, proving that he is a mere mortal by crashing on the first run, from the bib of doom, number 1!
Hirscher battled the hill and while it was not text book racing, it was one of those days where the winner would be the one who made the fewest mistakes. The first run had seen Ligety, Svindal and Miller all depart unceremoniously and while Pinturault lead from Luitz with Fanara and Hirscher tied in third, nothing was assured.
With the high stakes of only thirty making the second run and the conditions requiring attack, this also gave a number of the lower numbers the opportunity to make the flip. Indeed ten of the thirty that made the second run came from starting outside the first thirty starters. While none replicated the result of Carlo Janka in Beaver Creek in the last race, Alex Zingerl from Italy came from bib 59 into 19, Trevor Philip from Canada posted 25th best time from 57. The best of the six racers from the 50’s was Giovanni Borsotti (55) who posted the 11th best time. There were some serious opportunities to be be had.
The second run saw Fanara post a competitive time to take the lead but this was immediately blown away by Hirscher. The half Dutchman racing for Austria recovered from some serious mistakes to put a huge lead in place for the last two racers. Luitz could only manage to take the third place on the podium and with Pinturault still to come, he feared the worst. Was it the pressure or was it just it did not happen for him on the day but the young Frenchman could only place fourth and Hirscher moved into the lead of the GS standings after Ligety was out in the first run.
It may have been nicknamed Val Despair by some but the conditions were the same for all!
As for the racers from the 50’s, Borsotti took 11th for the best result of them.