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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Bansko World Cup Races Preview

Updated: Feb 9

The Men's Alpine Ski World Cup will move this weekend to Bansko (Bulgaria). The largest ski resort in the Balkan area organized in 2011 its first Men World Cup events, two years after having hosted the Ladies' tour a week after the 2009 FIS World Championships at Val d’Isère.

Bansko is by far the most well-known ski resort in South-Eastern Europe. Located just 160 kilometers away from Sofia, the contemporary town of Bansko is a unique mixture of old traditions and modern style, where new-built hotels and apartment houses are separated from more than 100-year-old ethnographic houses by just a tiny, stone-paved street. The town center is a listed World Heritage Site.

The ski pistes are located in two main ski centers: Chalin Valog (1100-1600 m) and Shiligarnika (1700-2500 m). They are approximately 10 km above the town on the northern slopes of Pirin Mountain and are easily accessible in an approximately 25-minute ride on the new Gondola lift which starts from Bansko.

Bansko (BUL)

February 10th Giant Slalom / Men 1st run 09:30 / 2nd run 12:30 CET

February 11th Slalom / Men 1st run 09:30 / 2nd run 12:30 CET

  • Start Elevation: 2060 m (Giant Slalom) 1610 (Slalom)

  • Finish Elevation: 1610 m

  • Vertical Drop: 450 m (Giant Slalom) 215 (Slalom)

  • Distance: 1238 m (Giant Slalom) 656 (Slalom)

  • Average slope: 39 %

  • Max. slope: 57 %

  • Min. slope: 20 %

In 2021 Bansko held two Giant Slalom races.

Filip Zubcic won the first one. Mathieu Faivre finished in second position. Third place went to Stefan Brennsteiner who earned his first career World Cup podium.

After finishing in second place in the first Giant Slalom, Mathieu Faivre got back to his winning ways in commanding fashion, topping Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt by 0.75 seconds and teammate Alexis Pinturault by 0.81.

Giant Slalom Preview

Marco Odermatt won the last World Cup Giant Slalom in Schladming to remain undefeated. Manuel Feller finished in second place +0.05 seconds behind Odermatt. Zan Kranjec rounded out the podium 0.29 seconds off the pace.

The 26-year-old Swiss has won every Giant Slalom this season: Val d'Isère, Alta Badia (2), Adelboden, and Schladming. Odermatt is the second male skier to win each of the opening five World Cup Giant Slalom events of a season. Only Ingemar Stenmark (all 10 in 1978-1979) has had a longer winning streak from the beginning of a season in Men's World Cup Giant Slalom.

Odermatt finished on the podium in each of his last 22 starts in World Cup Giant Slalom races (including 17 wins), since 11th place in Lenzerheide on March 20, 2021.

The Swiss superstar has won each of the eight seven men's World Cup Giant Slalom events, since Marco Schwarz was victorious in Palisades Tahoe on February 25, 2023. This is the second-longest winning streak in Giant Slalom, after a run of 14 by Ingemar Stenmark from 1978 to 1980.

Filip Zubcic finished on the Cup podium in Giant Slalom this season two times, in Alta Badia (2nd), and Adelboden (3rd). It's his 12th career podium. He finished in fourth position in Alta Badia and Val d'Isère and in fifth place in Schladming.

Zubcic is in second place in the Giant Slalom standings.

All of Zubcic's Giant Slalom podiums before this season (three wins, five-second places, and one-third place) came in 14 months between January 2020 and March 2021.

Žan Kranjec finished in third position in the last Giant Slalom held in Schladming. It's the third time Zan Kranjec finished in third place this season. He has finished in third position in both Giant Slalom races held in Alta Badia. It's his 14th podium in the World Cup, all in the Giant Salom. The last man to record at least three third-place finishes in the Giant Slalom in a single season was Henrik Kristoffersen (3) in 2015-2016.

Kranjec finished in second place at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Kranjec became the second man representing Slovenia to win an Olympic medal in alpine skiing, after Jure Kosir (bronze in the slalom in 1994). Kranjec recorded two World Cup victories, in the Giant Slalom in Saalbach Hinterglemm (2018) and Adelboden (2020).

Kranjec (2) hopes to equal Jure Kosir (3) on most World Cup victories among men representing Slovenia.

Joan Verdu from Andorra surprisingly finished in third position in Val d'Isère. The 28-year-old took his first World Cup podium and achieved the first-ever podium for Andorra.

With four victories in the European Cup Giant Slalom in Glungezer (twice), on the Reiteralm, and in Oppdal, he won the overall ranking in this discipline in 2021-2022 and became the first athlete from Andorra to secure a fixed starting place in all World Cup Giant Slalom events since the 2022-2023 season. Joan Verdú made his Alpine Ski World Cup debut in Sölden in 2016.

Henrik Kristoffersen finished in second place in the Men's Giant Slalom World Cup standings last season. Kristoffersen finished on the podium of a Giant Slalom event seven times in the 2022-2023 season, but never on the highest step (5 second places and 2 third places).

Kristoffersen has claimed at least one World Cup win in each of the last ten seasons. He can become the second male skier to claim at least one World Cup victory in as many as 11 consecutive seasons, after Alberto Tomba (1987-1988 to 1997-1998).

Kristoffersen's last Giant Slalom World Cup triumph was in Kranjska Gora in March 2022. He has finished in the top eight in 14 of his 16 starts in the discipline since that victory (including five second places and two third places), with a DNF in Courchevel in March 2022 and a ninth place in Schladming as the exceptions.

Slalom Preview

Manuel Feller secured the fourth Austrian victory in the fourth Slalom race of the season in Wengen. It's his fifth World Cup victory and his third one of the season after winning in Gurgl and Adelboden. He finished fifth (Madonna di Campiglio) and fourth (Kitzbühel) in the other races.

The 31-year-old Austrian skier became the first man to win four World Cup Slalom races in a single season since Clément Noël and Daniel Yule both won three events in 2019-2020. Feller can become the first man to win four World Cup Slalom races in a single season since Marcel Hirscher won five in the 2018-2019 winter season.

Austria won only one of the 12 Men's World Cup Slalom races held in Chamonix: a victory by Thomas Sykora in January 1997.

Manuel Feller finished in 4th position in Chamonix and extended his lead in the Slalom World Cup standings to 164 points over Linus Straßer.

Linus Straßer won the last two Slalom races in Kitzbühel and Schladming. He has won nine times in Slalom in the World Cup.

Straßer has won as many World Cup Slalom races in 2024 (2) as in his previous 10 years in the World Cup combined (2, 2014-2023). He is fourth-most among German skiers in Slalom wins behind Felix Neureuther (11), Armin Bittner (7), and Christian Neureuther (6).

The 31-year-old German skier became the first German to achieve the double of Kitzbühel and Schladming. Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen was the last one to achieve the double in 2016.

Before Strasser, the last German skier to record back-to-back Slalom World Cup wins was Armin Bittner, in January 1990.

Five of the seven Men's World Cup Slalom races in the 2023-2024 winter season have been won by Manuel Feller (3) or Linus Straßer (2). The other two were won by Marco Schwarz in Madonna di Campiglio on December 22, 2023, and Daniel Yule last Sunday.

Kristoffer Jakobsen achieved in Kitzbühel his third World Cup Slalom podium. He claimed his previous two podiums in Val d'Isère and Madonna di Campiglio in December 2021.

This season he failed to finish the first run of the three previous Slalom races. He finished in 11th position in the Slalom opener in Gurgl.

The last Swede to claim a slalom World Cup victory was André Myhrer, in Aspen in March 2017.

Daniel Yule makes history with a staggering 29-position jump to claim victory in Chamonix's Slalom. Yule broke the previous Slalom record set by Lucas Braathen when he came from 29th to win in Wengen two years ago. Teammate Loic Meillard finished in second place 0.16 seconds behind Yule.

It's his second season podium and the first win in the discipline for the Swiss Team. Daniel Yule and Loïc Meillard claim the first Swiss 1-2 podium in the Slalom since 1978 with Martial Donnet and Peter Lüscher in Madonna di Campiglio (ITA).

For Yule, it's his 7th World Cup victory.

Atle Lie McGrath DNF in the last Slalom race in Kitzbühel.

He finished in second place behind Feller in two World Cup Slalom races, missing out on the victory by a small margin in Adelboden (+0.02 seconds) and Wengen (+0.10). The last skier to finish second in at least three Slalom

races was Clément Noël (3) in 2020-2021.

He was back on the podium again after recovering from a second ACL operation in February 2023. He claimed his two career World Cup slalom victories in March 2022 (back-to-back wins in Flachau and Courchevel).

Dave Ryding finished in third place in Madonna di Campiglio. It's his 7th podium in the Alpine Ski World Cup. Ryding became in Italy the second-oldest man to record a World Cup Slalom podium finish, after Giuliano Razzoli's third place in Wengen on January 16, 2022, at 37 years and 29 days.

He finished in fourth place in the Opening Slalom in Gurgl, missing the podium by merely 0.01 seconds. 37-year-old Ryding could become the second skier (male or female) to claim a World Cup victory after turning 37. Didier Cuche claimed four Alpine Ski World Cup wins after his 37th birthday in the 2011-2012 season.

He could become the oldest man to record a World Cup Slalom podium finish.

Henrik Kristoffersen finished in second place in the Slalom standings and won the Slalom gold medal at the 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel. Previously the 29-year-old Norwegian had won a bronze medal in 2021 at Cortina d'Ampezzo and at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Henrik Kristoffersen has won the Slalom Crystal Globe three times (2015-2016, 2019-2020, and 2021-2022). He aims to become the fourth male alpine skier to win the Slalom Title more than three times, after Ingemar Stenmark (8), Marcel Hirscher (6), and Alberto Tomba (4).

The Norwegian was four times on the podium last season, twice in the first position: Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Wengen.

Kristoffersen, with 51 podiums, including 23 wins in this discipline, is in fourth position in the ranking of most podiums in Slalom. Only three other men have won more podium finishes in World Cup Slalom events than Kristoffersen: Ingemar Stenmark (81), Marcel Hirscher (65), and Alberto Tomba (57).

Kristoffersen can become this season the second male skier to achieve at least one World Cup victory in 11 consecutive seasons after Alberto Tomba did so from 1987-1988 to 1997-1998.

Clement Noël finished in third place in Chamonix.  It's his third podium of the season and his 23rd World Cup podium in Slalom. Reigning Olympic slalom champion Clément Noël is looking for his first win since he won in Schladming on January 24, 2023.

Loic Meillard reached in Chamonix his first Slalom podium in over a year, just missing by 0.16 seconds what would have been his first World Cup Slalom victory.

Ramon Zenhäusern finished in third place in the Slalom standings. He won the last race of the 2022-2023 winter season in Soldeu, Andorra. It's his third podium and second win of last season. After more than two years, he has won the Slalom event at the "Verte des Houches" piste in Chamonix. He won two Slalom World Cup events in a single season for the first time.

He missed his first Slalom race in 11 years last Sunday in Kitzbühel due to his sore back.

Two-time Junior World Champion Alexander Steen Olsen won a thrilling Slalom at Palisades Tahoe last season. But the 22-year-old Norwegian had to endure a long wait to celebrate his first career World Cup victory. Only after minutes of deliberation and the subsequent disqualification of the AJ Ginnis, -the officials determined the Greek skier straddled a gate-, the Norwegian was the winner.

AJ Ginnis finished second in the Men's slalom World Cup event in Chamonix on February 4th. He can become the first Greek winner of a World Cup event in any Olympic winter sport. The most recent countries to win their first World Cup event in Alpine Skiing both achieved this in the men's Slalom event: Kalle Palander for Finland (Kitzbühel, January 2003) and Dave Ryding for Great Britain (Kitzbühel, January 2022).

He won the Slalom silver medal at the 2023 Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel.

Dominik Raschner recorded a World Cup podium in the Slalom for the first time in Adelboden. Previously two 16th places - in Adelboden and Kitzbühel in 2022 - were his best results in Slalom. His only World Cup podium was in the Parallel discipline in Lech-Zürs in 2021.

Timon Haugan, finished in second position in Schladming to confirm is one of the most consistent Slalom skiers in the World Cup this season. Timon Haugan, 6th in Gurgl, 4th in Madonna di Campiglio, 9th in Adelboden, 9th in Wengen, and 8th in Chamonix is the only skier besides Manuel Feller to have finished inside the Top-10 in all Slalom World Cup races this season except for a DNF in Kitzbühel.


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