Levi's Slalom World Cup Opening Races Preview
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Finland’s leading ski resort kicks off the Women’s Slalom World Cup again on the 19th - 20th of November. The best female slalom skiers in the Alpine Ski World Cup will compete again on the Levi Black slope.
In 2004, the first Alpine World Cup race took place in Levi, a premiere on Finnish soil. Since then, the slalom competitions in the province of Lapland have been a fixed point on the FIS racing calendar becoming the northernmost alpine competition of the Alpine Ski World Cup.
Last year, like in 2020, Petra Vlhova opened the season with back-to-back victories in Levi. Four out of Four runs have been won by the Slovakian star who increased the fluidity and consistency gate after gate.
Vlhova also won the Levi slalom in 2017. Only Petra Vlhova (5), Mikaela Shiffrin (4), Maria Höfl-Riesch (3), and Marlies Schild (2) have won multiple women's World Cup slalom events in Levi.
Vlhová's five Slalom victories in Levi are the most in this discipline at a specific venue, alongside Anja Pärson's five wins in Maribor and Mikaela Shiffrin's five victories in Killington.
Only Lindsey Vonn (14 Downhill in Lake Louise, 6 Downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo, 6 Super-G in Cortina d'Ampezzo) and Annemarie Moser-Pröll (7 Downhill in Pfronten) have recorded more than five World Cup wins in a specific event at a single resort among women's skiers.
Defending Slalom World Cup champion Petra Vlhova won the First of the two slaloms held in Levi in 2021.
Vlhova commanded both runs with confidence. She set the fastest time in the first run, and on a course with superb conditions, the Slovakian also posted the fastest time in the second run and extended her advantage over Shiffrin to 0.31 seconds.
On Sunday Petra Vlhova toped again the podium Levi with a 0.47 second lead over Mikaela Shiffrin. The Slovak confirmed she is now number one in Slalom with another flawless performance.
Vlhova won again with the two fastest times in both runs and became the most successful skier ever on this slope with her fifth triumph on the "Levi Black".
Mikaela Shiffrin and Lena Dürr completed the podium as they did on Saturday. Duerr with the second-best run time and 0.78 seconds behind Vlhova, made it from sixth place to the podium.
The American ski star made a huge mistake in the steep section of the course and despite an amazing recovery, which pulled her ahead of the rest of the field, her run was not enough to outperform Vlhova.
Levi will be a battle between three names mainly: Petra Vlhova, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Katharina Liensberger. The fact that again there are two Women's races taking place in Levi this year is something that can determine the results, especially on Sunday. Only Andreja Slokar, the surprising winner of the last Slalom of the 2021-2022 ski season, must be added to the list of winners outside the main three favorites. It was the second victory and podium in the World Cup for the Slovenian. Slokar had only made it onto the World Cup Podium once, in November 2021 when she won the Parallel race in Lech-Zürs.
Petra Vlhová won last season's slalom crystal globe. The Slovak also picked up Olympic gold in the Slalom at the Beijing Winter Games. It's the second time she picked up the Slalom title after winning it in the 2019-2020 season.
She finished on the podium in eight of the nine World Cup slalom events this season. She claimed five wins, finished runner-up to Mikaela Shiffrin twice, and third in Courchevel-Meribel. She only missed the podium once when she finished 4th in Are. Only three women claimed more than seven top-two finishes in World Cup slalom events in a single season: Vreni Schneider (9 in 1993-1994), Shiffrin (9 in 2018-2019, 8 in 2017-2018), and Janica Kostelic (8 in 2000-2001).
Vlhová has equaled Anja Pärson (both 17) in sixth place on the women's list for most World Cup Slalom victories. Janica Kostelic (20) is in fifth place.
Last season Mikaela Shiffrin won the Overall Crystal Globe for the fourth time (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2021-2022). She had recorded 14 podiums -1 in Downhill, 4 in Super-G, 4 in Giant Slalom, and 5 in Slalom-, and five World Cup victories (1 in Downhill, 2 in Giant Slalom, and 2 in Slalom).
In Schladming, Mikaela Shiffrin won her 47th World Cup slalom event, breaking the record for most World Cup victories in a single discipline set by Ingemar Stenmark (Giant Slalom, 46) in 1989.
The 27-year-old ski star (66 in Slalom) is level with Lindsey Vonn (66 in Downhill) for most women's World Cup podiums in a single discipline.
Shiffrin has won 74 World Cup events, ranking her in third place all-time behind Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Lindsey Vonn (82).
Only Ingemar Stenmark (155), Marcel Hirscher (138), and Lindsey Vonn (137), have claimed more podiums in the World Cup than Mikaela Shiffrin (120).
Last season Katharina Liensberger won the last slalom event held before the Finals. It was her third World Cup win in this discipline (all in March), after back-to-back wins in the 2020-2021 season in Åre and the 2021 World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide.
Until Åre, last World Cup season, the 24-year-old skier from Vorarlberg had claimed two podium finishes in the Slalom: second in Lienz on 29 December and third in Zagreb on 4 January.
The four Austrian women to have claimed more than three World Cup slalom victories are Marlies Schild (35), Roswitha Steiner (8), Gertrud Gabl (5), and Nicole Hosp (5).
At the Beijing Winter Games, Liensberger took silver in the Slalom behind gold medallist Petra Vlhova.
In Cortina 2020 Liensberger set the best time in both Slalom runs to finish clearly ahead of Petra Vhlova and Mikaela Shiffrin. Katharina Liensberger was the first Austrian woman to reach the world championship podium in the Slalom since Michaela Kirchgasser (silver) in 2013. The last Austrian to win the women's slalom world title was Marlies Schild in 2011.
Lena Dürr is hoping to become the first German woman to record a World Cup slalom victory since Maria Höfl-Riesch in Levi on 10 November 2012. Dürr can become the oldest German woman to win a World Cup event (including East/West Germany). Viktoria Rebensburg holds the current record as she won the Garmisch-Partenkirchen downhill on 8 February 2020 at age 30y-127d.
Dürr finished on the podium in both slalom events in Levi last season, her first podium finishes in the discipline.
Wendy Holdener has collected 29 World Cup slalom podium finishes but has yet to claim her first victory. This is currently the record for most World Cup podiums in a single discipline without winning.
Only two women have finished second in a World Cup slalom event as many times as Holdener (14): Frida Hansdotter (17) and Pernilla Wiberg (14). Holdener's 15 third places in Slalom are already a record for a woman.
Anna Swenn-Larsson claimed five World Cup slalom podiums but has yet to win one. Sweden's most recent slalom victory in the World Cup was achieved by Frida Hansdotter in Flachau on 10 January 2017.
The World Cup Levi Slalom Opening will take place on the 19 and 20 of November with two Slalom races and the following program:
Saturday, 19.11.2022, starting times 10:00/13:00 CET
Sunday, 20.11.2022, starting times 10:15/13:15 CET
Facts Levi Black Race Course:
Altitude at the start: 438 m
Altitude at the finish line: 258 m
Vertical drop: 180 m
Steepest section: 52%
Gates: 64–67, depending on the race track
2021 Petra Vlhova (SVK) / Petra Vlhova (SVK)
2020 Petra Vlhova (SVK) / Petra Vlhova (SVK)
2019 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) / Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR)
2018 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) / Marcel Hirscher (AUT)
2017 Petra Vlhova (SVK) / Felix Neureuther (GER)
2016 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) / Marcel Hirscher (AUT)
2014 Tina Maze (SLO) / Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR)
2013 Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) / Marcel Hirscher (AUT)
2012 Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) / Andre Myhrer (SWE)
2010 Marlies Schild (AUT) / Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)
2009 Maria Riesch (GER) / Reinfried Herbst (AUT)
2008 Lindsey Vonn (USA) / Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA)
2006 Marlies Schild (AUT) / Benjamin Raich (AUT)
2006 Janica Kostelic (CRO) / Anja Paerson (SWE)
2004 Tanja Poutianen (FIN) / Maria Riesch (GER)
Levi, located about 170 km north of the Polar Circle (Levi World Cup is the northmost Alpine World Cup), is one of the largest ski resorts in Finnish Lapland. Levi Fell village is actually a small holiday town, which offers a wide range of first-rate services to its guests.
The Levi fell is 531 meters above sea level. There are some 50 ski slopes in Levi and the skiing and snowboarding season is particularly long, typically lasting from mid-October to the beginning of June. Levi has been chosen as the best domestic skiing resort in Finland several times.
Levi is the market leader and pioneer in Finland in Ski Resorts. In the area, there are 24 000 beds, which makes possible 2,5 million overnights/year with 650 000 visitors/year.
Besides the 43 slopes and 27 ski lifts, there are 230 km's cross-country tracks and 880 km's snowmobiling routes.
More than 20,000 spectators are expected at the two races on the weekend and the organizers have put great emphasis on involving local schools and youngsters to bring them to the events.
The Levi Black competition racecourse vertical drop is 180 meters and the steepest part of the racecourse has a steepness of 52 %.
In the Year 2012, The Regional Council of Lapland awarded the World Cup Levi event for its’ annual nomination for Regional Developer. The award was a great honor for the event and the recognition of creating the attractive World Cup Levi brand and promoting significantly the international visibility of Lapland.