The Alpine Ski World Cup is On. Season Preview
Updated: Nov 1
The 58th edition of the Alpine Ski World Cup started last weekend in Sölden (Austria). The journey will take us on a road trip that will end with the World Cup Finals on March 16th to 24th, 2024 in Saalbach-Hinterglemm (Austria).
The first race weekend in Sölden is on the books. Despite the cancelation of the Men's Giant Slalom second run due to the strong wind (after 47 of 73 riders, the first run had to be interrupted. The wind was too strong with gusts of up to 70 km/h and finally the race had to be cancelled), we were able to enjoy a wonderful event with incredible conditions on Saturday. 15,400 spectators attended the first race of the season the Women's Giant Slalom. On Sunday 14,800 gathered in the Rettenbach Glacier to watch the Men's Alpine Ski World Cup Opener. All together, the total number of spectators to the Ski World Cup in Sölden was 30,200.
The race for the crystal globes will see the world’s top skiers competing in 90 events, 45 races are planned for both Men and Women, across four disciplines (Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, Downhill) in the 2023-2024 Alpine Ski World Cup season.
Marco Odermatt and Mikaela Shiffrin aspire to retain their Overall Titles.
On the Men's side Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, second in the Overall rankings and winner of the Downhill globe sits on the pole place to challenge Odermatt's dominance.
All rounders Marco Schwarz and Alexis Pinturault are also two of the names many of the ski racing specialists put on the challenger's list. Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen is also on the list.
On the Women's side choosing a unique main challenger will be quite more difficult. Lara Gut-Behrami, Sofia Goggia, Federica Brignone and Petra Vlhova are the names everyone has on mind.
Marco Odermatt has won the Overall Crystal Globe the last two seasons. In 2023, with a total of 2,042 points, Odermatt broke the Men's points record in a single World Cup season set by Hermann Maier (2,000) in 1999-2000.
The Swiss skier from Buochs, Nidwalden, can become the fifth man to win the Overall Crystal Globe in three consecutive seasons, after Marcel Hirscher (8 in a row between 2011-2012 and 2018-2019), Gustav Thöni (3 from 1970-1971 to 1972-1973), Ingemar Stenmark (3 from 1975-1976 to 1977-1978) and Phil Mahre (3 from 1980-1981 to 1982-1983).
The 26-year-old was the absolute dominator of the discipline. He is the reigning Olympic Champion, World Champion, and Crystal Globe winner in the Men's Giant Slalom.
Odermatt has competed in nine Men's Giant Slalom World Cup events last season and won seven of these (Sölden, Val d'Isère, Alta Badia, Adelboden, Kranjska Gora I and II, and Soldeu). He finished third in Alta Badia (18 December) and second in Palisade Tahoe (26 February). Only Ingmar Stenmark (10 in 1978-1979) has won more Giant Slalom races in a single season.
He also won the Super-G Crystal Globe. He won six of the eight Men's World Cup Super-G races last season and finished on the podium in the other two, second in Beaver Creek, and third in Wengen. Odermatt won also the last speed race of the season at the Finals in Soldeu El Tarter.
He can become the first male skier to win the Super-G crystal globe in back-to-back seasons since Kjetil Jansrud in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.
He claimed the first position in a World Cup event 13 times in 2022-2023. Only three men had also won 13 races in a single season: Ingemar Stenmark in 1978-1979 (13), Hermann Maier in 2000-2001 (13) and Marcel Hirscher in 2017-2018 (13).
In 2023, Marco Odermatt won in Courchevel his first Downhill race to claim the World Champion Crown at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships thanks to a near-perfect run especially on the technical sections of L'Eclipse racecourse. Odermatt, who has already won a total of 24 World Cup races in Super-G and Giant Slalom has never been on top of the podium in the Downhill.
In 2018, Odermatt won five gold medals at the Junior World Championships: Giant Slalom, Super-G, Downhill, Alpine combined, and Team Event.
FIS World Cup Starts: 124
FIS World Cup Podiums: 51
FIS World Cup Victories: 24
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished in second place in the Overall standings the last two seasons. He won the Overall Crystal Globe in 2019-2020.
Kilde was the winner of the 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 Downhill Crystal Globe. He and Aksel Lund Svindal are the only Norwegian skiers to win the Downhill crystal globes more than once. Svindal won it in 2012-2013, and 2013-2014.
The last two men to claim the Downhill Crystal Globe in three consecutive seasons were Beat Feuz (4 in a row from 2017-2018 to 2020-2021) and Stephan Eberharter (3 in a row from 2001-2002 to 2003-2004).
The 31-year-old Attacking Viking won six of the ten Men's World Cup Downhill races in the 2022-2023 season (Lake Louise, Beaver Creek, Val Gardena, Wengen, Kitzbühel, and Aspen). He was the first man to have won six World Cup Downhill events in a single season since Stephan Eberharter in 2002-2003 (6). The only skiers to win more than six World Cup Downhill events in a single season were Annemarie Moser-Pröll (8 in 1972-1973), and Franz Klammer (8 in 1974-1975).
With 21 World Cup wins, 12 of them in the Downhill, Kilde is second among Norwegian men for most World Cup Downhill wins, only behind Aksel Lund Svindal (14).
Vincent Kriechmayr was the only man besides Aleksander Aamodt Kilde to win a World Cup Downhill event last season.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished in second place behind Marco Odermatt in the Downhill at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel.
Winner of the Super-G Crystal Globe in the 2021-2022 season, Kilde aims to claim again the discipline crown.
Austrian all-rounder Marco Schwarz displayed remarkable versatility last season and he can become Marco Odermatt's most dangerous challenger in the Overall World Cup. Marco Schwarz wants to compete in all the races this season, and why not, emulate Bode Miller, who achieved a World Cup victory in all four alpine disciplines in four weeks in December 2004. By the end of the year it will be clear whether the plan is viable. His idea is try it until Christmas and then decide if it is possible to go ahead with the idea. In 2022-2023 Schwarz raced 30 events in four disciplines, plus five starts at the World Championships in Courchevel.
The three-time Youth Olympic champion from Innsbruck 2012 excelled in Giant Slalom with a World Championship bronze and three World Cup podiums.
In 2022-2023 he won the Giant Slalom at Palisade Tahoe beating season's dominator Marco Odermatt. He finished in the Top-10 in all the Giant Slalom races last season with the exception of the Opener in Sölden, including three podiums (third in Soldeu and Schladming).
On Sunday, the skier from Nidwalden finished in first place the first run of the cancelled race in Sölden. He relegated the winner of the last two editions Marco Odermatt to second place by 0.29 seconds. Third was Alexis Pinturault (+0.46).
In his World Cup Downhill World Cup debut on the Lauberhorn racecourse in Wengen he finished in sixth place.
He also impressed the ski fans with a fourth place in the Downhill in Courchevel-Méribel 2023.
He finished second in the Super-G at the Finals in Soldeu and sixth in the World Ski Championships.
To be able to compete for the Overall, the 28-year-old Austrian must be able to recover his consistency in Slalom.
Back in 2021, his performance in the discipline gave him the Slalom Crystal Globe and a third-place finish in the Overall standings.
Schwarz , Alpine Combined Champion at the 2021 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina, finished in second place at the World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel 2023.
Former Tech specialist, 32-year-old Alexis Pinturault, is hoping to reinvent himself as a speed specialist as he enters the last part of his career.
He quits on the Slalom discipline, trying to keep his level of performance in Giant Slalom but also be able to be stronger in the Downhill discipline.
Previously Pinturault have competed in only nine World Cup Downhill races in his career, with a best result of 16th in Schladming in 2012.
In 2022-2023 he finished in 5th position in the Super-G standings. He finished four times on the podium in a World Cup Super-G event, third in Beaver Creek in 2014 and 2022, second in Schladming in 2012, and first in Lenzerheide in 2014.
He won the bronze medal in Super-G at the World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel 2023.
In 2021, Alexis Pinturault celebrated his birthday with a victory in the Giant Slalom at Lenzerheide to took the Overall and Giant Slalom Crystal Globes. Pinturault was the third Frenchman to win the Overall Globe, after Jean-Claude Killy (1966-1967, 1967-1968) and Luc Alphand (1996-1997). It was also the first and only Giant Slalom crystal globe for him. He was second in the Overall standings the two previous seasons 2018-2019, and 2019-2020.
Alexis Pinturault is one of the last all-rounder skiers. He has won seven of the last 10 Alpine Combined events on the World Cup. Pinturault won the Alpine Combined Crystal Globe four times (2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020).
He won the gold medal in the Alpine Combined at the World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel 2023.
Henrik Kristoffersen has finished in the Top-3 overall in 7 of the last eight 8 winter seasons. Only Ingemar Stenmark (9 times, including 3 wins), Marc Girardelli (9, including 5 wins) and Marcel Hirscher (8, all wins) claimed more Top-3 finishes in the Men's Overall World Cup than Kristoffersen.
However Kristoffersen focus on the tech disciplines, made him difficult to fight for the World Cup title and it's more likely he tries to reclaim the Slalom title from his retired teammate Lucas Braathen.
Women started the season on Saturday in perfect conditions. Lara Gut-Behrami won the Alpine Ski World Cup Opener in Sölden ahead Federica Brignone (+ 0.02) and Petra Vlhova (+0.14). Big favorite Mikaela Shiffrin finished in sixth position and leaves Sölden without a podium finish. Sofia Goggia finished on 16th place.
After breaking the all-time World Cup victories record last season, at the age of 28, the American ski superstar has already accomplished virtually everything imaginable in Alpine skiing: 88 World Cup wins, 15 crystal globes, 2 Olympic titles and an 7 world championships gold medals.
In 2022-2023, Mikaela Shiffrin won the overall Crystal Globe for the fifth time in her career, after 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2021-2022. Only Marcel Hirscher (8), Annemarie Moser-Pröll (6) and Marc Girardelli (5) won the overall World Cup at least five times. She set a new personal best for season points, 2206.
Tina Maze, 2,414 in 2012-2013, and Mikaela Shiffrin, 2,204 in 2018-2019 and 2,206 in 2022-2023, are the only women to have claimed more than 2,000 points in a season.
The 28-year-old clinched the Slalom title at Spindleruv Mlyn and the Giant Slalom Crystal Globe at Are.
Mikaela Shiffrin won seven Giant Slalom events last season (Semmering I and II, Kranjska Gora, KronplatzI and II, Are, and Soldeu). Only two alpine skiers has recorded more than six Giant Slalom victories in a single season, Ingemar Stenmark: 10 in 1978-1979, and Marco Odermatt 7 this season.
Shiffrin finished in the podium in ten of the 11 Women's Slalom events in the 2022-2023 World Cup (6 wins, 3 second places, and one third place today), only missing out on a podium finish in Killington (fifth place). This season she has won her 7th Slalom Crystal Globe.
In total, Shiffrin finished in March 2023 with a total of 15 Crystal Globes (6 Overall, 7 in Slalom, 2 in Giant Slalom and one in Super-G).
If she wins the Overall World Cup again, Shiffrin will match Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell's women's record of six big globes.
If Shiffrin wins 12 World Cup races in 2023-2024, a feat she has accomplished in the three previous seasons, she will become the first Alpine skier to reach the magic number of 100 World Cup wins.
FIS World Cup Starts: 250
FIS World Cup Podiums: 138
FIS World Cup Victories: 88
On Saturday, Lara Gut-Behrami clinched her 38th World Cup victory at the Sölden's Alpine Ski World Cup Opener.
In 2016 the Swiss skier from Ticino won the Overall Crystal Globe. Last season she finished in second place behind Shiffrin. In 2021 ends in the same position behind Petra Vlhova.
Gut-Behrami won the last Super-G of the 2022-2023 season at the Finals in Soldeu and grabed the Crystal Globe. It was the fourth time that the 31-year-old Swiss has won the Super-G Crystal Globe after winning the title of the speed discipline in 2013-2014, 2015-2016 and 2020-2021. Only Katja Seizinger and Lindsey Vonn, five times each, have won the Super-G Crystal Globe more times.
The 2022 Olympic champion has won 19 Super-G World races, second-most behind Lindsey Vonn (28). This season she was on the Super-G podium four times (St. Anton I and II, Kvitfjell, and Soldeu). She also won the second Super-G race held in St. Anton on January 15.
Gut-Behrami also won Gold in this discipline at both the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2021 World Championships in Cortina.
Petra Vlhova won the Overall Crystal Globe in 2021 after compiting in all four disciplines. Vlhova was the first skier representing Slovakia to win the overall title. Slovakia is the 15th country to win the overall Crystal Globe on the men's or women's side. She has finished in the Top-3 in the Overall World Cup standings in each of the last five seasons.
On Saturday, in Sölden, Petra Vlhova finished in third place. Vlhova finished in the Top-3 in the Giant Slalom standings twice: two-second places in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. She finished sixth, fourth, and fifth in the last three seasons respectively.
Petra Vlhova claimed the first-ever World Championships gold medal for Slovakia at the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre (SWE) in the Giant Slalom event.
Six of her 28 victories in the World Cup came in the Giant Slalom, and 18 of her 67 podiums were also in this discipline.
The 28-year-old finished in third place in the Slalom standings last season. Vlhová finished in the Top-3 in the Slalom standings in each of the past five seasons, claiming two crystal globes (2020 and 2022).
Nineteen wins and 42 World Cup podiums of Vlhova came in Slalom.
Back in 2020, Federica Brignone Brignone Grabs the Overall, Giant Slalom, and Alpine Combined Globes. Brignone can be proud to be the first Italian woman to conquer the Overall Globe. Brignone joined the Italian-Overall club composed of Piero Gros, Gustav Thoeni, and Alberto Tomba on the Men's field.
She finished in second place in the World Cup Opener last Saturday. She missed her second win in Sölden, after her 2015 victory, by a mere 0.02 seconds.
Brignone achieved eight of her 21 World Cup victories in Giant Slalom. Also, 30 of her 57 podiums came in the same discipline.
The 32-year-old Italian finished 4th and 3rd in the Overall standings in 2023 and 2022 respectively.
Federica Brignone won the gold medal in the Alpine Combined at the World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel 2023.
She finished in second place in the Giant Slalom in Beijing 2022, earning her second Olympic medal, after winning Bronze in the same discipline at Pyeongchang 2018.
Brignone claimed the silver medal in Giant Salom at the 2011 Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the 2023 Championships in Courchevel-Meribel.
Sofia Goggia claims the 2022-2023 Downhill Crystal Globe. She also won the discipline Globe in 2017-2018, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022. She is the first woman to win the Downhill Globe in three successive seasons since Lindsey Vonn won six in a row between 2007-2008 and 2012-2013.
Goggia joined the five women group to have won the Donhill Globe at least four times: Lindsey Vonn (8), Annemarie Moser-Pröll (7), Renate Götschl (5), Michela Figini (4) and Katja Seizinger (4).
The 31-year-old Italian speed Queen has won five of the nine women's Downhill World Cup races last season (Lake Louise I and II, St. Moritz, Cortina d'Ampezzo, and Crans Montana). She is the first woman to win at least five in a single season since Lindsey Vonn achieved that in 2015-2016.
With 22 wins, 17 of them in the Downhill, Sofia Goggia is the Italian skier with the most victories in the World Cup. In Women's World Cup Downhill events, only Lindsey Vonn (43), Annemarie Moser-Pröll (36), Renate Götschl (24), and Michela Figini (17) have celebrated as many victories as Goggia.
Men's Alpine Ski World Cup Globe Winners of the 2022-2023 Season
Overall World Cup Winner: Marco Odermatt (SUI)
Slalom World Cup Winner: Lucas Braathen (NOR)
Giant Slalom World Cup Winner: Marco Odermatt (SUI)
Super-G World Cup Winner: Marco Odermatt (SUI)
Downhill World Cup Winner: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)
Women's Alpine Ski World Cup Globe Winners of the 2022-2023 Season
Overall World Cup Winner: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
Slalom World Cup Winner: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
Giant Slalom World Cup Winner: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
Super-G World Cup Winner: Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI)
Downhill World Cup Winner: Sofia Goggia (ITA)
Next stop: Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening in Zermatt-Cervinia (Men's Downhill), and Levi (Women's Slalom) on November 11th and 12th.