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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Val d'Isère Men's Giant Slalom and Slalom Races Preview

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

This year will see last year’s Slalom and Giant Slalom winners, Clément Noël and Marco Odermatt, defend their "Critérium de la Première Neige à Val d'Isère" title after being crowned Olympic champions on Beijing 2022.

Since the start of last season, the nine Giant Slalom events in the men's World Cup have either been won by Marco Odermatt (6) or Henrik Kristoffersen (3).

In only three previous World Cup seasons the Giant Slalom victories were divided by at most two men: Jean-Claude Killy (4) and Georges Mauduit (1) in 1966-1967, Ingemar Stenmark (all 10) in 1978-1979, and Marcel Hirscher (6) and Alexis Pinturault (1) in 2017-2018.

The last male skiers other than Odermatt or Kristoffensen to win a World Cup Giant Slalom were Alexis Pinturault in Lenzerheide on 20 March 2021, Filip Zubcic in Bansko on 27 February 2021, and Mathieu Faivre also in Bansko on 28 February 202.

Marco Odermatt, Alexis Pinturault, and Manuel Feller. Val d'Isère Men's Giant Slalom 2021. Alpine Ski World Cup
Marco Odermatt. Giant Slalom. Alpine Ski World Cup in Val d'Isère. Picture: Erich Spiess / Red Bull Content Pool

Marco Odermatt is the 2021-2022 Men's Overall World Cup Winner. After finishing runner-up the previous season, he finally celebrated his very first big globe. He is the fifth Swiss man to win the Overall, after Peter Lüscher (1978-1979), Pirmin Zurbriggen (1983-1984, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, and 1989-1990), Paul Accola (1991-1992), and Carlo Janka (2009-2010).

Marco Odermatt won the Giant Slalom crystal globe last season. He is the first Swiss man to do so since Didier Cuche (2008-2009).

To round a perfect season the Swiss also won Olympic gold in this discipline in Beijing 2022.

The 25-year-old Swiss ace won the first Giant Slalom of the season in Sölden on 23 October.

Since his first podium in Kranjska Gora in 2019 Odermatt has claimed 8 victories and a total of 18 podiums in Giant Slalom in the World Cup.

He finished on the podium in the last nine World Cup Giant Slalom events: 6 wins (Sölden, Val d'Isère, Alta Badia, Adelboden, Meribel-Courchevel, and Sölden), 2 second places (Alta Badia and Kranjska Gora) and 1 third place (Kranjska Gora).

He can become the sixth male skier to reach the podium in 10 successive Giant Slalom events held in the men's World Cup, after Ingemar Stenmark (22, 1977-1980 and 10, 1980-1981), Marcel Hirscher (18, 2016-2018), Phil Mahre (10, 1981-1982), Alberto Tomba (10, 1990-1992), and Ted Ligety (10, 2012-2013).

The last time Odermatt missed the podium in a Giant Slalom in the World Cup was in Lenzerheide on 20 March 2021, when he finished 11th.

Last season Marco Odermatt won the Giant Slalom in Val d'Isère. Odermatt was in a class of its own on an extremely demanding slope. He was the first Swiss to win a Giant Slalom in Val d'Isère since Carlo Janka won in 2008.

Henrik Kristoffersen (3) was the only other man apart from Marco Odermatt to win a World Cup Giant Slalom event last season. The Norwegian won in Alta Badia on 19 December and both races in Kranjska Gora. It was Kristoffersen's 7th World Cup victory in the discipline.

Kristoffersen has equaled the Norwegian record for most World Cup Giant Slalom wins in a single season: three by Kjetil André Aamodt in 1992-1993.

In 2018 Kristoffersen won the silver medal in Giant Slalom at Pyeongchang 2018.

The 28-year-old Norwegian won the gold medal in Giant Slalom in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Åre.

Kristoffersen can become the second male skier representing Norway to win a Giant Slalom in the World Cup in Val-d'Isère, after Erik Håker on 9 December 1971. Håker's triumph marked the first-ever World Cup victory for Norway in alpine skiing.

Kristoffersen finished on the podium in Val d'Isère two times. He was second in 2018, and third in 2016.

In 2021 Alexis Pinturault won the Overall and Giant Slalom Crystal Globes. To achieve his first title in the discipline, Alexis Pinturault finished in the top-five in each of the ten Giant Slalom events of the 2020-2021 season. He claimed three successive wins in Alta Badia and Adelboden (2).

Pinturault has won 18 World Cup Giant Slalom events, ranking him in fifth place on the all-time men's list. 39 of his 75 podiums in the World Cup were in this discipline. His 18 victories in this discipline are at least 10 more than any other active male skier.

Only Marcel Hirscher (7) and Michael von Grünigen (4) have won as many men's World Cup events in Val-d'Isère as Alexis Pinturault (4).

Pinturault won the Giant Slalom in Val-d'Isère in the 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 seasons. Only Hirscher (5) and Von Grünigen (4) claimed more than two Giant Slalom wins in the men's World Cup at this venue.

Last season Alexis Pinturault finished in second place +0.59 seconds behind Odermatt.

Clément Noël, Kristoffer Jakobsen, and Filip Zubcic. Val d'Isère Men's Slalom 2022. Alpine Ski World Cup
Clément Noël, Kristoffer Jakobsen, Filip Zubcic. Val d'Isère 2022. Picture: Erich Spiess / Red Bull Content Pool

Last season there have been eight different winners in ten races -Clément Noël, Sebastian Foss-Solevåg, Johannes Strolz, Lucas Braathen, Dave Ryding, Linus Strasser, Henrik Kristoffersen (2), and Atle Lie McGrath (2)-, and the 27 podium places have been divided by 16 different athletes (only multiple podiums by Kristoffer Jakobsen, Lucas Braathen, Manuel Feller, Linus Strasser, Henrik Kristoffersen, Dave Ryding, and Clément Noël, and Atle Lie McGrath), matching a record set in 1985-1986.

Only in 1985-1986 (9) and 1999-2000 (9), there were more different men's slalom winners in the World Cup.

Norwegian skiers won six of the ten men's World Cup slalom events last season: Henrik Kristoffersen (2), Sebastian Foss Solevåg, Lucas Braathen, and Atle Lie McGrath (2).

Last season Henrik Kristoffersen won his third Slalom Crystal Globe. He previously won the title in the 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 seasons. He is the seventh man to win the Slalom Crystal Globe more than twice.

Kristoffersen has won 21 World Cup slalom events, the last one in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 27 February 2022, ranking him fourth on the men's list behind Ingemar Stenmark (40), Alberto Tomba (35), and Marcel Hirscher (32).

Kristoffersen's 21 World Cup wins in the men's slalom are already the most for a Norwegian skier in a single discipline (17 by Aksel Lund Svindal in men's Super-G).

Henrik Kristoffersen won the Slalom in Val d'Isère two times, in 2015 and 2016.

In 2021 Clément Noël won the first slalom of the season in Val d'Isère. The 25-year-old Frenchman delivered a flawless performance at his home race and came out on top with the two fastest times. It was his only World Cup victory last season.

The latest French skier before Noël to win the opening slalom event of a World Cup season was Jean-Baptiste Grange, who won the opener event in Levi in 2010-2011.

He became Olympic champion in this discipline at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games.

Noël (9) is joint-second alongside Patrick Russel (9) in France's all-time list for most slalom victories in the men's World Cup, behind only Jean Noël Augert (13). Noël and Russel (both 17) are also tied in second place for most World Cup slalom podiums among French male skiers, behind only Augert (21).

Atle Lie McGrath won the last two Slalom races in the men's World Cup, in Flachau (9 March 2022) and Méribel (20 March 2022).

Norwegian skiers have won each of the last four slaloms in the men's World Cup, as Henrik Kristoffersen won both Slalom races in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (26-27 February 2022) before the two victories by McGrath.

McGrath can become the first male skier to win three successive Slalom events in the World Cup since Marcel Hirscher had a streak of four from January to December 2018.

Last season he finished in 8th position in Val d'Isère.

Alexis Pinturault, Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen (two each) are the only male skiers to have won multiple World Cup Slalom events in Val d'Isère.

Pinturault won the Val d'Isère Slalom in the 2012-2013, and 2019-2020 seasons.

Manuel Feller finished runner-up in the final World Cup standings in this discipline last season without winning any of the 10 slalom events. He came second once and finished in third place on three occasions.

He never finished on the podium in the Slalom in Val d'Isère.


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