World Cup 2016/17 Preview


by Pete Davies September 12, 2016

The winter season is nearly upon us! That means the World Cup circuit will be underway in both the men and women competitions. Classic downhills, crazy night slaloms and nail biting parallel giant slaloms are all packed into the calendar this year. Throw in the World ski Championships in St Moritz and we have quite the season to look forward to.

 

Main male contenders
 
Marcel Hirscher (Austria)
 
Austrian super star Marcel Hirscher has won the overall World Cup series for the last five seasons and it doesn’t look like he’s going to budge off that top spot anytime soon. The 27 year-old is a technical specialist but has started to pull of great results in Super-G recently too. Last season he made worldwide headlines after narrowly dodging a camera drone during a slalom run in Madonna di Campiglio, Itlay. Let’s hope he makes more headlines for his incredible skiing rather than his near fatal experiences.

 

Henrik Kristoffersen (Norway)
 
22 year-old Henrik Kristoffersen was the king of slalom last season, knocking Hirscher off his throne. The streaky skier has shown great promise in his early World Cup career and has backed that up with a slalom overall crown. He also finished runner up to Hirscher in the overall standings. If the Norwegian can gain more points in giant slalom this season he’s bound to challenge Hirscher for the overall again. A World Championship medal will also be on the radar for the young slalom specialist!

 

(Photo Credit: Redbull Content Pool)

Alexis Pinturault (France)
 
Probably the only real all round skier on the World Cup circuit is French sensation Alexis Pinturault. The Red Bull athlete won the combined overall World Cup title and finished third in the overall standings. Pinturault has featured in all disciplines over his career and will be looking to finish more runs in the technical disciplines this season. The Frenchman could be the dark horse of the season picking up points at nearly every race on the circuit.
 
Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway)
 
Norwegian powerhouse Axel Lund Svindal had an impressive start to his season winning most of the speed events on offer, however a crash in Kitzbuhel stopped his overall challenge prematurely last season. Svindal has recovered from a few big injuries in the past and will definitely be back to his best come the start of the season.  No injuries and better points in giant slalom could make him a real challenger for the overall this season.

(Photo Credit: Redbull Content Pool)

Outsiders: 

Kjetil Jansrud (Norway)
Felix Neureuther (Germany)
Ted Ligety (USA)
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (Norway)

 

 

Main female contenders
 
Lindsey Vonn (USA) - check out the Briko Helmets she wears in our store
 
Lindsey Vonn broke most alpine records last year and overcame many past injuries to mount a serious challenge to the overall World Cup standings. However, she did yet again pick up another injury towards the end of the season meaning she couldn’t get her overall crown. Vonn is definitely the strongest girl on the circuit and has even tried to race on a men’s downhill (until it got rejected by the world governing body FIS). The American will be hoping for an injury free season and a few more GS podiums to add to her many titles.

 

(Photo Credit: Redbull Content Pool)

Lara Gut (Switzerland)
 
Last year’s overall World Cup winner Lara Gut dominated the Super G discipline and picked up podiums in giant slalom, downhill and the combined. The Swiss skier has had her fair share of injuries too but last year she showed she has top skills across all the disciplines. Some may say she was fortunate a few top contenders were injured last season but she will still be one of the top skiers to beat.

 

Anna Veith (Austria)
 
Formerly known as Fenninger, Anna Veith missed the whole World Cup season due to a knee injury. Instead the Austrian took time to rehabiltate and get married to snowboarder Manuel Veith. Fenninger won the 2015 World Cup overall and will be hoping her rehab has gone well enough to challenge at the top again. She’s another skier who has great qualities across many disciplines.

 

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
 
The American had a blistering start to her 2015/16 season with an impressive five slalom wins. Unfortunately for the young American injury stopped her World Cup challenge early. The technical specialist will be looking to dominate slalom again and mount a better challenge in giant slalom too. Not one for the speed events but if she stays fit she could win every single slalom next season.

(Photo Credit: Redbull Content Pool)


Outsiders:
Viktoria Rebensburg (Germany)
Tina Weirather (Liechtenstein)
Frida Hansdotter (Sweden)
Wendy Holdener (Switzerland)
Main events of the season

 

Season opener: Soelden, Austria Giant slalom (October 22-23)
 
The start of the World Cup season in recent times has always started in Soelden, Austria. Both the male and female skiers race on the same weekend and it’s a great indication to see who has improved over the summer off-season.  In the female race last year there was a surprise winner in Federica Brignone of Italy. Ted Ligety of the USA won his only race of the season in Soelden last year and will be back after this year after tearing his ACL.

Winner tips

Female: Anna Veith
Male: Marcel Hirscher

 

New this year: Killington, USA Slalom and GS (November 26-27)
 
New addition to this year’s calendar is the US resort of Killington. Located in Vermont it’s the largest ski area in the Eastern part of the United States. The resort will host the women World Cup racers in Giant slalom and slalom, which will be a huge occasion for the resort. It’ll be hosted during Thanksgiving weekend, which will mean the local atmosphere, should be electric for when the racing gets underway.

Winner tips:
 
Slalom: Mikaela Shiffrin
Giant Slalom: Anna Veith

(Photo Credit: Chandler Burgess/Killington Resort & http://killington.com/worldcup)

First need for speed: Lake Louise, Canada, Downhill and Super G (November 26-27)
 
The men will be putting on their speed planks for the first time in Canada. The Lake Louise course has been a permanent fixture at the start of the season for some time now. Last season it was a sensational weekend for speed specialist Axel Lund Svindal who announced his comeback from injury with two wins in downhill and super G in Canada.

 

Winner tips:
 
Super G: Aksel Lund Svindal
 
Downhill: Kjetil Jansrud

 

Long classic: Wengen, Switzerland, Downhill (January 14)
 
The first classic of the season will be Wengen. It’s one of the longest and most brutal courses on the circuit. Swiss fans flock in their thousands to watch the best skiers in the world tackle the Lauberhorn run. Axel Lund Svindal showed his downhill dominance when he won the prestigious Swiss race last year.

 

Winner tips
Downhill: Axel Lund Svindal

 

The Streif: Kitzbuhel, Austria, Downhill (January 21)
 
This is the most iconic race on the race calendar. The Kitzbuhel downhill or the Hahnenkamm has an average speed of 60mph throughout the course and has a 40 degrees steepness on the Mausefalle jump section. Each winner is presented with their own named gondola lift and a hefty prize money package. Last year Peter Fill surprised the world when he won the Kitzbuhel downhill for the first time in his career. Form is thrown out the window when it comes to this race!

 

Winner tips

Downhill: Dominik Paris

(Photo credit: kitzbuehel.com)

Night slalom: Schaldming, Austria, Slalom (January 24)
 
Floodlights on! The best slalom of the tour has to be Schaldming. Thousands of mad skiing fans create a festival atmosphere during the night at the Austrian resort of Schaldming. This race really tests the nerves and technical skills amongst the slalom specialists on the tour. Norweigan Henrik Kristoffersen won the night race last year in emphatic style and will be hoping to replicate that performance again.


Winner tips

Slalom: Henrik Kristoffersen

(Photo Credit: Schladming-dachstein.at
Parallel GS: Stockholm, Sweden (January 31)
Parallel giant slalom was a huge success last year and is back on the World Cup tour this year. The city of Stockholm will have a specially prepared hill that Swedish fans can easily access on the day. The event will be head-to-head knock out races that will produce some nail biting performances by the racers. Last year Swiss skier Wendy Holdner won the female tournament while Marcel Hirscher took top honours in the men.

 

Winner tips
 
Female: Anna Fenninger
Male: Marcel Hirscher

 

World Champs: St Mortiz, Switzerland, all disciplines (February 7-19)
 
The World Alpine Ski Championships are one off races across all the disciplines. It’s a break from the usual World Cup tour and each country can only enter a certain amount of racers for the event. Form traditionally gets thrown out the window and many surprise faces end up on the podium. It’s another chance to see both the male and female racers in the same resort.

 

Winner tips
 
Downhill: Kjetil Jansrud & Lindsey Vonn
Super G: Aksel Lund Svindal & Lindsey Vonn
Giant Slalom: Ted Ligety & Anna Fenniger
Slalom: Marcel Hirscher & Mikaela Shiffrin
Combined: Alexis Pinturault & Lara Gut
Team: Norway

 

World Cup finals: Aspen, USA, all disciplines (March 13-19)
 
The World Cup season is brought to a close by the last races of the season. The top 30 in each discipline qualify for the event in the USA and it may decide who takes home the overall titles for each event. Normally the North American races are finished by the time we reach the New Year but the tour will finish in the US this year. It’ll be interesting to see if the US crowds will be out in force come March!

(Photo Credit: Redbull Content Pool)

Keep your eyes peeled for a future post on the best British alpine hopefuls this season!




Pete Davies
Pete Davies

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