What a year! Lots of excitement and great skiing. First to talk about the top skiers of the year, In the overall there were 2 skiers who stood out. Marcel Hirscher and Beat Feuz.
These 2 guys really stepped it up this year. It may have been a bit of a surprise but not really. If you look at Hirscher it was just a matter of time before this 23 year old phenom put it together consistency. And Feuz (nicknamed ‘Baby Cuche”) while a slight surprise, not in retrospect. If you look what he did last season, a few top 10′s and a 1st and 3rd at kvitfjell! Pretty good for a guy who turned 24 (an 87′) that season. At 25 this season he is a child in the downhill world. Ruled by the old men of skiing. These guys will be at the top of the skiing world for the forseeable future. -Dark Horse: Look for Kjetil Jansrud to really make a charge for the overall globe next year, he has shown that he can put it together in DH, SG, and GS. As long as his back holds up look for him to be a factor next season.
Downhill: Downhill was ruled by 3 men this season. Klaus Kroell, Beat Feuz and the legend Didier Cuche. Kroell (a pure speed skier mostly DH) snatched the globe out of Feuz’s hands this season by 7 points! Then there was the Legend. Didier Cuche. Besides just missing out on the DH and SG globes this year. He went out in style winning 4 races, including his bread and butter Kitzbuehel a record breaking 5th time! -Honourable Mention: The Canadians! Erik Guay, Jan Hudec, (The newest cowboy) Ben Thompson, and a shout out to a Conrad Pridy a great BC boy scoring his first world cup points with a 25th at Garmisch! They tore it up mid season especially with that 1-3-5 at chamonix. -Dark Horse: Look for Ben Thompson to have a great season next year, he tore it up at the end of this season, putting together lots of top 10′s and that 2nd at sochi! Another guy to look for is Joachim Puchner. This guy is also young the same age as Thompson and Feuz (an 87′) he showed brilliance this year and last year look for him to make the jump.
Super-G: It was a close race for the globe this year (4 guys within 100 points), but the SG man Aksel Lund Svindal preformed all season and took the globe away from Cuche and Feuz. This race COULD have been a lot more exiting than it was, but the Schladmig SG was a joke. More like a high speed GS. You know when Pinturault and Hirscher come 2nd and 3rd something is wrong. -Honourable Mention: Benni Raich! This old man has started his transition from tech genius to speed skier. A 1st and 3rd at Crans-Montana put him onto the scene this year. -Dark Horse: Marcel Hirscher. Ya I might be crazy but even though he came 3rd at the Schladmig SG (a open GS), it shows he has some ability to ski SG. He has told the press that he will try to ski more SG next year to secure the overall next season.
Giant Slalom: Hirscher and Ted “shred” Ligety. The GS globe came down to these 2 guys, but Hirscher really stole the show with unbelievable consistency. Ligety won all his GS globes in the past with less than 513 points, the total he had this season, this puts in perspective how great Hirscher skied GS this year, scoring and unbelievable 705 points! Even though Hirscher and ligety dominated this year the old man Blardone still showed that he can compete. In his last 5 races he came 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 4th! -Honourable Mention: The phenoms Alexis Pinturault and Marcel Mathis, both born in 1991 (21 years old)! Pinturault had flashes of brilliance last year and put a good season together this year. Coming 4th in the GS standings. Pretty good considering he is 21! When he is on he can compete with the Hirscher and Ligety. Look for him as a real competitor to those guys next year. Marcel Mathis only skied 3 world cups this year, but came 9th, 7th, then 3rd at Schladmig! A pretty great start to your world cup career! Look for him to pop a few good races next season. -Dark Horse: ^ Those 2 guys I talked about above and Fritz Dopfer. A young german (actually Austrian) who had his breakout season coming 7th in the GS standings and 8th in the SL standings. Look for him to have a great season next year.
Slalom: The most contested event this season. Even though Hirscher was by far the fastest SL skier this season, he lacked the consistency he had in GS. Out of the 6 races he finished he won 5 and came 3rd in one, but that was only enough to come 3rd in the standings. Andre Myhrer and Ivo Kostilic took 1st and 2nd. Andre Myhrer stole the globe away from Ivo and Hirscher in the last 3 races of the year coming 2nd, 1st and 1st! -Honourable Mention: Christian Deville and Stefano Gross. Deville finally put together a season at the age of 31 coming 4th in the standings! Stefano Gross had a breakout year having a few great results and coming 5th in the standings. -Dark Horse: Fritz Dopfer… again, for me he is next years dark horse. He showed lots of consistency and promise this year and I think he will be a big contender next year.
Still to come: Womens Review, Development in North America, Skiers switching companies, Ski Length debate.