The final act of Worlds: Today’s men’s slalom | VailDaily.com

The final act of Worlds: Today’s men’s slalom

BEAVER CREEK — And thus it comes to close.

How does the final act — today’s men’s slalom at 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. — of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships go?

By all rights, this should be a battle between Austria’s Marcel Hirscher (bib No. 1) and Germany’s Felix Neureuther (Bib No. 7). The German and the Austrian are 1-2 in points, 540-474.

Breaking down this season’s slaloms:

Levi, Finland: Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen (Bib No. 3) wins. Hirscher second; Neureuther third.

Are, Sweden: Hirscher first; Neureuther second.

Madonna di Campiglio, Italy: Neureuther first; Hirscher seventh.

Zagreb, Croatia: Hirscher first; Neureuther second.

Adelboden, Switzerland: Switzerland’s Stefano Gross (5) wins; Hirscher third and Neureuther DNF.

Wengen, Switzerland: Neureuther first; Hirscher DNF.

Kitzbuehel, Austria: Mattias Hargin (2) wins; Hirscher and Neureuther go 2-3.

Schladming, Austria: Russia’s Alexander Khoroshilov (6); Neureuther third and Hirscher 14th.

Two years ago, Hirscher and Neureuther went 1-2 at Worlds at slalom. The bronze went Austria’s Mario Matt (18). Matt, who got hurt (bruised ankle joint) in training in Vail, is a surprise start today. By the by. Matt was golden in Sochi, Russia, in the Olympic slalom.

While, of course, anything can happen in slalom, it might be a good idea to remember Felix Hirscher and Marcel Neureuther. (Just making sure you were still reading.)

Kristoffersen is a young gun. He took bronze at Sochi. Khoroshilov is a great story. His win in Schladming earlier this year was the first by Russian since Aleksandr Zhirov won a World Cup for the former Soviet Union in 1981. Gross’ win in Adelboden was the first of his career.

Germany’s Fritz Dopfer (4) deserves some notice. He’s third on the points list and is always around the podium. His slalom finishes this season are sixth, seventh, second, eighth, second, seventh, fifth and fourth.

The stats

The format: Best two-run time wins. Sixty racers qualify for a second run. The top-30 racers will be flipped meaning the first-run leader goes 30th in the finale.

Stats: The men’s slalom course starts on Golden Eagle at 9,627 feet and drops 692 feet during its length of 2,263 feet.

Birds of Prey slalom winners: Benni Raich, Austria, 2004; Giorgio Rocca, Italy, 2005; Andre Myhrer, Sweden, 2006; Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 2011.

Watch out: The last few gates. Yes, this is the 14th day of some form of competition and the athletes have been here for a while to acclimate to the altitude. It is still an issue. We’ve seen athletes going straight to the oxygen mask after runs.

Americans today: Ted Ligety (17); David Chodounsky (25); Will Brandenburg (32); Tim Kelley (34).

The picks

Shauna Farnell, Vail Daily: Neureuther.

Chris Freud, Vail Daily: Hirscher.

Pat Graham, AP Denver: Khoroshilov.

Melanie Wong, Vail Daily: Hirscher.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.