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Watch out for that drone; Vonn has big weekend ahead

Chris Freud
KRISTIN ANDERSON |

Hey, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won a World Cup slalom on Wednesday, and, as an added bonus, a drone did not fall out of the sky and nearly kill him.

Holy cow, how scary was that last month?

Since mercifully Hirscher came away unscathed, we can now joke about it. A falling drone is about the only way he’s not going to win his fifth World Cup title.



The undisputed champion of downplaying his chances of doing anything, Hirscher is on his way to ski history. We called it in November and we stick to it now.

Hirscher leads the field, at 721 points ahead of the Norwegians, Aksel Lund Svindal (636), Henrik Kristoffersen (471) and Kjetil Jansrud (411).



Hirscher’s margin over Svindal doesn’t look impressive, but remember that there are more tech races on the schedule than speed events. Advantage Hirscher.

Hirscher also is on fire in giant slalom, leading that discipline with 361, or more points than Svindal’s earned in downhill (336). In other words, the Austrian is doing better in his second-best event than Svindal is doing in his best.

The men are in Adelboden, Switzerland, this weekend for GS and slalom, which bodes that Hirscher should increase his lead.



Yes, the premiere speed events of the season follow with Wengen, Switzerland, and Kitzbuehel, Austria. But each of those stops also has slaloms, also known as opportunities for Hirscher to mitigate whatever progress the speedsters make.

Gut and Vonn

It’s no surprise that Switzerland’s Lara Gut is leading Lindsey Vonn, 659-500, with Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter in second with 521. The whopper is that Gut is doing it in GS.

Better known for downhill and super-G, Gut has earned 350 of 659 points in giant slalom. The Swiss Miss finished 24th in GS last year.

The women are in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, for downhill and super-G this weekend. The first piece of good news is that I only have to spell that town’s name once per year. The second is that, after weekends in January which switch between speed and tech, there’s a bunch of speed in February.Lindsey needs to hammer down this weekend.

Where did the Americans go?

Ted Ligety to the white courtesy phone, please.

Ligety has 248 points and is in eighth in the overall, not that we think he can win that. What is disturbing about that number is that he got 100 points by winning in the Soleden, Austria, GS in October and 80 points from a surprise super-G second here in Beaver Creek in December.

That’s 180 points out of his total of 248, which means all is not well in Camp Ted. Ligety is sixth in GS points (157), two full races behind Hirscher. It’s not time to panic. It is, however, time to get moving.

Along those lines, Travis Ganong has cooled off after a good start in Lake Louise, Alberta. Andrew Weibrecht did have a fifth in super-G at Val Gardena, Italy, after the North American swing, but is battling it a bit.

Three cheers to Bryce Bennett, who flew into sixth from bib No. 57, in last month’s Val Gardena downhill.

Meanwhile, there is no American woman not named Vonn or Mikaela Shiffrin in the top 30.

Time to get a move on, peeps.


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