Soelden winner Ted Ligety posted the sixth fastest final run to jump up to 11th in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season opening slalom (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Christophe Pallot)
LEVI, Finland (Nov. 17) - Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), who cracked open the 2014 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season with a stunning victory in Soelden, Austria last month, finished a respectable 11th Sunday in the tour's first slalom. Sitting 24th after the opening lap, the 2013 triple World Champion used a light touch on the top of the Levi Black race hill and then hammered the short steep middle section to post the sixth fastest final run time. Last winter's overall and slalom champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria earned the wire-to-wire win to mark his 10th straight slalom podium. Hirscher now has a slight edge on Ligety in the overall standings going into the North American World Cup swing.
Soelden winner Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) jumped 13 spots with a solid final run to finish 11th in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season opening slalom.
Sitting 24th after the first run, Ligety posted the sixth fastest final run time to earn critical points in his chase for an overall World Cup title.
The four-time World Cup giant slalom title winner has stated that his route to a first overall World Cup title would be through improved slalom skiing.
Two races into the 2014 season, Ligety is 36 points behind race winner and defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria.
It was the 10th straight slalom podium for Hirscher, who also won the 2013 World Cup slalom title.
Fellow Austrian Mario Matt was second ahead of Henrik Kristofferson, who posted the first World Cup slalom podium for Norway since 2004.
Colby Granstrom (Lake Stevens, WA) and David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) finished just outside the first run top 30. Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA) and Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) also started but did not make the final.
The World Cup tour now swings to North America with a downhill and super G in Lake Louise, Canada followed by the famed Audi Birds of Prey race week Dec. 6-8 in Beaver Creek, CO - home of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Ligety will prepare for the back-to-back speed series by training at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain, CO.
The second run was broadcast live from Levi on Universal Sports. The race is now available for on-demand streaming at UniversalSports.com.
QUOTES Ted Ligety I wouldn’t say that either run was all that impressive, but second run I skied a little bit more like I should be skiing from run to run. But it’s still far from what I need to be doing in slalom. I need to be scoring in the top five to top three. I need to up it if this is going to be a meaningful route to getting me enough points (to win the overall World Cup title). I guess it’s not a horrible day to start out the slalom season.
Levi’s a drag race. It’s the easiest course on the World Cup by far so the margins are super tight and the little mistakes cost you a ton of time. It makes it difficult to be one of the fastest guys because you really pay when you are a little bit off.
Now I’m going home for two days and going to Copper to train some Super G and some GS and then head to Lake Louise and get back into some events where hopefully I can do a little better.