KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — Park City's Ted Ligety earned a Giant Slalom win that was the equivalent of a 20-point blow out on the basketball court.
Ligety won the fourth World Cup giant slalom of his career with the second largest margin of victory this season. He won the event by 1.61 seconds, while Alexis Pinturault, France earned second place. Austrian Marcel Hirscher finished third.
"It's definitely a big victory," he said afterward, "especially winning by that margin. I was proud of the effort I put in today."
Ligety said he'd struggled the last couple of races balancing technique with emotional intensity.
"Today I was able to find it and ski both runs," he said.
The win is important for a number of reasons, but most importantly because it keeps him in the hunt for the overall World Cup Title in Giant Slalom. He has 513 World Cup points, the most he's earned in his career in Giant Slalom. Hirscher leads the overall World Cup points race by 92 points.
Ligety acknowledged his winning the title was a possibility.
"I am about 90-something points behind now and that's difficult to make up in one race," Ligety said. "He would have to blow it and I would have to win. But we'll see."
Ligety knows that in ski racing just about anything is possible.
"I am just going to try to take another good race to end the year and wherever I end up, I end up," he said. "I have 500 points, which is the most points I have ever scored in giant slalom. It would be tough not to win the title but I am also proud of having that kind of season."
The season has been unique in how consistently the top skiers have performed.
"This year is pretty crazy," said Ligety. "The season Hirsher had is incredible, he is over 600 points with one giant slalom race left. That's maybe the most points scored in giant slalom since I don't know when."
Ligety said he's struggled in the last couple of races and while he would hate to lose the overall title because of that, he was happy to ski up to his expectations on Saturday.
"At least I am proving that I am right up there with Hirscher," he said.
Ligety's U.S. teammate Tommy Ford finished 17th, while Tim Jitloff was 28th. The team was preparing for the World Cup Finals schedule for March 11-18.