ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Ted Ligety navigated thick fog and a chewed-up mountainside Sunday to win the final World Cup giant slalom race before the Olympic Games.
“That was a bumpy ride,” said the Park City native. “It’s so tough when you can’t see anything; it just makes it that much more tiring. That was a hackfest battle for sure, so I’m glad that I was actually able to make it to the finish line, let alone win.”
When Ligety crossed the finish line, he felt more relief than elation at his 21st World Cup win.
“Generally the way I ski is a little bit rounder than everybody else,” Ligety said. “I try to make smoother, cleaner turns and not worry about the distance so much. I think when it's like this and it's so hacked up, that plays well for me because I kind of avoid some of those bigger holes. So, yeah, I was just lucky that I was able to make it down though too.”
Ligety’s combined time was 2:38.75, while Austria’s Marcel Hirscher took second with a combined time of 2:40.26. Alexis Pinturault of France earned bronze with a time of 2:40.44.
Ligety, the four-time FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom champion, heads into the Olympics with tremendous momentum.
“It’s nice to get another good race in and confirm where I am in GS on an actual race, not just having training,” he said. “And then hopefully I can carry that confidence over the next couple weeks.”
Ligety’s first competition will likely be the super combined on Feb. 14.
RANDALL FINISHES FIFTH: Reigning World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall finished fifth in Toblach, Italy, in freestyle sprints. It's the final World Cup competition before the Winter Games for cross-country athletes.
"Today was another solid day," Randall said. "My performance was strong through all the rounds; I just didn't employ the right tactics in the final. ... While I'm definitely bummed not to have been in the fight for the win in the final stretch, I am happy with the way I felt today and I probably learned more from the way the race played out. With such a long, straight downhill before the finish, this was a very tactical course and a very different course from Sochi."