The Alpine World Cup season is approaching with giant strides. After months of waiting, the World Cup will be back in a few days with Sölden (Tirol, Austria) again hosting the first Races of the season. Despite the pandemic, the organizers are hoping for a full house on the Rettenbach Glacier. This time, only the ski teams must go into “bubbles”. Ski fans and spectators should be able to come to the glacier stadium or the VIP tents during the World Cup races.
The calendar for the season 2021-2022 was presented by the FIS Council on June 2 with a fully balanced program. For the first time in a while, both genders will have 18 speed and 18 “tech” races with two Parallel events: Lech/Zürs (AUT) - confirmed after a successful race in 2020 - and a second Parallel race at the finals in Courchével-Meribel (FRA). There will be no Alpine Combined events, except for the one scheduled at the Beijing Olympics.
For the second season in a row, Men and Women are largely separated with the exceptions of the season opener in Sölden, Zagreb slaloms, and the World Cup Finals in Courchevel-Meribel in March.
The World Cup calendar also welcomes back the North American races to the program.
Levi will again play host to two women’s slalom races and towards the end of the season, the women will be heading to Lenzerheide with a Super-G and a Giant Slalom scheduled in the Swiss venue.
For the Men, Wengen (SUI) and Kitzbühel (AUT) will host identical programs, with two Downhill and one Slalom on the menu. Garmisch-Partenkirchen will welcome the World Cup tour after the Beijing Winter Olympic Games at the end of February, this time staging two Slaloms. Finally, before heading to Meribel-Courchevel for the World Cup Finals, Giant Slalom specialists will stop in Kranjska Gora (SLO) for a double giant slalom race.
The highlight of the season will be the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The event is scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022, in Beijing and towns in the neighboring Hebei province, China. The Alpine Skiing events will be held at The Xiaohaituo Alpine Skiing Field in the Yanqing District.
The Men are scheduled to race 18 speed and 18 technical events, with 11 Downhills including three double-downhills in Lake Louise, Wengen, and Kitzbühel.
On the Men's side, the equivalence of speed and technical events could lead to an overall title battle between defending champion Alexis Pinturault, rising star Marco Odermatt, speed king Dominik Paris, and versatile skiers Alexander Aamodt Kilde, and Vincent Kriechmayr.
Alexis Pinturault was the 2020-2021 Men's Overall World Cup Winner. After finishing runner-up twice, he finally can celebrate his very first big globe. Pinturault is the third Frenchman to win the Overall Globe, after Jean-Claude Killy (1966-1967, 1967-1968) and Luc Alphand (1996-1997). It is also the first Giant Slalom Crystal Globe for him.
The three-time Olympic medallist overtook Switzerland's Marco Odermatt in the overall and Giant Slalom standings.
The hunt for both the Giant Slalom Globe and the Overall Title was a two-man battle held between Odermatt and Pinturault until the last race.
Pinturault had already won seven World Cup Globes, six times in the Men's Alpine combined and one in the Parallel Event.
Alexis Pinturault had won two medals in the Alpine World Ski Championships held in Cortina including an impressive bronze in the Super-G, and silver in the Alpine Combined.
In the last twenty seasons, three male skiers successfully defended their Overall Crystal Globe: Hermann Maier (1999-2000, 2000-2001), Stephan Eberharter (2001-2002, 2002-2003), and Marcel Hirscher (8 in a row, 2011-2012 to 2018-2019).
Pinturault has won 34 World Cup events, ranking him in ninth place on the all-time men's list. The Frenchman ski star Pinturault can become the second male skier to win a World Cup event in 11 successive seasons, after Alberto Tomba from 1987-1988 to 1997-1998.
Alexis Pinturault Statistics
FIS World Cup Starts: 276
FIS World Cup Podiums: 70
FIS World Cup Victories: 34
Men's Globe Winners of the 2020-2021 Season
• Overall World Cup Winner: Alexis Pinturault (FRA)
• Slalom World Cup Winner: Marco Schwarz (AUT)
• Giant Slalom World Cup Winner: Alexis Pinturault (FRA)
• Super-G World Cup Winner: Vincent Kriechmayr (AUT)
• Downhill World Cup Winner: Beat Feuz (SUI)
On the Women's side, defending champion Petra Vlhova, Swiss aces Lara Gut-Behrami and Corinne Suter, and versatile Mikaela Shiffrin are the main candidates for the overall title.
Petra Vlhova can be proud to be the first Slovakian, male or female, to conquer the Overall Globe. Slovakia is the 15th country to win the overall Crystal Globe on the Men's or Women's side. The last new country to win the overall crystal globe was Slovenia when Tina Maze won the women's overall in 2012-2013. Petra Vlhova has competed in all events.
In the 2019-2020 season, she was the winner of the Slalom and Parallel World Cup. These were her first two globes.
Petra Vlhova claimed silver in slalom and Alpine Combined at the 46th Alpine World Ski Championships held in Cortina d'Ampezzo.
In the last twenty years, four women have won the Overall Crystal Globe in successive seasons: Anja Pärson (2003-2004, 2004/05), Lindsey Vonn (2007-2008, 2009-2010), Anna Veith (2013-2014, 2014-2015), and Mikaela Shiffrin (2016-2017, 2018-2019).
The Slovakian skier is one of three women to have claimed at least one World Cup victory in each of the previous five seasons, alongside Mikaela Shiffrin and Federica Brignone.
Petra Vlhova Statistics
FIS World Cup Starts: 151
FIS World Cup Podiums: 44
FIS World Cup Victories: 20
Women's Globe Winners of the 2020-2021 Season
• Overall World Cup Winner: Petra Vlhova (SVK)
• Slalom World Cup Winner: Katharina Liensberger (AUT)
• Giant Slalom World Cup Winner: Marta Bassino (ITA)
• Super-G World Cup Winner: Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI)
• Downhill World Cup Winner: Sofia Goggia (ITA)