This winter "The Critérium de la Première Neige à Val d'Isère" celebrates its 66th anniversary. The first edition of the event took place in 1955. The Criterium was formally adopted by the FIS in December 1968, and since then the event is a key stop on the Alpine Skiing World Cup calendar.
9:30 am 1st run Giant Slalom
13:00 pm 2nd run Giant Slalom
9:30 am 1st run Slalom
13:00 pm 2nd run Slalom
Alpine Skiing World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic Games. Only a few ski resorts can claim to have hosted all three and the racecourses on which the events of the three competitions took place can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The face of Bellevarde, in Val-d'Isère, is one of them.
La Face de Bellevarde in Val d’Isère is one of the most iconic racecourses on the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Tour.
The track was built for the 1992 Winter Olympics, designed by Swiss Olympic Downhill champion Bernhard Russi. Russi's idea was to design a course that was technical and demanding enough to satisfy the competitors, but which could also offer the public and the television cameras spectacular views of the most critical passages. The imposing slope of 1000 meters of vertical drop faces the village of Val d'Isère, guaranteeing an impeccable view of the race.
In 2009 a renovated racecourse hosted all the Men's events in the World Championships; and the technical events for women (GS, SL).
Last season due to lack of snow and unusually warm temperatures, the Men's Audi FIS Ski World Cup Giant Slalom events scheduled in Val d'Isère were canceled and rescheduled in Santa Caterina.
The last man to win a Giant Slalom in La Face de Bellevarde in Val d’Isère was Marcel Hirscher. Steep, hard, with a lot of terrain. Even in good conditions, this hill is not easy to ski, so in 2018 with poor visibility, wind, and snowfall, the task was even trickier.
But there was one skier able to perform no matter the conditions. It’s Giant Slalom king Marcel Hirscher. Starting with bib number 1, he laid down a time that no one would be able to match. Despite a +0.71 margin, he kept pushing in the second run, to win his 5th Giant Slalom win in Val d’Isère (2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018).
Local Hero Alexis Pinturault made back-to-back wins in Val d'Isère in the Giant Slalom in 2016 and 2017.
The last Slalom hosted in Val d'Isère, in 2019, was won by Alexis Pinturault. He dominated the field picking up the victory by a 1.44-second margin. It was then his first in slalom in nearly six years. Second place went to Olympic champion Andre Myhrer, while Italian Stefano Gross rounded out the podium just 0.03 seconds behind Myhrer.
Back in October Marco Odermatt won the World Cup Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden showing that he will be the man to beat this year in Giant Slalom. It was Odermatt’s 3rd career Giant Slalom win and his 5th victory in the World Cup. Despite a small mistake on the steep section of the slope, Odermatt was able to ski to the finish line with a winning run time.
He claimed his first World Cup wins in this discipline last season in Santa Caterina on 7 December 2020 and in Kranjska Gora on 13 March 2021.
Marco Odermatt finished in the top-five in 12 of the last 13 Giant Slalom events in the World Cup. He finished in Lenzerheide's race in 11th place and closed the season in second place in the Giant slalom and Overall standings.
Last season Alexis Pinturault celebrates his birthday with a victory at Lenzerheide and grabbed the Overall and Giant Slalom Crystal Globes. The three-time Olympic medalist overtook Switzerland's Marco Odermatt in the overall and Giant Slalom standings.
It was the first Giant Slalom Crystal Globe for Pinturault after finishing on the podium in the GS standings in each of the previous eight seasons. Only Ingemar Stenmark (11) finished in the top-three of the men's GS classification more often. The Swede won the Giant Slalom globe a record eight times.
The Men's Giant Slalom crystal globe was won by a French skier on four previous occasions: Killy in 1966-1967 and 1967-1968, Patrick Russel in 1970-1971, and Frederic Covili in 2001-2002.
Alexis Pinturault finished in the top-five in each of the ten Giant Slalom events of the World Cup 2020-2021 season. He claimed three successive wins in Alta Badia and Adelboden (2). He claims four Giant Slalom wins in a World Cup season for the second time, after 2015-2016.
He has achieved a total of 18 World Cup wins in the Giant Slalom. His victory last year in the Finals in Lenzerheide was also his 34th career World Cup Victory, nine best on the all-time list.
Filip Zubcic has finished in the top three in nine of the last 13 World Cup Giant Slalom races. This run includes wins in Naeba (February 2020), Santa Caterina (December 2020), Bansko, and Lenzerheide.
Zubcic (3) is one of only three skiers representing Croatia to win a World Cup event, alongside siblings Janica (30) and Ivica Kostelic (26).
With his second place in Kranjska Gora and his third place in Adelboden, Loic Meillard has achieved 4 World Cup podiums in the Giant Slalom. He was second in Saalbach in 2018, and second in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2020.
Last season he finished in the Top-8 in eight of the 10 Giant Slalom Races.
Mathieu Faivre has finished on the podium in four of his last six Giant Slalom appearances including the World Championship gold in Cortina 2021.
After finishing in second place in Bansko’s first Giant Slalom, Mathieu Faivre got back to his winning ways in commanding fashion, topping Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt and teammate Alexis Pinturault in the second race held in Bansko. It was his second career World Cup victory. Faivre's previous World Cup win was in Val d’Isère, France, in December 2016.
Until last season Henrik Kristoffersen finished in the top-three of the overall standings in each of the previous five seasons. He ranked second in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018, and third in 2016-2017, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020.
In the 2019-2020 season, Kristoffersen became the first man other than Marcel Hirscher to win the Slalom and Giant Slalom crystal globes in one season since Benjamin Raich in 2004-2005.
Kristoffersen finished on the podium in Val d'Isère in Giant Slalom twice. He was second in 2018 and third in 2016.
The Norwegian won the Slalom in the French resort back in 2015 and 2016. He finished in second place in 2017.
Žan Kranjec has won two World Cup events, both in the Giant Slalom. He won in Saalbach-Hinterglemm on 19 December 2018 and in Adelboden on 11 January 2020. Last year he finished in second place in the first race held in Santa Caterina.
The Slovenian finished in third place in the Opening Giant Slalom in Sölden. It was Kranjec's 8th podium in Giant Slalom.
Manuel Feller closed the 2020-2021 World Cup season with a victory, winning the last slalom race of the season in Lenzerheide. He beats Clement Noel by a slim 0.08 seconds and Overall World Cup winner Alexis Pinturault by 0.11 seconds in a very tight race.
Last season, seven different skiers have claimed a World Cup win in the slalom. Not since 2008-2009 have there been seven different slalom winners in the men's World Cup. The record number of slalom winners in a single World Cup season is nine, achieved in 1985-1986 and 1999-2000.
Ramon Zenhaeusern (Alta Badia, December 21)
Henrik Kristoffersen (Madonna, December 22 and Chamonix, January 31)
Linus Strasser (Zagreb, January 6)
Marco Schwarz (Adelboden, January 10 and Schladming January 26)
Manuel Feller (Flachau, January 16 and Lenzerheide, March 21)
Sebastian Foss-Solevåg (Flachau, January 17)
Clément Noël (Chamonix, January 30 and Kranjska Gora, March 14)
Marco Schwarz won the Slalom crystal globe in the 2020-2021 World Cup. It marked a record-extending 16th win for Austria in the Men's Slalom standings.
The last two male skiers to successfully defend their Slalom crystal globe both represent Austria: Thomas Sykora (1996-1997, and 1997-1998) and Marcel Hirscher (2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2016-2017, and 20182019).
Three of the last eight men's World Cup slalom events held in Val d'Isère were won by Austrian skiers: Hirscher in 2010 and 2017, and Mario Matt in 2013.
Clément Noël finished second in the slalom standings in each of the last three World Cup seasons. He can become the third Frenchman in the last 50 World Cup seasons to win the slalom globe, after Sébastien Amiez (1995-1996) and Jean-Baptiste Grange (2008-2009).
Noël has claimed eight World Cup wins in the slalom discipline, two of which came on French snow, both in Chamonix (2020, 2021).
The latest French skier to win the opening slalom event of a World Cup season was Jean-Baptiste Grange, who won the opener in Levi in 2010-2011.
Last season Ramon Zenhäusern won the opening slalom event in the World Cup, in Alta Badia on 21 December. It was his second World Cup win in the slalom, after his victory in Kranjska Gora in 2019.
Zenhäusern finished runner-up in the two most recent World Cup slalom events held in France, in Chamonix on 30 and 31 January 2021. A Swiss skier has yet to win a men's World Cup slalom event on French snow.
Henrik Kristoffersen has won 19 World Cup slalom events, ranking him fourth on the men's list behind Ingemar Stenmark (40), Alberto Tomba (35), and Marcel Hirscher (32). Kristoffersen has claimed a joint-record three men's World Cup slalom wins in France, alongside Stenmark and Hirscher.
The Norwegian won the Slalom in the French resort of Val d'Isère back in 2015 and 2016. He finished in second place in 2017.
Sebastian Foss Solevåg's two slalom wins at the world level both came in 2021, in the World Cup in Flachau on 17 January and at the World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo on 21 February.
Solevåg can become the second Norwegian man to achieve three slalom victories at the world level in a single calendar year, after Kristoffersen: three in 2015, six in 2016, three in 2017.
Of Alexis Pinturault's three World Cup wins in the slalom, two came in Val d'Isère (2012, 2019). He is the only Frenchman who has won the Val d'Isère slalom in the World Cup. Only Kristoffersen, Pinturault, and Hirscher (all 2) have won multiple men's World Cup slalom events in Val d'Isère.