Zagreb Slalom Races Preview
On January 4th and 5th, the World’s top male and female skiers will gather in Zagreb (Croatia) for the "Snow Queen Trophy" 2021 races in the Sljeme's "Crveni spust" Slalom course.
Slalom. Women. Tuesday, January 4th. 1st run 12:30, 2nd run 16:05 (CET)
Slalom. Men. Wednesday, January 5th. 1st run 15:30, 2nd run 18:40 (CET)
The Snow Queen Trophy races have been taking place since 2005. That year the Croatian Ski Association (HSS) organized the first Ladies World Cup Slalom race, turning Zagreb into an unavoidable stop on the World Cup calendar. In 2008, a Men’s Slalom race was introduced and since then the Snow Queen Trophy races have been among the most-watched World Cup races. Snow Queen Trophy races are special in many respects: only at the Sljeme races are the winners of the men’s and ladies’ races crowned Snow King and Queen, and the atmosphere surrounding the races is praised by not only the world’s best slalom skiers but also all the visitors. Consequently, in 2013, the Snow Queen Trophy races were admitted to the Club5 Ski Classics, which gathers traditional organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races. Zagreb has thus joined the company of the leading organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races, including Val Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kitzbühel, Wengen, and Val d’Isere.
The Croatian capital Zagreb Ski Area is only twenty minutes away from the city center. The ski slopes are situated on the northern slopes of Medvednica, beginning at the Sljeme peak and using the varied configuration of the terrain, thus providing slopes of different levels of difficulty.
Last season, for the second year in a row, Petra Vlhova won the "Snow Queen Trophy" in the Sljeme's "Crveni spust" Slalom course.
Petra Vlhova recorded a podium in four of her seven World Cup slalom races in Zagreb. Two wins in 2020 and 2021, and two second places in 2017 and 2019Vlhová joins Marcel Hirscher (5), Mikaela Shiffrin (4), Marlies Schild (4), and Tanja Poutiainen (2) as the only skiers on multiple slalom World Cup wins in Zagreb. She has only collected more World Cup slalom wins and podiums in Levi (5 wins, 7 podiums).
A consistent Katharina Liensberger finished in second place with Michelle Gisin finishing third 0.22 sec. behind the winner.
Petra Vlhová is leading the Slalom standings. She won three races -Levi (2) and Lienz and finished second behind Mikaela
Shiffrin in the Killington slalom.
The Slovakian is level with Perrine Pelen (both 15) in seventh place on the women's list for most World Cup slalom victories. Anja Pärson (17) is in sixth place.
Since the start of 2020, Vlhová has won 10 of the 16 slalom events held in the women's World Cup. Mikaela Shiffrin (3), Katharina Liensberger (2) and Michelle Gisin (1) won the other six.
Mikaela Shiffrin won the Zagreb slalom on four occasions in the World Cup: in 2013, 2015, 2018, and in 2019.
Only in Killington (5) has Shiffrin collected more than four World Cup slalom wins.
She finished on the podium in each of her last eight slalom participation in the World Cup, since the fourth place in Zagreb on 3 January 2021.
In her last 55 World Cup slalom participations, Shiffrin finished on the podium 51 times (37 wins).
Katharina Liensberger, last season's winner of the slalom crystal globe, finished second in the last slalom of the year heal in Lienz on 29 December. It was her first World
Cup podium of the season.
Liensberger finished on the podium in the last two slalom events held in Zagreb: third in 2020 and second in 2021. The only Austrian woman to win the Zagreb slalom in the World Cup was Marlies Schild (2006, 2007, 2011, 2012). She could claim more than two World Cup slalom podiums at a single resort for the first time.
Switzerland's only women's World Cup Slalom win in the last 20 years was achieved by Michelle Gisin in Semmering on 29 December 2020. She finished third in Lienz on 29 December. Last year, Gisin finished third in the Zagreb slalom.
Eighth after the opening run, Germany's Linus Strasser, didn't let anyone prevent him from earning her first Slalom World Cup victory. It was the first time ever that a German claimed the victory in Zagreb and the first non-parallel race podium for him (previously he was on the podium in three City Events, once at the top of it). His previous best result in slalom was the fifth position in Schladming in 2015.
Austrian teammates Manuel Feller and Marco Schwarz were second and third respectively +0.10 and +0.16 seconds behind the German skier.
Clément Noël won the season slalom opener in Val d'Isère. He (9) is one of three Frenchmen to have won at least nine slalom events in the World Cup, alongside Jean Noël Augert (13) and Patrick Russel (9).
Noël won the slalom event in Zagreb on 5 January 2020. The only male skier to win multiple World Cup slalom events in Zagreb is Marcel Hirscher (5).
Noël achieved all 16 of his World Cup slalom podiums since the start of 2019. In this same period, no other male skier claimed more than nine slalom podiums in the World Cup.
Sebastian Foss Solevåg won the last slalom of 2020, in Madonna di Campiglio on 22 December. It was the Norwegian's third world-level victory in the slalom, after a World Cup win in Flachau on January 2021 and gold at the world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo on February 2021.
Solevåg can become the first man to win back-to-back slalom events in the World Cup since Daniel Yule in January 2020.
The most recent Norwegian man to claim successive World Cup wins in the slalom was Henrik Kristoffersen in January 2017.
Norway's best results in the men's slalom in Zagreb are third places by Kristoffersen (2017, 2018) and Solevåg (2015).
Kristoffer Jakobsen is the only man to finish on the podium in both slalom events this World Cup season. The Swede finished second in Val d'Isère and third in Madonna di Campiglio, claiming his first career World Cup podiums.
Jakobsen can become the first Swedish man to win a World Cup slalom event since André Myhrer in Aspen in March 2017. Sweden's last win in the men's slalom was Myhrer's gold medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Swedish skiers have collected three World Cup podiums in the men's slalom in Zagreb. In 2011, Myhrer won the event with Mattias Hargin joining him on the podium in third place. Myhrer also finished runner-up in the Croatian resort in 2013.
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's 19 World Cup wins in the Men's Slalom are already most for a Norwegian skier in a single discipline (17 by Aksel Lund Svindal in Men's super-G).
Marco Schwarz, the winner of last season's slalom crystal globe, failed to post a result in the opening two slalom events of this season. The last man to win the men's slalom crystal globe after not collecting any points in the first two events was Benjamin Raich in 2000-2001.
Schwarz finished third in last season's slalom event contested in Zagreb.
The two Austrian men to have won this event in the World Cup are Marcel Hirscher (a record five times) and Mario Matt.
Alexis Pinturault finished second in the slalom in Madonna di Campiglio. It was his 12th World Cup podium in this discipline. The Frenchman won three slalom events in the World Cup, the last one in Val d'Isère in December 2019.