Alpine skiers are notorious for not being able to win two days in a row. It’s not superstition. It’s not sore legs. It’s a little thing called a hangover.
And yet, ask a professional ski racer what mornings they’ve turned in their best runs and they’ll almost always smile and say it’s when they hit the tiny window, those precious few moments when the haze from the night before hasn’t totally cleared and the harsh light of the next day hasn’t quite set in.
And everything is loose, and all senses are firing and, even if they’re not—who cares. It’s the golden hour.
Alexis Pinturault hit the golden hour on Saturday.
For the second straight day, the Frenchman topped the podium at the Audi FIS men’s World Cup giant slalom in Adelboden.
— FIS Alpine (@fisalpine) January 9, 2021
On Friday, it was a cruise to victory on one of the 29-year-old’s most convincing wins of his storied career.
Rule of Threes for Frenchman as He Climbs All-Time Wins List
By Saturday’s second run, he stood in the starting gate relaxed, comfortable in second after the first run with Swiss technician Loic Melliard a couple tenths of a second in front on his home snow. A seamless second run, the kind only the golden window provides, put Pinturault on the top of the podium for good.
“I am very happy to get these two wins here in Adelboden,” Pinturault said after the race. “It was, for sure, very difficult today. Loic had such a strong first run that I knew I had to push hard in the second run. It’s a long break until the next giant slalom at the World Championships in Cortina.”
For a second straight day, he finished ahead of Croatian Filip Zubcic, who finished a whopping 1.26 seconds off the pace. Despite a mistake halfway through the course that almost sent him to ta DNF, Meillard hung on for his third career giant slalom podium.
This season Pinturault is putting one on over the rest of the field in giant slalom standings with 440 points. Swiss skier Marco Odermatt, who placed fourth Saturday, is second with 400.
It was also a rule of three for Pinturault. His third-straight giant slalom victory, third career victory in Adelboden, and 33rd career World Cup victory tying him for 9th on the all-time list with Bode Miller.
Scary Moment for American Tommy Ford
It should be noted that American Tommy Ford had a bad crash just before the finish when he careened and went over his skies hitting his head and crashing into the course’s safety net on his second run. Though he was reportedly conscious and and responsive in the wake of the crash he was transported to Bern by helicopter for further evaluation
2️⃣ in the top 2️⃣0️⃣ in @adelboden19 today, led by Ryan Cochran-Siegle in 19th. Sadly, @ibeTommyFord had a bad crash. Prior to loading in the helicopter, he was conscious. He was taken to the hospital for evaluation—more details will be forthcoming.🙏https://t.co/j24UhVztOZ
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) January 9, 2021
Adelboden will host its third and final race of the stop Sunday with a slalom race to wrap the long weekend of events in the sport’s cradle.