It was hard to whittle down, but we have picked the Top 10 moments from the Audi FIS World Cup men’s season. See if you agree with our fondest memories from the last season.
A unique kick-off
It was clear that the 2020-21 season would be like none other in World Cup history at the opening in Soelden, where empty stands greeted the athletes. It would be a sight everyone would get used to, but it was a surreal scene in Soelden. On the slopes, it soon became clear that the torch was being passed to a new generation of athletes as rookie Norwegian Luca Braathen claimed the surprise victory. It would prove to be the first of many unexpected performances during the season.
The Podium Shuffle
Do you believe in miracles? Certainly, Martin Cater did after he won the downhill race in Val d’Isere with bib 41, teaching the rest of the field, never count your chickens before they hatch. It was the first career World Cup victory for Carter, and a performance that few will soon forget, including eventual second place finisher Otmar Striedinger.
Welcome to Norway
Val Gardena should be called Norway South as the Attacking Vikings have had much success on the Saaslong slope in the last decade. Before he suffered a torn ACL in training in mid-January, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was in the hunt for his second Overall Title thanks in large part to his double victory in the downhill and super-G in Val Gardena. The last man to complete the same double? None other than Aksel Lund Svindal.
Much like Kilde, American Ryan Cochran-Siegle was in top form at the end of the December. It started with a second place run in the Val Gardena downhill and cumulated with his first career victory in the Bormio downhill. Sadly, for the American, Cochrain-Siegle suffered a season-ending injury shortly afterwards during the Kitzbuehel weekend, making everyone wonder what could have been for the man who was in the zone before the getting hurt.
It was already a rarity that Adelboden was hosting back-to-back giant slalom races as they were one of many organizers to pick up extra races due to the Covid-19 calendar shuffle. But the unique circumstances soon turned into a history-making performance as Alexis Pinturault turned in two amazing races, stringing together four fantastic runs to become the first man to win two giant slaloms back-to-back in Adelboden. The Vogelisi was proud indeed.
The Flachau slalom also turned into a double-header this season, setting up not one, but two first-time World Cup victories. Manuel Feller lived the dream on Saturday when he earned his first career win on home soil. The next day, Norwegian Sebastian Foss-Solevaag claimed his long-awaited first-time victory.
Patience Pays off
Good things came in twos through much of the season. Adding to the double delight was the performance of Beat Feuz in Kitzbuehel. Normally the challenging Streif is enough to leave any athlete with nothing left in the tanks. But less than 24 hours after claiming his first victory in Kitzbuehel, Feuz turned around and found the power to conquer the hardest World Cup downhill a second time in a row. The two wins were his first-ever in the downhill in Kitzbuehel.
If there’s one man virtually everyone was rooting for this season it was Dominik Paris. After he suffered a devastating ACL injury last season, the Italian was slowly getting back into top racing form. At the downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, everything finally clicked for the veteran and a little more than one year after his injury he was back on the top step of the podium again.
Marco’s magical week
Marco Odermatt put his name on the small list of athletes vying for the Overall Title thanks to an incredible week. It started with a victory in the super-G in Saalbach with a sensational run. He followed-up with a victory in his signature discipline in the giant slalom in Kranjska Gora. After the two wins, all eyes turned to the young Swiss racer as he was soon within striking distance of veteran Alexis Pinturualt for the Big Globe.
Best Birthday Ever
There was no mid-life crisis for Alexis Pinturault on his 30th birthday. The Frenchman finally got what was long overdue when he secured both the giant slalom globe and the Overall Title when he won the last giant slalom of the season. His victory was enough to stave of Marco Odermatt and write his name in the history books as the 2020-21 World Cup champion.