This weekend started the beginning of the winter season in Sölden, where the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup starts every year. This season marks the 56th consecutive year of the competition and will last until March, when the last trial will take place in Courchevel. With the slogan being “Ladies First”, this Saturday took place the Women’s Giant Slalom while the Men’s competition took place on Sunday.

This Giant Slalom is Alpine skiing’s fastest technical event, whose ranking is based on two heats that take place on the same day. The times are added together to determine the winner and the skiers are required to pass through the gates and reach the finish line as quickly as possible.

This year’s winners of the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup first race in Sölden are Mikaela Shiffrin, who is crowned as winner for the 70th time in the Alpine Ski World Cup and Marco Odermatt, who wins in an extremely close competition for the first time with only 0.07 seconds advantage.

Mikaela Shiffrin wins at the Giant Slalom for 13th times

American Mikaela Shiffrin does it again and wins the gold medal in the first event in Sölden at 1 min 2.82 seconds. With this being the 70th victory for the Olympic champion, the 13th at the Giant Slalom and the second in Sölden, Mikaela Shiffrin starts this year’s competition in style.

After the race, Shiffrin declared “I’m super happy, today was a pleasure to ski in these conditions, the slope was exceptionally well prepared. I came back to win here after so many years, it’s true, but October is early for many athletes and the season has just started. Here I have learned from negative and positive situations, today is certainly a good day for the sensations on the slope and for the result.”

Mikaela Shiffrin at Sölden 2021
Mikaela Shiffrin wins the Giant Slalom at Sölden

With Saturday’s victory, Mikaela Shiffrin makes history by winning at least one time on the Alpine Ski World Cup for the last 10 consecutive years and she has become the first athlete to win at least one giant slalom for six consecutive seasons.  Last year she won at Corchevel, where she was the fastests of the race.

Along Shiffrin, there were two big names on the Sölden podium. On second place there is Lara Gut Behrami, from Switzerland, who had taken the lead in the first heat by 2 hundreths over Shriffin. The Slovakian Petra Vhlova finished on third place after a small comeback from the first part of the race.

The Swiss Marco Odermatt wins for the first time in Sölden

Marco Odermatt opened the male’s World Cup by winning the Sölden Giant after a tought race in which only 0.10 seconds were splitting the top three. With this weekend’s victory, Marco Odermatt marks his third World Cup and fifth if you include the Super-G events.

The Swiss was only seven hundredths of a second ahead of Austria’s Roland Leitinger and one tenth ahead of Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec. Leitinger was extremely close to winning what could have been his first World Cup victory after finishing the first run with the quickest time. Similarly, Kranjec declared that he is happy about having shown good skiing, and this good start has made him more confident this season.

Marco Odermatt and the male podium at Sölden
Male podium at the season opener in Sölden with Marco Odermatt as the winner

Marco Odermatt had already affirmed that he is growing competitively, and on this occasion he declared: “I want to take it race by race, but for sure the globes are there, and the they’re the big goal for the season. When you come second last season, you want to be better, and with a start like this, it has given me a lot of confidence for the next races. We’ll see if we can stay there until the final week.”