Swiss Marco Odermatt and American Mikaela Shriffin return to the track as defending champions and both are looking for their third success in a row. They start this season as the big favorites to win the final.
2023/24 World Ski Championships: Who will stop Odermatt and Shriffin?
The traditional giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, opens the fifty-eighth edition of the Alpine Ski World Cup on Saturday, October 28. In total, ninety races will be held between men and women, divided into four disciplines: Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super Giant and Downhill. Closes on March 24 with the Saalbach-Hinterglemm final as an appetizer for the 2025 World Championship to be held in the same venue.
White Circus will compete mainly in Europe (Italy, Austria, France, Slovenia, Germany, Bulgaria and Switzerland). Three stops confirmed in the United States and the new entrance to Mont-Tremblant in Canada, which will host two women’s giant slaloms on December 2 and 3. While the Zermatt-Cervinia descents on November 18 and 19 open the season of speed, they also mark the first shared stage in the history of the World Cup organized by two countries, Italy and Switzerland.
On the men’s front, Marco Odermatt seems to have no rivals, having achieved thirteen wins and nine podiums last season, winning the overall title as well as the Giant and Super-G trophies. New points record in a single season: 2042. We are starting to expect a series of possible successes from the 26-year-old Odermatt in downhill races, especially after the Courchevel World Championships, where he won the gold medal.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, last year’s overall runner-up and winner of the bumpy championship greatly improve performanceIf Giant really wants to worry Odermatt. However, considering that he failed to finish even three of the seven races he participated in last season, it seems difficult to imagine a comeback.
Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, who won silver in the giant slalom at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, has reached the podium in seven of the last eight seasons but does not appear equipped to worry Odermatt. Austrian Marco Schwarz’s situation is differentHaving shown last year that she is capable of excellent performance in all disciplines, winning a bronze medal in the giant slalom at the World Championships and three podiums at the World Cup, as well as a second place in the Super-G and a fourth place in the downhill (fourth at the World Championships). If he finds solidity in slalom, he could be Odermatt’s real rival.
This seems even more pronounced among women Leadership by Mikaela ShiffrinAfter overcoming this last season, Record 86 World Cup victoriesAcquired from Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark, he now aims to win his sixth overall title. Had she been confirmed as champion, she would have joined the legendary Annemarie Moser-Proell as the most successful skier ever.
Shriffin, who is 12 wins away from reaching one hundred goals, is already being evaluated by most experts best skier of all time and there seems to be no one among his colleagues who can stop him. Petra Vlhova and Wendy Holdener in slalom, Federica Brignone and Lara Gut-Behrami in Giant and Super-G, Sofia Goggia in downhill could target discipline trophies but still stay away from the American.
Watch out for Croatian Zrinka Ljutic, who reached the podium for the first time in her career last year at the age of 20. Also worth following Sweden’s Hanna Aronsson Elfmandespite a left foot injury slowing down her preparations and young Italian Lara Colturi competing for Albania. The 16-year-old daughter of Olympic champion Daniela Ceccarelli, great things are being said about her and it will be interesting to see how she recovers from the severe injury she suffered to her anterior cruciate ligament last February.
Italians are hopeful
On the men’s side, the blue blanket is quite short. Dominik Paris now appears to be nearing the end of his free climbing career, as does 34-year-old Mattia Casse, who is coming off the 2022/2023 season as the best of his career. Alex Vinatzer showed that he is at the top of the slalom, but he still lacks consistency. Schieder in Super G, Tommaso Sala and Filippo Della Vite will follow him in the slalomIn the giant slalom, we will see what De Aliprandini and Zingerle have to come up with. Last season of Giuliano Razzoli and Stefano Gross.
We start among women Italian ski star Sofia GoggiaHe has been the winner of the Downhill Cup for three years and is ready for a fourth success in a row. It would be nice to imagine him challenging Shriffin for the overall title, but so far he hasn’t found a rhythm despite having the qualifications. There are also high expectations for Federica Brignone, especially in the Super-G, while Marta Bassino (she needs to return to her own levels) and Elena Curtoni (the 2022/2023 season was good) should be considered at a very high level.