MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy — Without a falling drone to stop him, Marcel Hirscher finally reclaimed his superiority on Italy’s most challenging slalom hill.
After setting the fastest opening run, the six-time defending overall champion from Austria recovered from a major error toward the end of his second trip down the steep Canalone Miramonti course and claimed his 49th World Cup win on Friday.
Hirscher finished 0.04 seconds ahead of combined world champion Luca Aerni of Switzerland, who recorded the first podium result of his career.
Henrik Kristoffersen, the Norwegian who won this race the past two years, finished third, 0.05 behind.
Two years ago, Hirscher narrowly escaped getting hit by a camera drone that fell from the sky within inches of his head as he was competing in this race.
Hirscher finished second in Campiglio the last two years, with his only previous win in the Trentino resort coming in 2012.
“Today I’m the lucky one — finally,” Hirscher said.
Hirscher had built a lead of nearly seven-tenths when he misjudged a gate and skied far off line, prompting him to jam on the brakes in order to clear the next gate — which he did just barely.
“I was shocked after this mistake,” Hirscher said. “I thought after this moment, ‘Full gas.'”
The performance was reminiscent of when Italian great Alberto Tomba nearly came to a stop during a slalom in Lech, Austria, in 1994 but also recovered and won.
Tomba was in attendance to see Hirscher’s victory and awarded the Austrian during the podium ceremony.
Alexander Khoroshilov, the Russian who stood second after the opening run, straddled a gate shortly into his second trip down.
Hirscher reclaimed the overall lead from Kristoffersen, moving 29 points ahead.
In the slalom standings, Kristoffersen holds a six-point lead over Hirscher even though he has yet to win a race this season.