Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Mario Matt ends slalom drought in Val d'Isere

updated 3:28 AM EST, Mon December 16, 2013
Mario Matt won his 14th World Cup slalom to tie his fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich.
Mario Matt won his 14th World Cup slalom to tie his fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mario Matt won his 14th World Cup slalom when he beat the field in Val d'Isere
  • He tied fellow Austrian Benny Raich in slalom victories and won for the first time since 2011
  • Americans Ted Ligety and Bode Miller didn't feature in the second run
  • Tessa Worley won a giant slalom in St. Moritz ahead of Jessica Lindell-Vikarby

(CNN) -- The wait is over for Mario Matt.

Matt ended a nearly three-year drought on the World Cup circuit when he won the slalom on the icy Face de Bellevarde in Val d'Isere, France on Sunday.

He now has 14 slalom victories, putting him into a tie for fifth in the record books with fellow Austrian Benny Raich.

At 34, he is the oldest man to win a World Cup slalom race -- having placed second earlier this season in Finland -- and he moved to the top of the overall standings after last season's champion Marcel Hirscher failed to qualify for the second run.

"I am very happy about this result," the two-time slalom world champion was quoted as saying by the website of alpine skiing's governing body. "I was a few times on the podium in the past two years but since (Slovenia) in 2011 I couldn't win."

Matt posted the fastest time in the first run and held his nerve in the second to beat Sweden's Mattias Hargin by 0.13 seconds and Italy's Patrick Thaler by nearly 0.40 seconds.

Hargin made up ground in the second run but not quite enough. He still, though, collected his first World Cup podium in two years.

Could these avalanche airbags save lives?
Meet the world's best slalom skier
Making a world-class ski course

Thaler, too, finished in the top three for the first time in a while -- since 2009.

"It's a special day for me," said the 35-year-old. "I was fighting for many years to come back on the podium and I have to thank a lot of people."

Ted Ligety had a weekend to forget in Val d'Isere.

A day after he failed to take part in the second run of a World Cup giant slalom for the first time in four years, the American didn't qualify for Sunday's second run, too.

Former overall champion Bode Miller didn't complete the first run, either.

"It was tough conditions where it was very hard snow but very grippy," U.S. men's alpine head coach Sasha Rearick told his team's website. "We've been training on ice getting ready for Val d'Isere and we didn't make that transition very well today.

"That's something we've got to work on in the future."

Read: Ligety's streak over

Worley wins in St. Moritz

At the women's giant slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland, France's Tessa Worley beat Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby by 0.37 seconds and Slovenia's Tina Maze by 0.79 seconds.

But two big names didn't finish the first run -- overall leader Lara Gut of Switzerland and young U.S. phenom Mikaela Shiffrin. Shiffrin had bib No. 1.

"I don't know how many people actually slid out where Mikaela did," said U.S. women's alpine head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. "There were a few. The snow was aggressive and at the same time somehow a little slick, because we saw the same type of DNFs (did not finishes) multiple times today."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:37 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Olympic medalist Henrik Kristoffersen takes snowmobile ride on a frozen lake in Sweden.
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
American skier Lindsey Vonn poses with a crystal globe after claiming the title of overall World Cup winner at the Alpine ski World Cup finals in March 2012.
Football has its 18-carat-gold World Cup trophy, and ice hockey the silver and nickel Stanley Cup, but skiing's globes are something else...
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
Austrian skiers Anna Fenninger and Marcel Hirscher reflect on their World Cup triumphs.
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Christina Macfarlane explores how skiing's coveted Crystal Globe is made.
updated 9:04 AM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
The ghostly lights wind up from the base of the mountain. Heart rates are also rising. This race is held on a notorious downhill ski course -- but in reverse.
updated 1:46 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
CNN's Christina Macfarlane looks back at the history of Austria's Kitzbuhel ski race.
updated 1:49 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
CNN's Christina Macfarlane explores a new technology that customizes the entire boot to your foot.
updated 12:15 AM EST, Tue February 4, 2014
If you're scared of heights, then this is not for you -- a glass cube perched at the top of a 12,600-foot peak in the French Alps.
updated 6:27 AM EST, Mon December 16, 2013
CNN's Christina Macfarlane goes on patrol with a a seasoned ski rescue team in the French Alps.
updated 6:25 AM EST, Mon December 16, 2013
CNN's Christina Macfarlane meets Giant Slalom world champion Tessa Worley in Lyon, France.
updated 10:56 AM EST, Fri December 13, 2013
From GoPro cameras to avalanche airbags. CNN's Christina MacFarlane puts the latest skiing gadgets to the test.
updated 11:59 AM EST, Mon December 2, 2013
CNN's Christina MacFarlane talks to teenage skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin.
updated 11:59 AM EST, Mon December 2, 2013
CNN's Christina Macfarlane finds out how designers and engineers made Beaver Creek race course from scratch.
ADVERTISEMENT