Last season Norwegian sensation Lucas Braathen stole the show at the World Cup 2020-2021 opening race in Sölden as he edged Swiss Marco Odermatt by 0.06 seconds to claim his first-ever World Cup win and podium. He is also the youngest winner in Sölden ever.
Fifth in the first run, Braathen attacked the Rettenbach slope for the second time in his career (he finished 6th with bib 40 last year) with his light-hearted and fearless attitude that enabled him to achieve his first World Cup victory after only 23 races from his debut.
The second run was crucial also for another young talent, Marco Odermatt. He was the fastest skier in the second run and was able to climb back from seventh to second place.
Swiss team-mate Gino Caviezel, who was in the lead in the first run, completed the podium with a solid second run. It was also the first World Cup podium for Caviezel.
Five racers have won at least one Giant Slalom Race last season:
Alexis Pinturault 4, Alta Badia, Adelboden (2), Lenzerheide
Filip Zubcic 2, Santa Caterina, Bansko
Marco Odermatt 2, Santa Caterina, Kranjska Gora
Mathieu Faivre 1, Bansko
Lucas Braathen 1, Sölden
12 racers were on the podium last season:
Alexis Pinturault (4-0-1)
Filip Zubcic (2-3-1)
Marco Odermatt (2-2-2)
Mathieu Faivre (1-1-1)
Lucas Braathen (1-0-0)
Loic Meillard (0-1-1)
Zan Kranjec (0-1-0)
Tommy Ford (0-1-0)
Atle Lie McGrath (0-1-0)
Stefan Brennsteiner (0-0-2)
Justin Murisier (0-0-1)
Gino Caviezel (0-0-1)
Last season Alexis Pinturault celebrates his birthday with a victory at Lenzerheide and grabs the Overall and Giant Slalom Crystal Globes. The three-time Olympic medalist overtook Switzerland's Marco Odermatt in the overall and Giant Slalom standings.
Alexis Pinturault won the 2020-2021 Men's Overall World Cup Winner after finishing runner-up twice. Pinturault is the third Frenchman to win the Overall Globe, after Jean-Claude Killy (1966-1967, 1967-1968) and Luc Alphand (1996-1997). It is also the first Giant Slalom Crystal Globe for him after finishing on the podium in the GS standings in each of the previous eight seasons. Only Ingemar Stenmark (11) finished in the top-three of the men's GS classification more often. The Swede won the Giant Slalom globe a record eight times.
Pinturault had already won seven World Cup Globes, six times in the Men's Alpine combined and one in the Parallel Event.
The Men's Giant Slalom crystal globe was won by a French skier on four previous occasions: Killy in 1966-1967 and 1967-1968, Patrick Russel in 1970-1971, and Frederic Covili in 2001-2002.
Alexis Pinturault finished in the top-five in each of the ten Giant Slalom events of the World Cup season. He claimed three successive wins in Alta Badia and Adelboden (2).
He claims four Giant Slalom wins in a World Cup season for the second time, after 2015-2016.
He has achieved a total of 18 World Cup wins in the Giant Slalom. His victory last year in the Finals in Lenzerheide was also his 34th career World Cup Victory, nine best on the all-time list.
Alexis Pinturault had won two medals in the Alpine World Ski Championships held in Cortina including an impressive bronze in the Super-G, and silver in the Alpine Combined.
Pinturault won two GS events held in Sölden, on 23 October 2016 and on 27 October 2019. Only Ted Ligety (4) and Hermann Maier (3) achieved three men's World Cup Giant Slalom wins in Sölden.
Marco Odermatt finished in the top-five in 11 of the last 12 Giant Slalom events in the World Cup. He finished in Lenzerheide's race in 11th place and closed the season in second place in the Giant slalom and Overall standings.
He claimed his first career World Cup wins in the Giant Slalom as he emerged victorious in Santa Caterina on 7 December 2020 and in Kranjska Gora on 13 March 2021.
Filip Zubcic has finished in the top three in nine of the last 12 World Cup Giant Slalom races. This run includes wins in Naeba (February 2020), Santa Caterina (December 2020), Bansko, and Lenzerheide.
Zubcic (3) is one of only three skiers representing Croatia to win a World Cup event, alongside siblings Janica (30) and Ivica Kostelic (26).
Only two skiers representing Croatia have won a World Cup standing: siblings Janica (10) and Ivica Kostelic (6). The Kostelic siblings won crystal globes in the Overall, the Slalom and Alpine combined, but never in the giant slalom.
With his second place in Kranjska Gora and his third place in Adelboden, Loic Meillard has achieved 4 World Cup podiums in the Giant Slalom. He was second in Saalbach in 2018, and second in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2020.
Last season he finished in the Top-8 in eight of the 10 Giant Slalom Races. He didn’t qualify for the second run in Alta Badia and failed to finish the first run in Lenzerheide.
Mathieu Faivre has finished on the podium in four of his last five Giant Slalom appearances including the World Championship gold in Cortina 2021.
After finishing in second place in Bansko’s first Giant Slalom, Mathieu Faivre got back to his winning ways in commanding fashion, topping Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt and teammate Alexis Pinturault in the second race held in Bansko. It was his second career World Cup victory. Faivre's previous World Cup win was in Val d’Isère, France, in December 2016.
For Mathieu Faivre, Cortina’s gold medal was his second at the World Championships as he has emerged as the unlikely hero of the second week in Cortina, joining Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr and Swiss Lara Gut in Cortina the double-gold club. Faivre also won the Parallel race in Cortina.
Luca De Aliprandini, silver medallist in this event at the world championships in Cortina, can become the first Italian man to reach a World Cup podium in the Giant Slalom since Florian Eisath came third in Alta Badia on 18 December 2016. The last Italian man to win a GS in the World Cup was Massimiliano Blardone in Crans-Montana on 26 February 2012.
In the last two seasons, Austria failed to win a single men's Giant Slalom event for the first time since the 1992-1993 season. The last Austrian other than Marcel Hirscher to win a Men's GS in the World Cup was Philipp Schörghofer in Hinterstoder on 6 February 2011.
Marco Schwarz, bronze medallist in Giant Slalom at the world championships in Cortina is better known for his Slalom skills and Cortina marked his first top-level podium finish in the GS.
Until last season Henrik Kristoffersen finished in the top-three of the overall standings in each of the previous five seasons. He ranked second in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018, and third in 2016-2017, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020.
In the 2019-2020 season, Kristoffersen became the first man other than Marcel Hirscher to win the Slalom and Giant Slalom crystal globes in one season since Benjamin Raich in 2004-2005.
Henrik Kristoffersen became the fourth Norwegian to win the GS crystal globe, after Ole Christian Furuseth (1988-1989, 1989-1990), Kjetil André Aamodt (1992-1993), and Aksel Lund Svindal (2006-2007). Marcel Hirscher had won each of the previous five crystal globes in the GS. The last man other than Hirscher to win successive Giant Slalom globes was Ted Ligety in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.
Kristoffersen has won four giant slalom events in the World Cup: in Méribel (2015), Bansko (2019), Kranjska Gora (2019) and Alta Badia (2019). He also picked up the GS world title in ARe in 2019.
Kristoffersen's best result in the GS in Sölden was a sixth-place on 25 October 2015.
Žan Kranjec has won two World Cup events, both in the Giant Slalom. He won in Saalbach-Hinterglemm on 19 December 2018 and in Adelboden on 11 January 2020. Last year he finished in second place in the first race held in Santa Caterina.