Myhrer knocks o≠ Hirscher, takes slalom race at Aspen

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pat Graham

aspen» Not to get all mushy, but that’s ex­actly how An­dre Myhrer of Swe­den prefers his snow.

The slushier, the bet­ter and pos­si­bly why Myhrer seems to save his best race for the last event of the year.

Myhrer capped off a sec­ond straight sea­son with a slalom win at the World Cup Fi­nals, beat­ing Mar­cel Hirscher of Aus­tria once again, too.

“I’m older, so I need a long start to get in shape,” the 34-year-old Myhrer said af­ter Sun­day’s slalom race con­cluded the fi­nals. “It’s a lit­tle eas­ier for me to han­dle this salty snow, com­pared to win­ter snow.”

Myhrer nav­i­gated the sun-splashed course in a com­bined time of 1 minute, 27.97 sec­onds, hold­ing off Felix Neureuther of Ger­many by 0.14 sec­onds. Aus­tria’s Michael Matt was third and Hirscher fourth.

An in­ter­est­ing tid­bit about Matt: His older brother, Mario, won the last World Cup men’s slalom race in Aspen in 2001.

Hirscher held a 0.08-sec­ond lead head­ing into the fi­nal run, only to un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally lose speed near the fin­ish.

“A mis­take, five gates be­fore fin­ish line was not the hap­pi­est mo­ment of the sea­son,” Hirscher ex­plained. “The first half of the run was re­ally good.”

Be­fore his bot­tom-of-the­hill hic­cup, Hirscher ap­peared on the verge of his 50th World Cup slalom podium fin­ish.

Now, he will have to wait a sea­son to try to join Swe­den’s Inge­mar Sten­mark (81) and Ital­ian Al­berto Tomba (57) as the only men to achieve that mile­stone in the dis­ci­pline.

That is, if he still has the pas­sion to re­turn. Hirscher typ­i­cally takes a few weeks af­ter ev­ery sea­son to de­cide if he wants to go through the grind again. It now will be an Olympic year as Hirscher searches for that elu­sive gold medal in South Korea.

“There will be a point, where I have to say, ‘OK, I’m done with pro­fes­sional ski rac­ing and I’ll just go out there and ski for fun,’” Hirscher said. “That is a ques­tion: Do I de­cide when there is this point or by the nat­u­ral way when the young ath­letes are kick­ing my (rear) and I’m out of the game.

“We are of­ten think­ing about it, how many years it will be pos­si­ble to ski on this high level. At the mo­ment, it’s fun.”

Mar­cel Hirscher, of Aus­tria, makes his first run of the World Cup slalom race Sun­day dur­ing the World Cup Fi­nals at Aspen Moun­tain. Hirscher fin­ished fourth in the race but was the over­all World Cup cham­pion. He­len H. Richardson, The Denver Post

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