Pinturault’s gold adds to Courchevel dynasty
COURCHEVEL, France — The family legacy in Courchevel began nearly half a century ago when Andre and Christiane Pinturault opened the high-altitude Hotel Annapurna.
On Tuesday, Alexis Pinturault won a gold medal on home snow just down the road at the world championships to enrich the family imprint on the posh French resort where his grandparents laid their foundations in 1974.
“To share this with the French people and also the Courchevel people is something really amazing and special,” the 31-year-old Pinturault said after dethroning defending champion Marco Schwarz of Austria in a close finish of the combined race.
As a child, Pinturault also tried ski jumping — the hill is located adjacent to the finish of Tuesday’s race — and cross-country skiing.
“That was the thing with the Courchevel ski club: when you are young, you can try many different sports. Then you can choose afterward,” he said.
Pinturault certainly had pleasure in his hometown Tuesday, ending a drought of nearly two years.
In a tricky slalom run on a steep pitch, the Frenchman retained his lead from the super-G portion to edge Schwarz by 0.10 seconds.
The combined event adds the times from one super-G run and one slalom run.
The Austrian, second after the first leg, seemed headed for the victory when leading Pinturault by 0.30 seconds at the final split but he made a costly mistake at the fourth-to-last gate.
“In my village, where I live, to win a gold medal here, that will be a super memory,” Pinturault said after earning his 10th career medal, and third gold, from major championships.
Pinturault previously won the world title in 2019, but was beaten to gold by Schwarz two years later. He also took Olympic silver in 2018. He dominated the discipline when it was still part of the World Cup circuit until 2020, winning six of the last eight season titles.
However, Pinturault had not won a race since March 2021 in a World Cup giant slalom in Switzerland to wrap up the overall title on his 30th birthday.
The Frenchman has been struggling this season, with a third place from a super-G in Beaver Creek in early December his only podium result.
Just like Pinturault, Schwarz also had only one top-three result on the circuit.
He trailed the Frenchman by just 0.06 after the super-G portion, but won time on every split in the slalom until near the end of his run.
“I had a little mistake before the finish line but all in all it was a good day,” Schwarz said. “I lost gold right before the finish. But I made it to the finish and am happy with my silver medal.”
Schwarz’s teammate, Raphael Haaser, finished 0.44 behind to win bronze, a day after his sister, Ricarda Haaser, also took bronze in the women’s combined.