OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Norwegian ski racer Alexander Steen Olsen earned his first World Cup win after AJ Ginnis of Greece was disqualified for missing a gate in a slalom event held on a snowy Sunday at the Palisades Tahoe resort.
With the visibility deteriorating as the snow picked up intensity, Olsen turned in a clean pass through the tricky course set to finish in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 47.47 seconds. Fellow Norwegian racer Timon Haugan was 0.05 seconds behind in second. There was a tie for third between Bulgaria’s Albert Popov, who made a charge from well back in the pack, and first-run leader Clement Noel of France.
The podium took several minutes to sort out as officials reviewed the run of Ginnis, who came down in first place but appeared to straddle a gate. In one video angle, it was tough to tell due to a cloud of snow near his carving ski. The missed gate was eventually confirmed.
In 12th place after the first run, Olsen took calculated risks to pick up the win. Before Sunday, his previous best World Cup finish was fourth in a giant slalom race last month in Austria.
“It’s so unbelievable,” Olsen said after the race. “I don’t know what to say. It’s so crazy.”
The men’s World Cup circuit was making a stop at the Palisades Tahoe resort for the first time since 1969. Before Olsen’s performance, the last racer to win a men’s World Cup slalom race at the venue was Billy Kidd.
It was a tight competition Sunday, with 14 racers finishing within 0.82 seconds of Olsen’s winning time.
Popov, who was 25th after his first run, rocketed up the leaderboard to earn his first career World Cup podium spot. Noel, the reigning Olympic slalom champion, had a solid run going until near the bottom of the hill.
The men’s World Cup circuit now heads to Aspen, Colorado, for speed races next weekend.
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