The World Alpine Skiing Championships concluded with a huge surprise.
France’s Jean-Baptiste Grange won the slalom, after Austrian favorite Marcel Hirscher straddled a gate near the end of his second run, his .88 first-run lead over Grange evaporating with the finish line approaching under snowfall.
“Visibility was really bad, especially in the last part, I can’t see really anything,” Hirscher said on Eurosport. “That is part of our sport.”
Grange, 30, won his first top-level international race since his gold in the slalom at the 2011 World Championships.
Grange was fifth-fastest in the morning run but prevailed by .35 combining times from both runs. Germans Fritz Dopfer and Felix Neureuther captured silver and bronze.
Hirscher, the three-time World Cup overall champion trying to repeat as World slalom champ, was .28 faster than the field in the morning. Hirscher was trying to win his third gold medal of the World Championships, to go along with one silver.
“These World Championships were very successful for me,” Hirscher said on Eurosport. “Yes it sucks, but who cares.”
Hirscher said his Worlds still went “way better than expected.”
“My personal goal was to win one medal in any color,” he said on Eurosport.
The top American was Ted Ligety in 21st. Mexican six-time Olympian Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, famous for skiing in a mariachi suit in Sochi, placed 46th of 46 finishers, 58.09 seconds behind Grange.
Hohenlohe, 56, technically beat the three previous Olympic slalom champions and the previous World champion Hirscher, all of whom did not complete two runs.
The Alpine skiing season continues with World Cup races in Europe next weekend, expected to include Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin.