Braathen leading the young guns
Lucas Braathen (NOR) and Atle Lie McGrath (NOR), born two days apart, are the young challengers to Henrik Kristoffersen‘s (NOR) long-held and previously barely contested title as Norway’s technical master, with four small globes in his trophy cabinet to show for it.
But last season, it was his teammate Braathen who claimed the slalom title, aged 22, to turn the tables on the 29-year-old.
When Kristoffersen, at 21, won his first slalom crystal globe in 2015/16, he was stepping on the turf of established stars such as Austria’s Marcel Hirscher. Now it is the Norwegian who has become the elder statesman trying to fend off the rising stars nipping at his heels.
In giant slalom, Odermatt appears unstoppable, and Kristoffersen has had to settle for second place in the race for the discipline title in the last two seasons after winning it in 2019/20.
Sofia Goggia vs the mountain
If there’s one ‘must-see TV’ event in Alpine skiing that stands out above all the others, it might be Sofia Goggia‘s assault on the women’s World Cup downhill slopes.
The Italian star’s high-risk, high-reward style of speed skiing creates some of the most heart-in-your-mouth moments in the sport, as she often seems equally likely to end up in the safety netting as on top of the podium.
Her all-or-nothing approach often results in spectacular recoveries on the slopes, and her resolve to compete at all costs is fast becoming legendary, highlighted by her remarkable victory in St. Moritz last season after breaking her hand 24 hours earlier.
With 17 World Cup downhill victories, including five last season, the 30-year-old Goggia has cracked the all-time women’s top five. Her next downhill win will take her ahead of Switzerland’s Michela Figini into outright fourth, and only three titans of the sport will remain in front of her: Vonn (43), Moser-Proell (36) and Austria’s Renate Goetschl (24).
This season, Goggia can win her fourth straight downhill globe and fifth in total. Vonn’s mark of eight downhill titles is safe for now, but as Goggia begins to ramp up for a home Olympic Games at Milano Cortina 2026, she might be coming for her good friend’s record in a few years’ time – provided, of course, she can stay on her skis.