KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — A quick phone conversation with his father Lars just before his final run helped Henrik Kristoffersen win a men’s World Cup slalom Sunday.
The 20-year-old Norwegian used a flawless second run to climb from third to first and claim his third career victory, just days after successfully defending his junior world titles in slalom and GS.
"We always talk on the start. It’s like he’s always there and it’s good to have a person like that," Kristoffersen said about his father. "He knows which buttons to push so it’s for sure good to talk to him. … My body was nervous, but the head was fine. It was a really good second run. I pushed it all the way."
After the brief chat with his dad, Kristoffersen finished in a total time of 1 minute, 41.26 seconds for his third career win, beating 2010 Olympic champion Giuliano Razzoli by 0.24 seconds. It was the Italian’s first podium since December 2011.
Mattias Hargin of Sweden dropped from first to third, trailing Kristoffersen by 0.86.
Overall leader Marcel Hirscher recovered from a disappointing first run to place sixth. The Austrian posted the fastest second-run time to improve from 19th and extend his lead over Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud to 164 points with four races remaining. Jansrud skipped Sunday’s slalom.
"I got everything I could get out of this. Every point is incredibly important," Hirscher said, referring to the end of his opening run. He needed an acrobatic recovery to stay on the course when he seemed to lose balance and his left ski was up in the air.
Felix Neureuther of Germany, who tops the discipline standings, had no apparent mistakes in both runs but came 1.55 behind in ninth.
With Hirscher coming in sixth, Neureuther could have wrapped up the discipline title by finishing first or second. Instead he saw his lead reduced by 11 points, to 55. The German is guaranteed the title if he comes fourth or better in the season-ending race next Sunday. Hirscher won the globe the past two seasons.
"Tension until the end is good," Neureuther said. "My feeling in the second run wasn’t too bad but somehow the speed wasn’t there."
Neureuther would become the first male skier from Germany to win a crystal globe since Armin Bittner, representing West Germany, took the slalom title in 1990.
Kristoffersen climbed to third but can’t win the title as he’s 122 points behind Neureuther.
The Norwegian said earning the globe for the season’s best slalom skier would become his main goal in the next two years.
"My slalom skiing has always been good this season," he said. "I was fast and made a couple of mistakes. But before Marcel won the slalom globe, he had a lot of straddles and did-not-finishes. It made him really fast. When you do that long enough, you are going to get stable at that level and start winning races, and titles."
David Chodounsky, the only American to qualify for the second run, finished 28th.
Ted Ligety came 3.39 off the lead in the opening run and missed the second, while Will Brandenburg had a nasty crash and landed backward in the safety netting but stayed unhurt.