A flawless second run helped Lucas Braathen win the first World Cup slalom of the season on Sunday for the third victory of his career.
The Norwegian skier let out a yell and thumped his chest after seeing his time on the board and then he just had to wait for his compatriot and defending World Cup slalom champion Henrik Kristoffersen, who had a slender lead of 0.07 seconds from the first run.
However, an error-strewn run from Kristoffersen on the Face de Bellevarde course in France dropped him to sixth in one minute 39.49 seconds, 1.35 behind Braathen.
“Man, I just want to do it again,” the 22-year-old Braathen said. “It’s an amazing feeling right now.
“I’ll admit I’ve had a great pre-season, to be able to deliver what I’ve been delivering in practice today at the race was simply amazing. I love this place so to be here on the top of the podium today is just magical.”
Braathen finished in 1:38.14, 0.84 ahead of Austria’s Manuel Feller. Switzerland’s Loic Meillard (1:39.12) was third, 0.98 behind Braathen.
Calgary’s Erik Read was the lone Canadian to qualify for the second run and climbed nine spots to place 21st among 26 finishers. Montreal’s Simon Fournier was 47th (53.86) in the first run and didn’t advance, while Calgary’s Liam Wallace and Asher Jordan of North Vancouver, B.C., didn’t finish the opening run.
WATCH | Full coverage of men’s slalom from Val d’Isere:
‘Hate and love place’
Sunday’s competition ended a miserable run for Feller in the slalom in Val d’Isere after he failed to finish in his five previous races on the course. He was 23rd in 2012, his first on the hill.
“It’s more like a hate and love place combined because I think this was my second finish in slalom over all of the years,” Feller said.
“I was just finishing in my second World Cup race, my first time here, and then always DNF [did not finish]. So that was also the reason why I didn’t risk everything in the second run.”
Olympic champion Clement Noel, silver medallist Johannes Strolz and Atle Lie McGrath went out of the race in the first run after straddling gates as three of the first nine skiers failed to finish.
Noel won on home snow in Val d’Isere last year.
The battle for the slalom title was wide open last season with seven different winners in the first seven races in the discipline. It was a third slalom season title for Kristoffersen.