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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Winters Matches Career Best in Chamonix Slalom

By Courtney Harkins
January, 31 2021
Luke Winters Chamonix
Luke Winters skis to 19th place in the Chamonix World Cup. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Christophe Pallot)

Luke Winters led the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team in Sunday’s FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Chamonix, France, taking 19th place and matching his best-ever World Cup finish.

Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway came out firing after straddling in the first slalom in Chamonix on Saturday, winning the race in the French sunshine. Ramon Zenhaeusern of Switzerland was second—but the story of the day was his Swiss teammate Sandro Simonet, who wore bib 35 and finished 30th first run. Running bullet, Simonet put down a blazing second run and maintained his lead for much of the second run to eventually take his first career World Cup podium in third place.

Wearing bib 48, Winters sat in 28th place after first run in the race—one of only five skiers outside of the top 30 to make a second run—and skied tactfully through the soft snow to secure 19th place. The result was Winters’ second points score of the season, having snagged 23rd place in Adelboden in mid-January, and matched his best-ever result of 19th in Val d’Isere in the 2019-20 season. In just his 24th World Cup start, the promising 23-year-old skier has scored now in five races.

Sunday's result was particularly sweet, after Winters missed the top-30 and a chance at a second run on Saturday by mere hundredths, landing in 31st. The men's slalom circuit is incredibly deep and talented and feels like a "battle" as Winters noted. Winters skied strong and within himself second run to grab a solid result. "I'm really happy with where my skiing is going...throughout the month of January there have been a lot of ups and downs and I've figured some stuff out, so I'm looking forward to World Champs. Got some good mojo with the team, it'll be good to have a little break, then get back to work and see what we can do the rest of the season."  

Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team's men's slalom coach, Ryan Wilson, said that he's proud of the result, but looking forward to more to come in the future for this young slalom team. "First run was incredibly difficult, Luke was the highest bib number to get into the second run, and he did it with some seriously athletic skiing first run, but also good technical skiing," reflected Wilson. "First run today definitely benefited him...that was an impressive first run. More impressive, Luke has not yet had what I would call a 'complete race.' Of course, there was more in the tank second run, but very excited that he was able to ski down smart...it shows that he's in there and ready for more. It should prove to be a big confidence booster for him...at the end of a long month like this, it really shows his character and his ability to push through adversity and come out better for it." 

Rounding out the Americans, Jett Seymour and Alex Leever did not qualify for a second run. Ben Ritchie did not finish first run.

This result sends Winters into his first-ever FIS Ski World Championships, which kicks off February 8. The men’s speed team heads to Garmisch for one last super-G and downhill Friday and Saturday prior to the World Champs.  

RESULTS
Men’s slalom

HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST

Monday, Feb. 1
4:50 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Super-G - LIVE, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER, Streaming Peacock