VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) — For the first time in nearly five years, Ted Ligety didn’t reach the final of a World Cup giant slalom race.
The first skier down the hill, Ligety took a gate too wide, went down on his hip and out of his opening run Saturday on the steep and icy Stade Olympique de Bellevarde course. Two-time defending World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher won the giant slalom, while Bode Miller also didn’t finish his first run after tripping over his skis near the bottom.
A winner of two giant slaloms this season, Ligety hadn’t missed qualifying for the second run of the event since February 2009 at Sestriere, Italy — a string of 30 races.
“Just a little bit bad luck on my part,” he said.
Ligety, the four-time defending World Cup GS champion, doesn’t consider the Bellevarde among his favorite courses.
“It’s always super, super bumpy and miserable to ski, so I wasn’t surprised by that at all,” Ligety said. “It’s not ideal. It’s the kind of hill where anything can really happen, because it’s such a tough and rough and bumpy hill.”
Miller got his skis tangled near the bottom and tumbled over, which U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick also called “unlucky.”
“He got his outside ski caught right at the initiation of the turn in the flat light. Those things can kind of happen,” Rearick said. “I was proud of the effort he put in today and the way he approached the hill.”
Ligety and Miller had finished 1-2 last weekend in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Hirscher earned his second win of the season after his slalom victory in Levi, Finland. He was third after the first run, 0.41 seconds behind Frenchman Alexis Pinturault. But he improved the second time down the tricky course to finish 0.76 seconds ahead of Thomas Fanara of France in a combined time of 2:17.21. Stefan Luitz of Germany was third.
Pinturault made an error on the top section and finished fourth.
Both Miller and Ligety will take part in the slalom on Sunday.
“Looking forward to it,” Rearick said. “Get some revenge on Val d’Isere.”
The 29-year-old Ligety entered the race looking for his fifth straight World Cup win in giant slalom dating to last year. Ligety won the final two GS races last season and the opening two this year.
“It’s been a few years,” Ligety said of skiing out on the first run. “But I’ve had a bunch of races where (on) second runs I went out. You just have to fight.”
Hirscher said he’d prefer to measure his performance against Ligety’s to see where he stands in GS terms.
“It’s a great victory for sure. But we don’t know where we really are right now,” Hirscher said. “Was it a really good run from us or is Ted skiing better than the rest of the world right now? That’s the question.”
Rearick didn’t seem concerned about Ligety’s performance, despite missing the podium in the giant slalom for the first time since March 2012.
“Ted’s been skiing great. He’s going to be fine,” Rearick said. “We have a good week of training before Alta Badia. We’ve got work to do and it’s going to be very clear what we need to do.”