Ole Christian Furuseth of Norway raced to his second World Cup skiing victory in as many weeks today, and in the process became the season champion in the giant slalom.
Furuseth had an aggregate time of 2 minutes, 33.70 seconds to beat Hubert Strolz of Austria by .76 seconds in the final giant slalom of the season, picking up 25 points to finish with 82 points in the standings. That tied him with Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland, but Furuseth was awarded the gold medal because he had two second-place finishes against one for Zurbriggen. Each won one giant slalom this winter.
Zurbriggen was fifth in today’s race.
Furuseth was fastest in the first run, with a time of 1:17.50 seconds, and had the second-fastest afternoon heat of 1:16.20 down the 4,660-foot Mt. Nishidate Course in central Japan.
In the last giant slalom of a storied 16-year career, Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark posted the fastest second run, 1:15.35, to improve from 18th to fourth. His aggregate time was 2:34.65, .01 faster than Zurbriggen.
Furuseth, in only his second World Cup season, won his first World Cup race, a slalom, last Sunday at Furano, on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
Stenmark, who turns 33 on March 18, called his afternoon heat “perfect, no mistake. Everything went smoothly. It was like my 1970s,” when he dominated skiing as no athlete before or since. With only Friday’s slalom remaining, he owns 86 World Cup victories, 52 more than the runner-up, Zurbriggen.