Top Skiers in the World
Even if it is sometimes difficult to compare eras, we have decided to present you our Top 10 of the best geantists since the creation of the World Cup in 1966. Based on the trophies won, the world and Olympic performances, the successes but also on the trace left in history, this hierarchy has its share of subjectivity. It’s all debatable.
- Jean-Claude Killy – France
The only French rider in this class, even if Alexis Pinturault grows more and more, “King Killy” has inherited the 10th place because of the few tests he played. In his career, the Native Clodoaldian has appeared only 24 times (in four winters)in the World Cup competition. Eight of them were giant (for 8 podiums), seven of which saw him raise his arms. A near-perfect ratio. Winner of the petit globe in 1967 and 1968, the Frenchman also has a world and Olympic title (1968), in Grenoble. Before ending his career at 24.
- Pirmin Zurbriggen-Switzerland
On its seven bouquets in the World Cup, Switzerland has three at home in Adel’. Four-time winner of the general, the versatile Helvetian (with Marc Girardelli, Günther Mader, Kjetil-Andre Aamodt, and Bode Miller, he is the fourth skier to have won in all disciplines) scored in the second half of the 1980s thanks in particular to the duel he gave to the Luxemburgish rider. From 1981 to 1990, Valaisan took 211 World Cup starts, 58 of them in giant. For three globes of the discipline (1984, 1987 and 1989). World Giant Champion in 1987 (2nd in 1985, 3rd in 1989), Zurbriggen, who ended his career at just 27 years old, never did better than third at the Olympics in 1988.
- Benjamin Raich-Austria
“Benni” deserves to be included in this Top 10. Now retired, the Austrian scores 14 World Cup victories and two globes in 2005 and 2006 in giant. While he also has an Olympic title (2006), Raich has never been able to win a world title and had to settle for two 2nd places (2005 and 2009). Three-time winner at Adelboden, Raich can be proud to have reached the podium five times in Switzerland as a giant.
- Gustav Thoeni-Italy
Four times winner of the general between 1971 and 1975 (only Marc Girardelli did better with five crowns), the Italian was best known for his know-how in technical disciplines. During his career, which ended in March 1980, Thoeni recorded 19 of his 24 hits in 46 Giants. It was in Val d’isère, in his first race, that he opened his collection in December 1969. Before his supremacy was challenged by the arrival of Ingemar Stenmark, the skier from South Tyrol also gleaned three small giant globes (1970-1971-1972). He added two World champion titles (1972, 1974) and one Olympic title (1972). After his career, he coached Alberto Tomba from 1989 to 1996 before taking the reins of the national team.
- Hermann Maier-Austria
The 1998 Olympic champion of the specialty has competed in 79 World Cup giants in his impressive career which counts 268 starts. Fourteen of them (out of 54 hits on the circuit) were victorious. Hermann Maier has added three globes of the discipline (1998, 2000 and 2001) and a world champion title in 2005. It will be recalled that it was at the giant of Adelboden in January 2003 that the general’s four-time winner made his return to competition after his serious motorcycle accident in August 2001. After this tragic event that almost cost him a leg, Maier no longer enjoyed the same success as a giant. Only five podiums (for a 14th and last victory in Sölden in 2005) have completed his collection.
- Marcel Hirscher-Austria
A discipline genius (but not that) who keeps climbing up this hierarchy every winter. The five-time holder of the big globe has three small giant globes (2012, 2015 and 2016) but is still looking to win a world title in the specialty, after two silver medals (in 2013 and 2015), and an Olympic title (silver in 2014, 5th in 2010). As technical as it is powerful, Hirscher is the most accomplished geantist of the moment. With all due respect to Alexis Pinturault and Ted Ligety, who have been in retreat for two winters. With 18 victories in the World Cup, the Austrian was only overtaken by Von Grünigen, Ligety and Stenmark.
- Alberto Tomba-Italy
Between Stenmark and Von Grünigen, there was Alberto Tomba. Bologna to mover physics (1.82 m to 92 kg) marked the end of the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. In just 153 starts in 13 World Cup seasons, “La Bomba” had 50 wins including 15 in giant (for 64 starts). From 1986 to 1998, the year of his retirement, Tomba gleaned four globes of the discipline. To these must be added a world champion title (1996) and two consecutive Olympic gold medals (1988 and 1992). What no one had been able to achieve before him. Driven by an audience that cherished him, the transalpine Playboy often shone on his snows. Six of his fifteen giant victories were in Italy, including four on Alta Badia’s Gran Risa. Tomba has made its mark on the history of skiing and technical disciplines in particular. Despite recurring weight problems.
- Michael Von Grünigen-Switzerland
The archetype of the pure specialist. Out of 190 World Cup starts, 100 were in giant. For 23 wins. For his first race among the greats, at the Park City giant in 1990, Von Grünigen placed 6th. The foundations are laid. The technique is there. But physics is not yet completely following. A first knee injury will slow his progress. Yet the legend is in motion. He had to wait until the 1992-93 season to get his first bouquet in Veysonnaz. Twenty-two will follow as well as four globes of the discipline and two planetary sacres (1997 and 2001). His only regret? Never Olympic champion. In three attempts, he won a single bronze medal in 1998 in Nagano. Behind Hermann Maier, sacred in Japan and rival that Von Grünigen never carried in his heart.
- Ted Ligety-United States
Dressed in Crystal in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, the American has 24 of his 25 World Cup victories in his favorite discipline. He acclimatized perfectly to the new equipment a few winters ago. As proof, the gaps – of another time – that the triple world champion and Olympic champion sometimes inflicted on his pursuers some time ago. He has won everything giant. Few can say the same.
- Ingemar Stenmark-Sweden
Ace of aces. During his career in the “world cup”, Stenmark, who was not fond of speed disciplines, took 231 starts for 86 wins, a record. Of which 46 in giant (for 111 departures). There are eight globes (also a record) in the specialty-seven in a row (1975-1981) – two world titles (1978-1980) and one Olympic title (1980). To symbolize this overwhelming domination, history will remember the performance of the greatest skier of all time during the 1978-1979 season: ten Giants competed for … ten wins. A unique grand slam to date. That season, at the time of the Jasna giant, he also became the holder of the biggest gap between a winner and his runner-up : 4: 06. Stenmark, the biggest of the Giants.