Hirscher eyes glory

Hirscher was 2015 world combined champion and picked up a silver last year. But he rarely competes in the discipline. The points he accrues from technical events are sufficient to keep him on track for a seventh consecutive overall title while there is also an overriding risk of injury doing the downhill. "This time the slalom is pretty difficult and the downhill is pretty easy, that is what the downhillers told me," jokes Hirscher, adding that he had no medal expectations after mediocre downhill training.

 

 

Calling all-rounders

The alpine combined remains the ultimate challenge for all-round skiers. First up is a downhill on the Jeongseon course, followed by a floodlit slalom. The top 30 finishers in the downhill start in reverse order in the slalom, often making for a nail-biting climax as the technical skiers make up time on the out-and-out downhillers.

 

 

France hopes

 

France have been the dominant country in combined in recent seasons, last year's world championships in St Moritz notwithstanding. Alexis Pinturault and Victor Muffat-Jeandet have won this season's two World Cup combined events in Bormio and Wengen. "I'll attack for my best chance of a medal.

 I have to take my chance, the goal is gold," said Pinturault.

 

 

 

Kjetil heads outsiders

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud heads up an impressive field of racers who could push for at least a podium place. The Norwegian has proven himself as a complete racer, having won giant slalom silver in Vancouver in 2010 before claiming super-G gold and downhill bronze in Sochi. The Italian trio of Peter Fill, Dominik Paris and Christof Innerhofer should also be in the mix.

 

 

 

Farewell combined?

 

The future of the combined is under threat. It has long struggled to keep its place on the World Cup circuit given the time it demands as racers have to have at least one downhill training run. "We're still not sure of anything yet," said Muffat-Jeandet. "It remains an alpine discipline in itself, not far from the essence of skiing." Hirscher adds: "At the last two world champs, I was always unsure whether to compete, but I was happy to have a gold and silver. I think combined is a nice event to see and to find who is the complete skier, but it is hard to sell."