"To be able to come through and pull it off is awesome," said the 30-year-old Ligety, who's from Park City.
Like there was ever a doubt, even as Ligety trailed. Well, maybe a little.
See, Hirscher won three straight World Cup GS races entering this competition. And while this is Ligety's course, a place where he's won five World Cup GS races, Hirscher seemed well-positioned to spring the upset.
Or so it appeared anyway. But races like this are why Ligety's fellow skiers often refer to him as "Mr. GS."
"Ted was, today, in his own league," said Germany's Felix Neureuther, who finished fourth, 1.10 seconds behind Ligety. "He's amazing."
With this win, Ligety, the Olympic GS champ from Sochi, cements his name among the legends of the sport. The only other men to win three straight world titles in any discipline are Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark (slalom, '78, '80, '82) and Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt (combined, '97 '99, '01).
Impressed to be among such esteemed company?
"I'm not somebody who worries about the statistics when I'm doing it," said Ligety, who won the 2011 world GS title in Germany and again two years ago in Austria, which was part of his three gold-medal performance. "It's cool to be able to achieve what I've achieved and be able to reflect back on those things later."
It took the ninth race into these championships, but the Americans finally captured that elusive first gold medal. The U.S. team has a good chance at another medal on Saturday as Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin competes in her signature event.
Pretty much everyone figured some combination of Ligety, Hirscher and Pinturault would be on the podium. They usually are. That's the way it was at Beaver Creek in December, when Ligety won, Pinturault was second and Hirscher third.
"I think all the guys tried to push real hard today because after the first run it was really tight," said Pinturault, who's been sick this week. "But finally it was still Marcel, Ted and me."
The fifth racer out of the gate in the final run, Ligety didn't make a miscue on terrain that suits his style of skiing so well. He pumped his fists after finishing his run, knowing his time was going to be difficult to beat.
Pinturault couldn't match it. Neither could Neureuther or Italy's Roberto Nani.
The only racer standing in his way was Hirscher. But Hirscher steadily lost time throughout the course.