After three days of intense snowfall in Courchevel, France, the sun came out today (Dec. 18) to see Austrian Marlies Schild notch her second slalom win in as many races and continue her perfect start to the young World Cup season.
Schild took a 0.38-second advantage into the second run, but left the second run start house with a 0.80-second lead after both the second and third-fastest women coming out of the first run fell in the same spot near the top of the course.
Despite a few mistakes on the tight second run course and challenging light conditions, Schild built on her comfortable lead all the way down the 61-gate course to cross the line 1.87 seconds faster than any other woman and win in Courchevel for the second consecutive year. The win marks Schild’s 29th career World Cup slalom victory.
“The main problem today was the changing conditions. In both legs, the early starters were favoured. But I cannot complain,” Schild told Eurosport.com. “I cannot really explain why I win by such big margins. I just ski the way I know and once again, it worked. I must say my confidence is sky high, not only because I won in Aspen but just because I feel great this season.”
As she did here last season, Finn Tanja Poutianen took second place. Austrian Kathrin Zettel was 0.32 seconds behind Poutianen in third. Another Austrian, Michaela Kirchgasser just missed the podium in fourth.
Defending World Cup overall champion, German Maria Hoefl-Riesch had the second-fastest first run time despite tweaking her knee mid course. She suffered more bad luck in the second run, falling in the same part of the course that claimed Swede Maria Pietilae-Holmner, who started just before Hoefl-Riesch.
No American women reached the second run as Lindsey Vonn’s streak of four consecutive World Cup wins came to an end when she skied off course in the first run. Mikaela Shiffrin, who led the U.S. with an eighth-place result in the Aspen slalom, also skied off course in the first round. Sarah Schleper struggled in the flat light and finished 5.73 behind the first-run leader. Resi Stiegler came in at the bottom of the first-run results sheet after hiking to pick up a missed gate.
“I felt like I hit a wet patch of snow and then my skis kind of slid and then it caught again and it was just too late to recover it,” said Vonn. “But in general I’m really happy with my run. As you can see the times it was pretty hard to get in there, and I was only 8/10ths out the second split, so it was definitely really positive. Stuff like that happens so I have to just keep doing my best, trying to stay in there.”
Vonn maintains her lead in the overall standings with 522 points. German Viktoria Rebensburg stands second with 286 points.
Julia Mancuso did not start today due to a stomach illness and will return home for a break before returning to Europe in late December for more tech races in Lienz, Austria.
“I think that was the first race I’ve ever missed in my career due to illness,” Mancuso told her Twitter followers. “Lucky me, but not feeling so lucky… Maybe food poison..?”
Four Canadian women made the 30-woman second run. Anna Goodman led the way after the second run, finishing in 11th place. Erin Mielzynski tied her World Cup career high in 13th, followed by teammate Elli Terwiel in 23rd. Marie-Michele Gagnon had the eighth-fastest first run and looked strong at the top of the second run course but skied off line earl on.
The large and boisterous crowd threw the majority of its support behind their French racers led by Nastasia Noens in seventh place. Tessa Worley and Courchevel’s own Anna-Sophie Barthet also cracked the top 15 in 10th and 12th, respectively.
Today’s win further cements Schild in her role as undisputed queen of women’s slalom. She is the reigning world champion in the discipline and owns three of the last four World Cup overall slalom titles. She has racked up 29 career World Cup slalom wins since taking her first in 2004.
Courchevel received more snow in the last two days that it had all last year. Excess snow on the course forced organizers to postpone the slalom from yesterday till today and cancel a scheduled GS all together.
The World Cup women’s tour will now travel to join the men for two nights of slalom racing in Flachau, Austria Dec. 20-21.
Image by Gepa
By Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup slalom, Courchevel, France, Dec. 18, 2011
1 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
3 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
6 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Duerr, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Thalmann, Head/Head/Head
10 Worley, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Women’s World Cup slalom, Courchevel, France, Dec. 18, 2011. … It is the eighth race of the women’s 2011-12 World Cup schedule. … There are three scheduled races pending. … It is the third of 10 slaloms on the schedule and the second to be held. … It is just the third Cup race held at Courchevel, the previous a men’s GS in 1979 and a women’s slalom from last season.
It is the 31st career World Cup victory for Schild. … 29th in slalom. … It is her second win of the season with two slaloms being held. … both by huge margins (1.19 Aspen and 1.87 Courchevel) … She is second among women in slalom wins all time, trailing only Vreni Schneider’s 33 slalom wins.
It is the 45th career World Cup podium for Tanja Poutiainen. … her 25th in slalom. … It is her first podium of the season. … It is the second straight season she has finished second to Schild at Courchevel.
It is the 36th career Cup podium got Kathrin Zettel. … her first of the season. … her 17th in slalom.
It is the second best career result for Anna Goodman, bettered only by ninth in slalom at Are Dec. 13, 2009. … Erin Mielzynski matches her career best from Arber-Zweisel last Feb. 4. … It is the first career Cup scoring finish for Elli Terwiel.
Lindsey Vonn (DNF 1st) maintains the least of the World Cup overall standings 1975-1723 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (DNF 2nd) … Tina Maze (fifth in race) sits third with 1350pts…. Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF 2nd) is the top Canadian in 30th with 223pts. … Shild leads the slalom standings 200-130 Goodman in top Canadian in 14th place with 35pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin (DNF 1st) the top American in 16th place with 32pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1368-885 over the US. … Switzerland is third with 703pts. … Canada is 11th with 105pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|