After three weeks of World Cup racing at Val d’Isere, competition came to a close with the ladies’ super-G on the legendary O.K. slope. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and cooperating weather, conditions held up race after race and Sunday’s competition was no exception.
Under a cloudless blue sky, Switzerland’s Lara Gut finally found her groove on the French hill, winning the race with a final time of 1:23.24. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather was close behind her, 0.13 seconds off the pace–nearly the same margin as in Lake Louise earlier this month. In third place was an Italian, but perhaps not the one you were expecting. Elena Curtoni earned her second career World Cup podium, coming through the finish line 1.21 seconds off of Gut’s time.
The course threw more than a few athletes off the track, boasting a lot of terrain and a non-rhythmical set. Gut stayed strong through all the rhythm changes. Starting bib seven, she blew the socks off of the fans when she took the lead by over a second. Up at the start before her run, she said she realized what a great team she has supporting her and that made all the difference.
“They brought me to the start and I said, ‘I’m not going to think about what could be better. I’m just going to show what I have,’” Gut explained of her focus in the start gate. “I tried just to go with what I have and it’s enough.”
The win gives Gut a 100-point boost in the overall rankings, putting her just five points behind the U.S. Ski Team’s Mikaela Shiffrin, who currently leads.
When Weirather came down two athletes after Gut, it seemed like she might earn her first super-G win at the venue as she lead in the early splits. Alas, she would be challenged by the bottom half of the course and finish just behind the leader.
“Today was totally different than Lake Louise, just course-wise,” Weirather said. “It was the same distances between the gates, but it was way less rhythm in it, so there were a couple straight gates and then a really cranking turn, which made it really difficult, but the result is still the same. I’m still behind Lara really tight, so it’s cool that we have such close battles all the time, but I wish I could beat her sometimes.”
For Curtoni, it has been a tough start to the season. Until Sunday, she had not broken into the top 15 in any discipline. But she knew she had it in her to land on the podium thanks to her second-place finish in the downhill at St. Moritz last spring.
“It feels great. What’s better than this? A win maybe?” she said. “I’m really happy. I was in a low moment. It was a tough start of the season for me, and I put my heart in the slope, so it turned out pretty good.”
The Italian continued to say that she enjoyed the course because of the sections that required tactful skiing, and she felt like she could push in these conditions. Her teammate, Sofia Goggia, who has been on a podium streak, did not finish the race.
The top American for the day was Laurenne Ross, finishing in 18th place. She was still recovering from the illness that prevented her from competing in Saturday’s downhill. Stacey Cook and Breezy Johnson finished the day in 29th and 30th, respectively. Alice McKennis, Anna Marno, Leanne Smith and Jacqueline Wiles did not finish. Valerie Grenier was the only Canadian to finish, earning 24th place, while Marie-Michele Gagnon did not finish.
The women now head to Courchevel, France for a giant slalom race on Tuesday before taking some time off for Christmas.
- Lara Gut (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
- Tina Weirather (LIE) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Elena Curtoni (ITA) – Head / Head / Head
- Nadia Fanchini (ITA) – Dynastar / Lange / Look
- Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Stephanie Venier (AUT) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
- Ilka Stuhec (SLO) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
- Joana Haehlen (SUI) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
- Francesca Marsaglia (ITA) – Volkl / Dalbello / Marker
- Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|23||41||426043||TVIBERG Maria Therese||1994||NOR||1:26.08||+2.84||36.85|
|35||32||298084||AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA||1:27.23||+3.99||51.77|
|Did not start 1st run|
|57||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|29||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA|