Just over a year ago, Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was training in Pitztal, Austria, when she crashed and suffered an undisplaced tibial fracture in her right leg. The injury sidelined her for six weeks, depriving her of valuable training time. However, the German was able to return to racing by the time the World Cup got to Killington, Vt., just two months later. While she had a strong 2016-17 season, she was not able to snag a win.

Rebensburg broke the pattern on Saturday, taking the win in the first race of the 2017-18 season at Soelden, Austria. This marked Rebensburg’s second win at the venue and first time racing there since 2015. The first time she won was back in 2010 about eight months after the German took home Olympic gold in giant slalom at Whistler, Canada.

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“I mean, to be at the very top is always something special, and then directly at the first race of the season, it’s, like I said, a brilliant start,” Rebensburg says. “I wouldn’t put it too high because I mean it’s like four weeks until the next race, so many girls were not competing here. There are many other fast girls, so I need to keep pushing and training the next weeks and then it actually really starts in four weeks for me.”

Not only did Rebensburg have the advantage of starting at Soelden nine times previously, but she was also able to train on the race slope earlier in October.

“…I always feel that it’s a huge difference than in the race,” she says about training on the race slope. “I mean, the conditions are different, many racers are skiing through the course and for sure, it’s not bad to ski it. I made it just one day. I had the chance to do it more often, but I just said, ‘Okay. One time is enough.’ Like you said, this is my ninth time, I think, here today, so many runs I’ve made down the slope here.”

The Olympic champion shared the podium with fellow ’80s babies, Tessa Worley and Manuela Moelgg, who took second and third place respectively. The Frenchwoman was just 0.14 seconds shy of the win, making her maiden appearance on the Soelden podium, while the Italian was 0.53 seconds off the pace.

Image Credit: GEPA pictures/ Christian Walgram

As fans know, age is not the number that matters on the World Cup. It’s the time at the finish line and Italian tech skier Moelgg reinforced that idea on Saturday. Born in 1983, she was the oldest skier on the the ladies’ start list—about 15 years older than the youngest athletes on the roster. While many athletes would have retired by her age, it looks like Moelgg’s career might be trending upward.

The Italian went over five years without a World Cup podium result from 2011 until 2016. Last season, she ended that cycle with a third-place finish in the GS in Semmering, Austria, and she had more top 10 results last season than she had earned in years. It appears that the experience of 16 World Cup seasons has helped her perfect her setup and could account for this resurgence. Moelgg also manages to ski fast thanks to pure passion.

“I love this sport,” she explains. “I have a lot of heart, and I try to give my best every time and I feel in good shape. I have no pain and so, I do what I can. I like this.”

Moelgg led the Italian team, which was dominant in GS last season and will be very competitive internally when it comes to the limited Olympic spots, making the result even more sweet.

“Because we are strong team, it’s important to stay on the podium in the beginning for the Olympics, so this is my big dream and I try. I hope I can do it.”

The rest of her teammates had a bit of a tough start to the season. Sofia Goggia and Marta Bassino, who both had podium potential, did not finish. Irene Curtoni was the second fastest Italian in 14th place followed by Junior World Champion Laura Pirovano in 19th and Elena Curtoni in 27th.

On the American side, Mikaela Shiffrin was the lone top 30 finisher, coming in fifth place.

“I feel really good with where my GS is at, and I’m pretty disappointed because I didn’t really make any turns today like I know that I can, but I guess that’s how it goes,” Shiffrin explains. “I always really have a lot of respect for these girls, who especially in the second run if it’s bumpy at all, they just still ski so hard and I’m impressed by that and like I said, I have so much respect for it. I can’t wait for the time when I figure that out, so I can do it to.”

Surprise entrant Lindsey Vonn also pushed out of the start gate on Saturday, but wasn’t able to get in the top 30 and earn a second run. Independent U.S. racer Megan McJames and current NCAA athlete Foreste Peterson–who made her World Cup debut–also did not qualify for a second run.

Racing action continues on Sunday with the men’s World Cup opener.


Top 10

1. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
2. Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
4. Manuela Moelgg (ITA) – Dynastar / Lange / Look
4. Stephanie Brunner (AUT) –Head / Head / Head
5. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
6. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
7. Raghnild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head / Head / Head
8. Kristin Lysdahl (NOR) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
9. Tina Robnik (SLO) – Volkl / Dalbello / Marker
9. Sara Hector (SWE) – Head / Head / Head


Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationRun 1Run 2Total TimeDiff.FIS PointsWC Points
 1 1 205218REBENSBURG Viktoria1989GER 55.90 59.30 1:55.20 0.00 100.00
 2 5 196928WORLEY Tessa1989FRA 56.21 59.13 1:55.34 +0.14 1.19 80.00
 3 4 296259MOELGG Manuela1983ITA 55.57 1:00.16 1:55.73 +0.53 4.51 60.00
 4 13 56217BRUNNER Stephanie1994AUT 56.51 59.40 1:55.91 +0.71 6.04 50.00
 5 2 6535237SHIFFRIN Mikaela1995USA 55.69 1:00.25 1:55.94 +0.74 6.30 45.00
 6 16 516280HOLDENER Wendy1993SUI 57.06 59.25 1:56.31 +1.11 9.44 40.00
 7 11 425929MOWINCKEL Ragnhild1992NOR 56.61 1:00.04 1:56.65 +1.45 12.34 36.00
 8 26 426187LYSDAHL Kristin1996NOR 56.42 1:00.26 1:56.68 +1.48 12.59 32.00
 9 22 565373ROBNIK Tina1991SLO 57.05 59.70 1:56.75 +1.55 13.19 29.00
 9 9 506399HECTOR Sara1992SWE 55.92 1:00.83 1:56.75 +1.55 13.19 29.00
 11 21 56174HAASER Ricarda1993AUT 57.18 59.64 1:56.82 +1.62 13.78 24.00
 12 23 56032SCHILD Bernadette1990AUT 57.87 59.03 1:56.90 +1.70 14.46 22.00
 13 29 56199KAPPAURER Elisabeth1994AUT 57.16 59.84 1:57.00 +1.80 15.31 20.00
 14 53 197616ALPHAND Estelle1995SWE 57.65 59.41 1:57.06 +1.86 15.82 18.00
 14 19 296509CURTONI Irene1985ITA 57.33 59.73 1:57.06 +1.86 15.82 18.00
 16 14 705423VLHOVA Petra1995SVK 57.23 59.97 1:57.20 +2.00 17.01 15.00
 17 25 196725BARIOZ Taina1988FRA 57.65 59.80 1:57.45 +2.25 19.14 14.00
 18 18 56315TRUPPE Katharina1996AUT 57.40 1:00.09 1:57.49 +2.29 19.48 13.00
 19 38 299624PIROVANO Laura1997ITA 58.15 59.41 1:57.56 +2.36 20.08 12.00
 20 31 55977THALMANN Carmen1989AUT 57.74 1:00.05 1:57.79 +2.59 22.03 11.00
 21 24 505679HANSDOTTER Frida1985SWE 57.15 1:00.79 1:57.94 +2.74 23.31 10.00
 22 10 425771HAVER-LOESETH Nina1989NOR 57.32 1:00.65 1:57.97 +2.77 23.56 9.00
 23 42 425921HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten1992NOR 57.65 1:00.41 1:58.06 +2.86 24.33 8.00
 24 12 105269GAGNON Marie-Michele1989CAN 57.18 1:00.89 1:58.07 +2.87 24.41 7.00
 25 33 307493ANDO Asa1996JPN 58.16 1:00.30 1:58.46 +3.26 27.73 6.00
 26 41 206487WIESLER Maren1993GER 57.81 1:01.08 1:58.89 +3.69 31.39 5.00
 27 20 297910CURTONI Elena1991ITA 58.31 1:00.62 1:58.93 +3.73 31.73 4.00
 28 27 565471HROVAT Meta1998SLO 58.02 1:03.78 2:01.80 +6.60 56.15 3.00
Did not finish 2nd run
 17 516528MEILLARD Melanie1998SUI 56.37
 8 355050WEIRATHER Tina1989LIE 56.12
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 67 695108KNYSH Olha1995UKR 1:03.15
 66 155763LEDECKA Ester1995CZE 1:00.85
 65 206520DORSCH Patrizia1994GER 59.53
 63 299029GALLI Jole1995ITA 59.62
 62 516426STOFFEL Elena1996SUI 59.25
 61 565453AJLEC Desiree1996SLO 59.81
 60 506341WIKSTROEM Emelie1992SWE 1:00.12
 59 516344KOPP Rahel1994SUI 59.02
 58 299388BERTANI Luisa Matilde Maria1996ITA 1:00.58
 56 506664FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena1995SWE 59.39
 55 435334GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna1994POL 59.12
 54 506348STAALNACKE Ylva1992SWE 59.79
 52 197215MASSIOS Marie1992FRA 59.32
 50 516394SUTER Jasmina1995SUI 58.68
 48 405138JELINKOVA Adriana1995NED 59.62
 47 516504DANIOTH Aline1998SUI 58.93
 45 426100HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst1995NOR 58.44
 44 307255ISHIKAWA Haruna1994JPN 1:00.23
 43 315187IGNJATOVIC Nevena1990SRB 59.13
 40 539678PETERSON Foreste1993USA 59.70
 36 355061HILZINGER Jessica1997GER 59.12
 35 538284MCJAMES Megan1987USA 59.33
 34 306249HASEGAWA Emi1986JPN 58.51
 32 537544VONN Lindsey1984USA 58.88
Did not finish 1st run
 64 665009SHKANOVA Maria1989BLR
 57 56333MAIR Chiara1996AUT
 51 56417FEST Nadine1998AUT
 49 385096POPOVIC Leona1997CRO
 46 565401BUCIK Ana1993SLO
 39 56388LIENSBERGER Katharina1997AUT
 37 107532TOMMY Mikaela1995CAN
 30 225525TILLEY Alex1993GBR
 28 107613GRENIER Valerie1996CAN
 15 565268DREV Ana1985SLO
 7 298323GOGGIA Sofia1992ITA
 6 516138GUT Lara1991SUI
 3 299276BASSINO Marta1996ITA