“I think I was still too conservative,” she said. “The middle section is so
technical and demanding. The terrain is so undulating; it’s the iciest part of
the course. If you’re not charging and super-confident, it’s really easy to lose
The consensus about the course was that yes, it was extremely icy — but the
racers who ended up on top didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m really excited about the result,” said Brignone, who is the daughter of
famed former Italian tech specialist Maria Rosa Quario. “I didn’t expect a
race like this. The slope is really good. It was really icy. I had a big mistake on
last part of the first run, but the second run ... it was perfect.”
And Hoelzl, who proved that tricky courses suit her well when she won the
gold medal at last season’s World Championships on Val d’Isere’s notoriously
harrowing Bellevarde course, said the secret to the Aspen course was sharp
edges and a fighting spirit.
“It was very, very icy, but my material was perfect,” she said. “I had very
strong edges and that was the right thing today. You have to fight on every
gate. That’s what I like.”
Slalom, November 29
The DNF tally of the Aspen GS was nothing compared to the strikeouts of
the following day’s slalom.
One third of the field — 24 racers — was eliminated in the first run, which
was dominated by Czech slalom specialist Sarka Zahrobska, who went on to
win the race. In a bright comeback effort, Austrian Marlies Schild, who broke
her leg more than a year ago training in Soelden, was just more than a half
second away from victory but seemed overjoyed with second place and her
return to the podium.
“I’m so happy about it,” she said. “It was a very difficult course. A lot of people
Kathrin Hoelzl claims the victory position on the Aspen GS podium with
Kathrin Zettel (left) second and Federica Brignone third.
Sarka Zahrobska concentrates on her line during
the Aspen Winternational slalom race.
[did] not finish but I tried not to think about it … just, ‘Ski and have fun.’”
Zettel made it onto the podium a second time, this time in third place.
The victory was the second of Zahrobska’s Cup career. The first was at last
year’s Winternational slalom race.
“I really don’t know why I’m so successful in Aspen, but I’m happy for that,”
said the 24-year-old, who took gold in the 2007 World Slalom Championship
and silver last season.
“To win the race you
have to have many
things [happen at]
Those things coming together definitely didn’t happen
for the American
team. Vonn took the
second big blow of
the weekend when
she made a mistake
and went off-course
in the first run while
the rest of her team
— Mancuso, Schleper,
Hailey Duke, Kaylin
Grant and Julia Ford
(who made her Cup
debut in the race) —
didn’t qualify for the
“I got caught on my inside ski and boot-locked; it shot me out of the course,”
Vonn said after the first run. “This is a really tough hill. It’s steep; it’s constantly changing, twisting and turning. For me and my technique, it’s one of
the most challenging. I came in well prepared and positive, but my husband
said lightning struck twice this weekend. I think he’s right.”
The Canadian team made some strides in the Aspen slalom. Anna Goodman put down a career-best 13th-place finish while her teammate, 19-year-
old Erin Mielzynski, was 30th, starting with bib No. 60 in her first ever
Marlies Schild was one of few women smiling
on the icy and difficult Ruthie’s Run in Aspen.