Maribor, Slalom, Jan. 17
If Kathrin Zettel was soaring after her GS win, she reached the clouds in the
Maribor slalom. It was here that the Austrian landed the first slalom victory of her Cup career, finishing with a two-run combined time of 1 minute,
It looked as if Zettel’s teammate Marlies Schild was poised for another slalom victory. Schild led the first run by more than a second but straddled a gate
in the second. Tina Maze, ninth after the first run
and almost two seconds back, prompted a deafening roar from the massive home crowd when
she skied into first place in her second run, then
held on to take the second step of the podium,
0.72 seconds behind Zettel.
World Cup slalom leader Maria Riesch, making her third straight podium, was third, 1.28
seconds back, and took the lead over Lindsey
Vonn in the overall standings with 922 points to
Vonn had a tough first run, never finding speed
in the turny course-set and making a couple of
mistakes to finish out of the flip for the second
“She just needs a break,” U.S. women’s head
coach Jim Tracy said of Vonn. “Mentally, these
races really take their toll. Also, this course
doesn’t necessarily suit her style of skiing.”
The race was the last slalom before the Olympic
Winter Games, and the only one after Vancouver will be at World Cup finals
in March in Garmisch.
As for slalom competition, Riesch said that the field is much more competi-
tive this season and the battle for the slalom globe will be a close one.
“In slalom I’m a little bit away from my performance last year because last
year at this time I was winning four races in a row,” Riesch said. “The fact that
Marlies is back and back strong makes it more competitive. It’s also Kathrin
Zettel, Sandrine Aubert, my sister ... lots of people giving me a hard time. I’m
a little bit away from my best performance ever. It’s a tight race against Kath-
rin now. I hope I can still win the slalom globe.”
The only North Americans to finish the slalom were Canadians Brigitte Ac-
ton and Marie-Michele Gagnon, who finished 23rd and 28th, respectively.
Tracy said that Vonn started and ended her race on the wrong foot after her
emotionally exhausting day in the GS and is still working to find the right
equipment setup and a consistent stride in tech events. He said while there
Maria Riesch took over the overall lead with two podiums in Maribor — including her first-ever in GS.
were a few shining seconds, the rest of the team just didn’t pull it together.
Sarah Schleper was putting down the fastest run but straddled a gate in the
middle of the course, while Megan McJames and Julia Mancuso also DNFed
in the first run and Hailey Duke, Sterling Grant, Kiley Staples and Kaylin
Richardson finished way down the line.
“It just wasn’t the best day,” Tracy said. “There were some good things. Sarah was charging away and just made a silly mistake. Hailey did some good
things, Sterling did some good things ... but it was an off day.”
Kathrin Zettel owned the weekend, winning both races in Maribor.
Local favorite Tina Maze charged
from behind for her first Cup podium
in slalom in front of the home crowd.