It took two winners to stop Austrian Marlies Schild from collecting her
fourth consecutive World Cup slalom victory. All-star racers Maria Riesch
of Germany and Tanja Poutiainen of Finland doubled up on top of the podium at the night race in Flachau, Austria, on Jan. 11 to share the Snow
Space Princess crown after the duo finished two runs with identical combined times of one minute, 42. 52 seconds.
It was the first slalom victory of the season for both Riesch and Poutiainen, and the first career World Cup podium for third-place finishing
Nastasia Noens of France who was 0.52 seconds behind the winners.
Ski racing icon Hermann Maier was on hand in his hometown to join
the 15,000 attendees who witnessed the second tie for a World Cup win
in four days (Cyprien Richard and Aksel Lund Svindal shared a GS win
Adelboden the previous Saturday).
The locals got a chance to ring their cowbells as their own
Kathrin Zettel, who had limited training due to a sore knee
and hip, moved from sixth in the first run to hold the lead
until the podium finishers came down and bumped her to
The American tech team continued to struggle as all but
one of its six racers were taken out by the first run course
set by their coach Trevor Wagner. Lindsey Vonn and Hailey
Duke skied off course while Julia Mancuso, Resi Stiegler
and Laurenne Ross were too slow to make the 30-woman
flip. Sarah Schleper just made the second run in 28th after
the first run but only got a taste as she lost her balance early
and skied out in the middle of the course.
“Everything was really good, the course was good and we
were actually expecting quite a bit out of the girls today and
the bottom line is that they didn’t perform. It’s as simple as
that,” said U.S. women’s head coach Alex Hoedlmoser. “We
have to analyze the video and see what people did wrong.
Everybody was prepared as good as they could and things
just didn’t come together.”
The blow hit Vonn particularly hard as she tallied her fourth
consecutive World Cup slalom first-run DNF. She continues to chase Ri-
esch, who is pulling away with a 196-point advantage, for the overall
In contrast, eight German women made the second run. They earned six
scoring results including their share of the win.
Canadian Anna Goodman finished 14th for the best result of her come-
back season after injuring her knee last January. “Coming back has been
harder than I anticipated,” she said. “But on a day like today, that all dis-
appears and everything seems good.”
Schild, who has won four of this season’s six slaloms, had a rare off day,
finishing 11th in the first run before fighting too hard and skiing out in the
second run. Riesch also took the slalom lead away from Schild, who is
now tied for second with Poutiainen as they trail 400 to 420.
Poutiainen, Riesch SPLIT SNOW SPACE PRINCESS
CROWN IN FLACHAU BY ERIC WILLIAMS