Riesch stood 15th after the first run with a pair of mid-course saves, but her luck
ran out in the second run as she slipped to her left hip and lost a ski at the sixth
gate. It was only her third DNF of the season.
Finn Tanja Poutiainen (ninth in the Spindleruv Mlyn slalom ) stood second in the
slalom rankings with 489 points. Riesch held the third position with 420 points.
Sarah Schleper, who considered retirement at the end of last season, showed
grit at the end of this year’s tour, putting down two runs of assertive skiing and
leading the U.S. in 11th place after standing ninth in the first run. The result was
not quite enough to get her into the top- 25 in the slalom rankings — the cut off for
World Cup Finals. She finished ranked 30th.
Fellow American Resi Stiegler reached her goal of ending the season healthy af-
ter three years of injuries. She finished 15th with the seventh-fastest second-run
time for her best result since 2007 (she was eighth in Aspen).
“We’ve seen that her skiing is pretty much back; her speed is back,” said Hoedl-
moser of Stiegler. “She is wicked fast and we’re really looking forward to next
season. With the full prep period she is going to be right in there again.”
With a single run of World Cup racing under her belt, Shiffrin was back in the start
of the slalom — her specialty. She showed the chops that got her to the top of this
season’s NorAm slalom standings with a solid first run that, even with a mistake,
was only five-hundredths of a second out of the top- 30 flip in 32nd place.
“I think it was a really good experience for her and I’m glad that we brought her
over to get those first couple World Cup races out of the way,” said Hoedlmoser.
“It’s always exciting and new and she handled it really well and did a fantastic
job today. She would have been easily in there but had a mistake seven or eight
gates before the finish. We know that she has the speed to qualify already.”
At the end of her 14th year on the U.S. Ski Team, Schleper raved about Shiffrin
on her blog.
“I am also newly energized by my new teammate, Mikaela,” wrote Schleper. “An
über talent jumps in our U.S. Ski Team pool again on the tech side. Mikaela is
mature, to the point that you would think she’s been racing World Cup for seven
years. She is dedicated and professional. She is a balanced skier with great nerve
and an eye for courses. Before the first run slalom she gave me her report of the
race and it was right on. I want to keep racing because I am completely inspired
by this kid.”
It was a tough day to end a tough season for the Canadian tech squad. Not one
of its five starters made it out of the first run as they collected two DNFs and three
DNQs. Canadian women scored only three top- 10 finishes in World Cup gate
races this season.
SkiRacing.com APRIL 7, 2011 | 24