Three Times a Lady
Marlies Schild takes her third consecutive slalom at
home in Flachau By Eric Williams
Marlies Schild wins again.
Just an hour’s drive from where she grew up in Salzburg, Marlies Schild
stood at the top of the Griessenkar slalom course in Flachau, trying to ignore
the 8,000 bell ringing, horn honking fans that lined the brilliantly lit course.
“I’m from Salzburg, so this is a special race for me and I was perhaps a little
more tense than usual,” Schild told Eurosport.com.
With the confidence of back-to-back wins in the first two slaloms of the season and a 0.29 lead in the first run, Schild sliced the tension with her ski edges
and ripped up the course to cross the finish line with a combined lead of 0.46
seconds. It wasn’t as large as the more-than-a-second margins she had gotten
used to in Aspen and Courchevel in recent weeks, but it was more than enough
to earn the 30-year-old her 30th career World Cup victory. “It’s a great relief and
a great joy to win in Austria, especially in front of such a crowd,” she said.
Austrian racing fans showed up in force after being given their favorite holiday
gift — more ski racing. Two nights of World Cup slalom races in Flachau were
penciled into the schedule when the originally planned slalom season openers
in Levi, Finland, were canceled because of a lack of snow.
The rowdy crowd, including Schild’s fiancé, fellow Austrian racer Benjamin
Raich, applauded their slalom superwoman wildly while her competitors once
again headed back their hotels to watch video and pick apart how she did it.
“Schild has, of course, a lot of confidence, especially with her results this
season,” second-place finisher Maria Hoefl-Riesch tol d Fisalpine.com. “She
doesn’t make any mistakes — she is cool and strong in her head. She is obvi-
ously the slalom queen at the moment.”
Two women who were favorites for a run at the overall globe at the onset of
the season but have struggled joined Schild on the podium. For Hoefl-Riesch,
who raced through the pain of a strained knee, it was her best result of the sea-
son and only her second podium through nine races. At this point last year, she
had already racked up five podiums, including two wins on her way to winning