Austrian ski racing fans have a true hero in slalom ace Marlies Schild.
The 30-year-old earned her fourth VIP Snow Queen Crown today (Jan. 3) under the lights in Zagreb, Croatia by a monster, 1.40-second margin after leading the way in both runs.
Schild has won all five of this season’s World Cup slalom races. She started her streak in Aspen in late November then strung together wins in Courchevel, Flachau and Lienz. Today’s victory brings her career total to 34.
“The conditions were really tough with the soft snow and the visibility was very low in the upper part of the course because of the fog,” Schild told the press after the first run. “Yet apparently difficult conditions seem to fit me even better. I like this event a lot, this long run is particularly challenging too.”
Slovenian Tina Maze grabbed her third slalom podium finish in as many races in second after putting down the third-fastest time on the second run course set by her coach and boyfriend, Denis Steharnik.
The Austrian fans were given another reason to cheer as Michaela Kirchgasser stepped onto her first podium of the season in third place, 2.27 seconds behind Schild.
Schild has plenty of experience winning at Zagreb. She has now earned four victories on the hill, the first two coming in 04 and 05, and the most recent just last season. Along with a check for 42,000 Euro, the winner in Zagreb is presented with a crystal crown and placed on a throne atop the podium. “I have a cabinet with a glass window at home and all my crowns are in there,” said Schild after the race, “Everyone comes and says ‘wow, cool crowns.'”
The foggy conditions that caused several racers problems during the first run, cleared for most of the second run.
American Lindsey Vonn, who was ill with a stomach bug and didn’t inspect the first run course, stood 24th after the first run. She appeared to have healed during the two-hour interval between runs as she ripped down the second run course with the second-fastest time and cross the finish line with a temporary lead of 2.20 seconds. She held the lead through the next four racers then began her slide to finish ninth. Vonn continues to hold the World Cup overall lead with 641 points, 101 points ahead of Schild in second with 540 points.
Fellow American Resi Stielger, the 47th starter, stood 13th after the first run but looked out of rhythm from the start of the second run. She took wide turns around several gates in the middle of the course to finish 25th and claim World Cup points in her second race in a row. She finished 27th last week in Lienz for her first World Cup score of the season.
Swede Emelie Wikstroem had a career day in seventh after standing 19th after the first run. Her previous best was a 12th-place result earned just last week in Lienz.
Anna Goodman was the only Canadian to see the second run with a 23rd-place finish after standing 30th in the first run.
Young American Mikalea Shiffrin, fresh off of her third-place result in Lienz last week, struggled in the fog at the top of the first run course, straddling a gate and skiing out of line. Hailey Duke and Kiley Staples finished the first run in 53 and 54th, respectively, failing to reach the 30-woman second run.
The women’s World Cup tour now shifts back into speed events with downhill and super G races in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria Jan. 7-8.
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup Night Race, Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 3, 2012
1 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
3 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Moelgg, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
5 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Wikstroem, Voelkl/Tecnica/Marker
8 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Vonn, Head/Head/Head
10 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Women’s World Cup Night Slalom, Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 3, 2012. … The VIP Snow Queen Trophy race. … It is the 12th of 40 races on the women’s 2012 Cup schedule to be held. … The fifth of 10 slaloms. … It is the 12th Cup race hosted at Zagreb, all of them slaloms, eight of them women’s slaloms.
It is the 34th career World Cup win for Marlies Schild… Her 32nd in slalom moving her within one victory of Vreni Schneider’s record for slalom wins set in 1995. … It is her fifth win of the season, having swept the slalom schedule through the mid-point. … It is her fourth win at Zagreb dating back to 2005. … Winning margin is 1.4 seconds. … third place is 2.27 seconds out.
It is the 31st career World Cup podium result for Tina Maze. … Her eighth in slalom. … It is her third podium of the season in slalom. … She holds all of Slovenia’s podium results for the season. … It is her first podium at Zagreb.
It is the eighth career Cup podium result for Michaela Kirchgasser and her first in slalom. … Her last podium result came in combined Jan. 29, 2010.
It is the 18th career Cup top 10 in slalom for Lindsey Vonn. … and her second of the season. … It is the 17th career scoring result for Anna Goodman. … Her third of the season all in slalom. … It is the fourth finish at Zagreb for Resi Stiegler.
Vonn (ninth in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 641-540 over Schild. … Maze sits third at 390pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF 1st) ) is top Canadian overall in 33rd with 82pts. … Schild is dominating the slalom standings 500-287 over Maze. … Kirchgasser is third with 205pts. … Mikaela Shiffrin (DNF 1st) leads US skiers on the slalom list in 12th with 92pts. … Gagnon is top Canadian in 18th with 71pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 2186-1096 over the US. … Germany is third with 1000pts. … Canada 11th with 187pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|72||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|55||425880||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|70||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
Image by Gepa