Alpine

ZAGREB, Croatia — Slovakia claimed this year’s installment of the annual Snow Queen Trophy slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, on Tuesday night as veteran Veronika Velez Zuzulova claimed her first victory of the season with a combined time of 2:02.53 seconds. Hot on her heels in second place was her fellow countrywoman Petra Vlhova, a slim 0.24 seconds back. Rounding out the podium in third was the Czech Republic’s Sarka Strachova, 0.52 seconds back.

The injected slope received some overnight snow and although organizers did their best to clear the track, bumpy and at times inconsistent conditions proved to be the deciding factor in the first run as many of the early favorites failed to finish, including American Mikaela Shiffrin.

“I straddled,” explained Shiffrin. “It was a little bit of a bumpy surface, and I didn’t give my feet enough room and my ski went on the wrong side of the gate. I knew it right away, and it’s a terrible feeling.”

Velez Zuzulova held the lead after the difficult first run and managed to fend off a strong challenge by Vlhova in the second for her first win of the season after three consecutive second-place finishes. This victory was made extra special by the presence of skiing great Janica Kostelic, who was Velez Zuzulova’s childhood idol.

“It was a tough race,” she said. “The first run, I had a really bad feeling when I arrived down. I was thinking that I will be really bad. After I saw the other girls, I saw that it was tough for everybody. Second run, I was ready to attack, and it was really not easy. I had some small mistakes, but I was trying to fight ’til the end and finally, it was good. For sure, it was a really nice moment and especially that I got the crown from Janica. I think this moment I will never forget because I did spend a lot of time with her; when I was young, I was training with her and she was my big idol, so I am really happy and for sure, it’s even more nice the victory. ”

Vlhova, although unhappy with her first run performance, recognized the significance of two skiers from the same small country finding the podium and is looking forward to what the future has in store for her and her compatriots.

“I am really happy because finally I did a good run,” Vlhova said. “After first run, I was really sad because it was not my skiing. I wanted to go full gas and I’m second and I’m happy. Really happy. For us, it’s amazing because we are a small country and we are two girls from Slovakia on the podium; first and second. It’s unbelievable.”

It was Strachova’s first podium appearance of the season, which will no doubt bode well for her confidence heading into the remainder of the season. It also marked her third time on the podium at this venue, having earned her other top-3 results in 2007 and 2009.

“It’s a great feeling to be on the podium again, especially here in Zagreb.” she said. “It’s the first race of the new year, and it’s nice to be here on the podium for the third time in the third place, so it’s nice.”

For the Americans, despite Shiffrin’s untimely exit, the day was salvaged by the performances of Resi Stiegler in seventh and Megan McJames scoring her career first World Cup slalom points in 20th. Lila Lapanja joined Shiffrin as a first run DNF.

“I’m just really happy,” Stiegler said in the finish. “I had a DNF in Semmering, and I was a little nervous coming into this race and I wanted to have a good one. I’ve been trying to get back in the top ten so I’m pretty happy with this result.”

Her fellow American–an independent athlete–was glad she decided to visit Croatia this year.

“I’m super excited,” added McJames. “I’ve been watching Zagreb on TV for the last ten years and I’ve always wanted to race and it’s never been possible, so this year I decided I was going and here I am and I’m super excited that this was my first slalom points. Amazing.”

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup slalom standings by 10 points over Velez Zuzulova. The American also continues to lead in the overall standings with a total of 798 points, more than 200 ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut.

The women’s tour now heads to Maribor, Slovenia, for giant slalom and slalom races Jan 7 and 8.

Fans can stay up to date on World Cup by  downloading the U.S. Ski Team – Ski Racing app for iOS and Android.


Top 10

  1. Veronika Velez Zuzulova (SVK) – Saolmon/Salomon/Salomon
  2. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  3. Sarka Strachova (CZE) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  4. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  5. Bernadette Schild (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
  6. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  7. Resi Stiegler (USA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  8. Chiara Costazza (ITA) – Dynastar/Lange/Look
  9. Katharina Truppe (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  10. Christina Geiger (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look

Official Recults

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  1  705287 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika 1984 SVK  1:00.40  1:02.13  2:02.53  0.00
 2  6  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  1:00.88  1:01.89  2:02.77  +0.24  1.41
 3  3  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  1:00.81  1:02.24  2:03.05  +0.52  3.06
 4  2  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  1:00.97  1:02.39  2:03.36  +0.83  4.88
 5  12  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT  1:00.79  1:02.90  2:03.69  +1.16  6.82
 6  14  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  1:01.31  1:03.13  2:04.44  +1.91  11.22
 7  11  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA  1:01.44  1:03.11  2:04.55  +2.02  11.87
 8  20  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara 1984 ITA  1:01.32  1:03.32  2:04.64  +2.11  12.40
 9  18  56315 TRUPPE Katharina 1996 AUT  1:01.80  1:03.16  2:04.96  +2.43  14.28
 10  21  206279 GEIGER Christina 1990 GER  1:01.63  1:03.83  2:05.46  +2.93  17.22
 11  24  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO  1:01.61  1:03.92  2:05.53  +3.00  17.63
 12  19  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE  1:02.35  1:03.42  2:05.77  +3.24  19.04
 13  26  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  1:02.57  1:03.45  2:06.02  +3.49  20.51
 14  16  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER  1:01.76  1:04.32  2:06.08  +3.55  20.86
 15  17  425981 SKJOELD Maren 1993 NOR  1:02.43  1:03.86  2:06.29  +3.76  22.09
 16  30  56143 GRUENWALD Julia 1991 AUT  1:02.01  1:04.51  2:06.52  +3.99  23.45
 17  27  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:02.08  1:04.58  2:06.66  +4.13  24.27
 18  49  196803 MOUGEL Laurie 1988 FRA  1:03.66  1:03.03  2:06.69  +4.16  24.44
 19  41  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB  1:03.36  1:04.12  2:07.48  +4.95  29.09
 20  62  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  1:03.30  1:04.73  2:08.03  +5.50  32.32
 21  35  485637 ALOPINA Ksenia 1992 RUS  1:03.75  1:04.30  2:08.05  +5.52  32.44
 22  55  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT  1:03.65  1:04.83  2:08.48  +5.95  34.96
 23  63  665009 SHKANOVA Maria 1989 BLR  1:03.75  1:05.29  2:09.04  +6.51  38.25
 24  32  206701 WILLIBALD Elisabeth 1996 GER  1:03.39  1:06.02  2:09.41  +6.88  40.43
 25  54  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND  1:03.72  1:16.00  2:19.72  +17.19  101.01
Disqualified 2nd run
 34  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN
Did not start 1st run
 60  565471 HROVAT Meta 1998 SLO
 59  425879 RIIS-JOHANNESSEN Kristina 1991 NOR
 42  56217 BRUNNER Stephanie 1994 AUT
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 65  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 FRA
 64  405138 JELINKOVA Adriana 1995 NED
 56  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI
 51  355061 HILZINGER Jessica 1997 GER
 48  56333 MAIR Chiara 1996 AUT
 47  56253 HUBER Katharina 1995 AUT
 44  206536 WALLNER Marina 1994 GER
 40  307493 ANDO Asa 1996 JPN
 39  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT
 38  206532 SCHMOTZ Marlene 1994 GER
 33  485802 TKACHENKO Ekaterina 1995 RUS
 15  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN
Did not finish 2nd run
 52  56388 LIENSBERGER Katharina 1997 AUT
 29  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER
 13  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA
 10  296509 CURTONI Irene 1985 ITA
 9  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT
Did not finish 1st run
 67  715171 MUZAFERIJA Elvedina 1999 BIH
 66  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA
 61  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO
 58  155727 CAPOVA Gabriela 1993 CZE
 57  206408 WEINBUCHNER Susanne 1991 GER
 53  225518 GUEST Charlotte 1993 GBR
 50  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE
 46  516334 CHABLE Charlotte 1994 SUI
 45  425921 HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten 1992 NOR
 43  307120 ARAI Makiko 1993 JPN
 37  539927 LAPANJA Lila 1994 USA
 36  225525 TILLEY Alexandra 1993 GBR
 31  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA
 28  197319 BAUD MUGNIER Adeline 1992 FRA
 25  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA
 23  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna 1991 SWE
 22  516528 MEILLARD Melanie 1998 SUI
 8  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI
 7  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR
 5  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA
 4  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI

 

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Rotator , Top Story
Sean Higgins
Associate Editor
-
A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American status in 2013. Prior to coming to SkiRacing.com, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
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