Historically, Austria has been good to Frida Hansdotter. The Swede has earned three of her four World Cup wins in the ski-obsessed country including her 2015 victory in Lienz. While this year at Lienz was not quite as successful, the slalom star managed to earn her first World Cup podium result of the season, coming in third place behind Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener in second place and the U.S. Ski Team’s Mikaela Shiffrin in first place.
“I’m satisfied,” the Swede said of her slalom result. “The first two races was okay for me. I mean I had fast parts, but I haven’t really get it together, so it was really nice to be on the podium today.”
Up until Thursday, Hansdotter’s best result of the 2017-18 season was a fourth-place finish in Levi, Finland. Earning her 27th World Cup podium was an important milestone as the calendar flips to 2018 and the Olympic Winter Games loom in the near future. The Swede has never earned an Olympic medal, though she came close in 2014 with a fifth-place finish in the Sochi slalom. That’s not to say Hansdotter can not perform at big moments. She has earned a medal in slalom at the last three World Championships, one silver and two bronze. Shiffrin won the World Championship title each of those years and has been notoriously hard to beat.
“We’ve been trying a couple of years now to stop her, but I mean she’s skiing fantastic,” Hansdotter said. “I mean it’s impressive to see, but we just have to keep on fighting. Like the second run, we were there almost, so it’s still a lot of things to do, but it’s just to keep on going, I think.”
The Swede was 1.22 seconds behind Shiffrin, who took her 36th career victory and added 100 points to her lead in the World Cup overall standings. This was Shiffrin’s third consecutive victory after taking back-to-back wins in Courchevel last week. The American has now won in four different disciplines this season–slalom, giant slalom, downhill, and parallel slalom.
“There were some spots where it really felt like I was going forward really well, and then, for sure, some big mistakes and spots where I was taking it easier,” Shiffrin said of the challenging second run. “I wanted to make sure I got to the finish, but I tried to do it fast and I’m excited.”
Lienz is a special venue for Shiffrin since this was where she earned her first World Cup podium in 2011.
“It’s incredible to race here,” the American recalled. “I always remember the crowd, the fans being so incredible, and it’s just such a nice hill as well. They did a really great job preparing it after the rain and the snowfall. It was not easy, but it was a pleasure to ski.”
Meanwhile, Holdener continues to hunt for a victory. No other woman has claimed more than eight World Cup slalom podium finishes in this discipline without winning once. The Swiss athlete has won two World Cup races previously: the 2016 city event in Stockholm, Sweden, and the 2016 alpine combined in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She is also the reigning World Champion in alpine combined
Perhaps the most stunning performance of the day came from Estelle Alphand of Sweden. The former French skier started bib 35 and ended the day tied for fifth place with Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova. She skied the fastest on the second run, beating Shiffrin’s second-run time by more than a second, and was the only athlete to ski the course in under 52 seconds. It seems that Alphand’s change in national team has had a positive impact on her skiing as this is her first top 10 World Cup result.
As for the American squad, World Cup veteran Resi Stiegler grabbed a few more World Cup points in 25th place, 3.46 seconds away from the win. Young gun Nina O’Brien did not finish the first run while Patricia Mangan did not qualify for a second run.
Women’s racing action continues on Friday with a giant slalom while the men race alpine combined in Bormio, Italy.
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
3. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
4. Bernadette Schild (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
5. Estelle Alphand (SWE) – Rossignol / Look / Lange
5. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
7. Katharina Gallhuber (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8. Christina Geiger (GER) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
9. Melanie Meillard (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
9. Denise Feieraband (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|17||24||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA||54.01||52.57||1:46.58||+2.71||18.79||14|
|22||21||506146||SWENN LARSSON Anna||1991||SWE||53.51||53.25||1:46.76||+2.89||20.03||9|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not start 2nd run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|71||175050||BERTHELSEN Nuunu Chemnitz||1996||DEN||1:03.12||0|
|57||425921||HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten||1992||NOR||56.43||0|
|53||426100||HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst||1995||NOR||54.60||0|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|63||6535773||O BRIEN Nina||1997||USA||0|
|Did not start 1st run|