Just over a year ago, Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was training in Pitztal, Austria, when she crashed and suffered an undisplaced tibial fracture in her right leg. The injury sidelined her for six weeks, depriving her of valuable training time. However, the German was able to return to racing by the time the World Cup got to Killington, Vt., just two months later. While she had a strong 2016-17 season, she was not able to snag a win.

Rebensburg broke the pattern on Saturday, taking the win in the first race of the 2017-18 season at Soelden, Austria. This marked Rebensburg’s second win at the venue and first time racing there since 2015. The first time she won was back in 2010 about eight months after the German took home Olympic gold in giant slalom at Whistler, Canada.

“I mean, to be at the very top is always something special, and then directly at the first race of the season, it’s, like I said, a brilliant start,” Rebensburg says. “I wouldn’t put it too high because I mean it’s like four weeks until the next race, so many girls were not competing here. There are many other fast girls, so I need to keep pushing and training the next weeks and then it actually really starts in four weeks for me.”

Not only did Rebensburg have the advantage of starting at Soelden nine times previously, but she was also able to train on the race slope earlier in October.

“…I always feel that it’s a huge difference than in the race,” she says about training on the race slope. “I mean, the conditions are different, many racers are skiing through the course and for sure, it’s not bad to ski it. I made it just one day. I had the chance to do it more often, but I just said, ‘Okay. One time is enough.’ Like you said, this is my ninth time, I think, here today, so many runs I’ve made down the slope here.”

The Olympic champion shared the podium with fellow ’80s babies, Tessa Worley and Manuela Moelgg, who took second and third place respectively. The Frenchwoman was just 0.14 seconds shy of the win, making her maiden appearance on the Soelden podium, while the Italian was 0.53 seconds off the pace.

Image Credit: GEPA pictures/ Christian Walgram

As fans know, age is not the number that matters on the World Cup. It’s the time at the finish line and Italian tech skier Moelgg reinforced that idea on Saturday. Born in 1983, she was the oldest skier on the the ladies’ start list—about 15 years older than the youngest athletes on the roster. While many athletes would have retired by her age, it looks like Moelgg’s career might be trending upward.

The Italian went over five years without a World Cup podium result from 2011 until 2016. Last season, she ended that cycle with a third-place finish in the GS in Semmering, Austria, and she had more top 10 results last season than she had earned in years. It appears that the experience of 16 World Cup seasons has helped her perfect her setup and could account for this resurgence. Moelgg also manages to ski fast thanks to pure passion.

“I love this sport,” she explains. “I have a lot of heart, and I try to give my best every time and I feel in good shape. I have no pain and so, I do what I can. I like this.”

Moelgg led the Italian team, which was dominant in GS last season and will be very competitive internally when it comes to the limited Olympic spots, making the result even more sweet.

“Because we are strong team, it’s important to stay on the podium in the beginning for the Olympics, so this is my big dream and I try. I hope I can do it.”

The rest of her teammates had a bit of a tough start to the season. Sofia Goggia and Marta Bassino, who both had podium potential, did not finish. Irene Curtoni was the second fastest Italian in 14th place followed by Junior World Champion Laura Pirovano in 19th and Elena Curtoni in 27th.

On the American side, Mikaela Shiffrin was the lone top 30 finisher, coming in fifth place.

“I feel really good with where my GS is at, and I’m pretty disappointed because I didn’t really make any turns today like I know that I can, but I guess that’s how it goes,” Shiffrin explains. “I always really have a lot of respect for these girls, who especially in the second run if it’s bumpy at all, they just still ski so hard and I’m impressed by that and like I said, I have so much respect for it. I can’t wait for the time when I figure that out, so I can do it to.”

Surprise entrant Lindsey Vonn also pushed out of the start gate on Saturday, but wasn’t able to get in the top 30 and earn a second run. Independent U.S. racer Megan McJames and current NCAA athlete Foreste Peterson–who made her World Cup debut–also did not qualify for a second run.

Racing action continues on Sunday with the men’s World Cup opener.


Top 10

1. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
2. Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
4. Manuela Moelgg (ITA) – Dynastar / Lange / Look
4. Stephanie Brunner (AUT) –Head / Head / Head
5. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
6. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
7. Raghnild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head / Head / Head
8. Kristin Lysdahl (NOR) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
9. Tina Robnik (SLO) – Volkl / Dalbello / Marker
9. Sara Hector (SWE) – Head / Head / Head


Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  1  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  55.90  59.30  1:55.20  0.00  100.00
 2  5  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA  56.21  59.13  1:55.34  +0.14  1.19  80.00
 3  4  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  55.57  1:00.16  1:55.73  +0.53  4.51  60.00
 4  13  56217 BRUNNER Stephanie 1994 AUT  56.51  59.40  1:55.91  +0.71  6.04  50.00
 5  2  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  55.69  1:00.25  1:55.94  +0.74  6.30  45.00
 6  16  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  57.06  59.25  1:56.31  +1.11  9.44  40.00
 7  11  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  56.61  1:00.04  1:56.65  +1.45  12.34  36.00
 8  26  426187 LYSDAHL Kristin 1996 NOR  56.42  1:00.26  1:56.68  +1.48  12.59  32.00
 9  22  565373 ROBNIK Tina 1991 SLO  57.05  59.70  1:56.75  +1.55  13.19  29.00
 9  9  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  55.92  1:00.83  1:56.75  +1.55  13.19  29.00
 11  21  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  57.18  59.64  1:56.82  +1.62  13.78  24.00
 12  23  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT  57.87  59.03  1:56.90  +1.70  14.46  22.00
 13  29  56199 KAPPAURER Elisabeth 1994 AUT  57.16  59.84  1:57.00  +1.80  15.31  20.00
 14  53  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 SWE  57.65  59.41  1:57.06  +1.86  15.82  18.00
 14  19  296509 CURTONI Irene 1985 ITA  57.33  59.73  1:57.06  +1.86  15.82  18.00
 16  14  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  57.23  59.97  1:57.20  +2.00  17.01  15.00
 17  25  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA  57.65  59.80  1:57.45  +2.25  19.14  14.00
 18  18  56315 TRUPPE Katharina 1996 AUT  57.40  1:00.09  1:57.49  +2.29  19.48  13.00
 19  38  299624 PIROVANO Laura 1997 ITA  58.15  59.41  1:57.56  +2.36  20.08  12.00
 20  31  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT  57.74  1:00.05  1:57.79  +2.59  22.03  11.00
 21  24  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  57.15  1:00.79  1:57.94  +2.74  23.31  10.00
 22  10  425771 HAVER-LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  57.32  1:00.65  1:57.97  +2.77  23.56  9.00
 23  42  425921 HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten 1992 NOR  57.65  1:00.41  1:58.06  +2.86  24.33  8.00
 24  12  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  57.18  1:00.89  1:58.07  +2.87  24.41  7.00
 25  33  307493 ANDO Asa 1996 JPN  58.16  1:00.30  1:58.46  +3.26  27.73  6.00
 26  41  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER  57.81  1:01.08  1:58.89  +3.69  31.39  5.00
 27  20  297910 CURTONI Elena 1991 ITA  58.31  1:00.62  1:58.93  +3.73  31.73  4.00
 28  27  565471 HROVAT Meta 1998 SLO  58.02  1:03.78  2:01.80  +6.60  56.15  3.00
Did not finish 2nd run
 17  516528 MEILLARD Melanie 1998 SUI  56.37
 8  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  56.12
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 67  695108 KNYSH Olha 1995 UKR  1:03.15
 66  155763 LEDECKA Ester 1995 CZE  1:00.85
 65  206520 DORSCH Patrizia 1994 GER  59.53
 63  299029 GALLI Jole 1995 ITA  59.62
 62  516426 STOFFEL Elena 1996 SUI  59.25
 61  565453 AJLEC Desiree 1996 SLO  59.81
 60  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE  1:00.12
 59  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI  59.02
 58  299388 BERTANI Luisa Matilde Maria 1996 ITA  1:00.58
 56  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE  59.39
 55  435334 GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna 1994 POL  59.12
 54  506348 STAALNACKE Ylva 1992 SWE  59.79
 52  197215 MASSIOS Marie 1992 FRA  59.32
 50  516394 SUTER Jasmina 1995 SUI  58.68
 48  405138 JELINKOVA Adriana 1995 NED  59.62
 47  516504 DANIOTH Aline 1998 SUI  58.93
 45  426100 HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst 1995 NOR  58.44
 44  307255 ISHIKAWA Haruna 1994 JPN  1:00.23
 43  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB  59.13
 40  539678 PETERSON Foreste 1993 USA  59.70
 36  355061 HILZINGER Jessica 1997 GER  59.12
 35  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  59.33
 34  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN  58.51
 32  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  58.88
Did not finish 1st run
 64  665009 SHKANOVA Maria 1989 BLR
 57  56333 MAIR Chiara 1996 AUT
 51  56417 FEST Nadine 1998 AUT
 49  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO
 46  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO
 39  56388 LIENSBERGER Katharina 1997 AUT
 37  107532 TOMMY Mikaela 1995 CAN
 30  225525 TILLEY Alex 1993 GBR
 28  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN
 15  565268 DREV Ana 1985 SLO
 7  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA
 6  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI
 3  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA
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Gabbi Hall
Digital Content Editor
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A California native, Gabbi moved to Vermont to ski on the NCAA circuit for St. Michael’s College, where she served as team captain and studied journalism. Before joining Ski Racing, she worked as a broadcast TV producer and social media manager in higher education. She can be reached via email at gabbi@skiracing.com
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