It gets no closer than 0.01 seconds for ski racers. It’s faster than a blink of an eye and enough to win a race. Switzerland’s Lara Gut reminded everyone of that on Friday when she won the alpine combined race in Val d’sere, France – beating Lindsey Vonn of the USA by the smallest margin possible in the sport.

“It was not like Mikaela skis, but I tried to give my best,” Gut said, referring to the slalom skills of injured American skier, Mikaela Shiffrin. “This year is different. I feel safer on the skis. I can do what I want and not just try to do something. So it’s nice to ski like that.”

After the morning’s downhill run, Vonn had a healthy 0.38 lead over Gut, and almost a 3-second advantage over Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser – who ultimately finished third overall for the day. Yesterday, Vonn said that she wanted a 2.5-second lead over Kirchgasser going into the slalom to feel comfortable.

“I mean it was a pretty good run,” Vonn said. “I definitely can ski a little bit better for tomorrow. But it was solid. Hopefully, it’s enough of a gap for slalom, but yeah, I think I’m in a pretty good position.”

In the downhill portion of the combined, Americans Laurenne Ross, Jackie Wiles and Stacey Cook had strong showings in fourth, sixth and seventh, and they hope to carry that momentum into Saturday’s downhill.

“Definitely gave me a little confidence,” Ross said. “Reminded me of how fast I can be. And if I clean up the mistakes I made, I can be right in there.”

Fast even after dislocating her shoulder in a crash in the finish area during the training run the day before.

“It’s definitely painful today,” the American continued. “It’s tough to get my arm up. Getting out of the start was really hard. And it’s pretty much painful in any position aside from hanging right next to my body.”

Between runs, the goal was to conserve energy and get some slalom turns in.

“I am going to go switch my boots and suit, and get some food, and train some slalom, and hopefully have a good feeling, but I am going to try and conserve my energy,” Vonn said after the first run. “This is a long day. Second run is at 1:45, and then we have bib draw and awards at 5:30, so it’s a pretty intense schedule.”

In the second run, Kirchgasser used her slalom expertise to move onto the podium for the first time since World Championships last year in the same event.

“I am pretty happy because it was a good downhill,” the Austrian said. “Three seconds behind Lindsey, yeah. But it was a good one for me … I’m on the podium. And maybe next time in the combined, it’s better.”

Nearly catching Kirchgasser was surprise slalom standout Marusa Ferk of Slovenia, who was second in the slalom run and fourth overall.

“I needed this result because in the last three seasons, I was two seasons out because of injury. So I was coming back this year in technical disciplines,” she said.

VAL D ISERE,FRANCE,18.DEC.15 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS World Cup, alpine combined, downhill/ slalom, ladies, award ceremony. Image shows Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) and Lindsey Vonn (USA). Photo: GEPA pictures/ Mathias Mandl

While she was not thrilled with her downhill run, she was more than pleased with the slalom.

“I hope that tomorrow this result will bring me up, and I will not do any stupid mistakes, and that I will finish in the top 30,” she continued. 

When Vonn came down after her slalom run and saw the margin placing her in second, she smiled and began joking with Gut and Kirchgasser – happy about her performance.

“I mean I could analyze myself all day long, and I could find a hundredth on every single turn, but you know I gave it my best shot. And I think considering how much slalom I’ve trained, which is pretty much nothing, I think it was a really good performance,” Vonn said. “So, I’m happy with it. Maybe one hundredth faster would’ve been nice. But you know, you win and lose by hundredths all the time, so it’s just part of the sport.” 

Missing from today’s race was Austria’s Anna Fenninger who won the only alpine combined World Cup event last year. She’s out for the season, rehabilitating a knee injury sustained while training for the World Cup 0pener in Soelden. In fact, of the 12 top-ranked combined skiers on the World Cup Start List, seven did not compete in today’s race due to retirement, injury, taking a year off, or prioritizing other events this season, even with a small globe on the line.

Despite the absence of some competitors, the top three had reason to celebrate and Kirchgasser and Vonn certainly showed it, breaking out into a champagne fight at the awards ceremony.

“We kind of give each other s– all the time,” Vonn said. “When I crossed the finish line, I thought she was beating me and I had some select words for her. But it turns out she didn’t beat me, so I think that was her revenge: douse me with champagne.”

The women’s tour stop in Val d’sere concludes on Saturday with the downhill at 10:30 am CET.

View more photos from this race here.

Fans can stay current on the World Cup circuit by downloading the new U.S. Ski Team iOS app powered by Ski Racing here.


The Scoop
by Hank McKee

  1. Gut, Head/Head/Head
  2. Vonn, Head/Head/Head
  3. Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  4. Ferk, Stoeckli/Head/
  5. Bailet, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  6. Mowinckel, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  7. Marsaglia, Voelkl/Rossignol/Rossignol
  8. Curtoni, Head/Head/Head
  9. Schnarf, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  10. Brodnik, Stoeckli/
  • Women’s World Cup combined, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 18, 2015. … The 60th Criterium de la Premiere Neige. … It is the 10th race of the women’s 41 race World Cup schedule … the first of three scheduled combined races. … It is the 20th World Cup combined held at least in part at Val d’Isere. … Lindsey Vonn won the last two World Cup combined contests at the site in 2009 and 2010.
  • It is the 14th career World Cup victory for Lara Gut … her first in combined. .. It is her second win of the season after taking the GS at Aspen. … Winning margin is .01 of a second. … Top three are within the same second. … Top five within two seconds.
  • It is the 118th career World Cup podium for Lindsey Vonn … her 13th in combined. … It is her ninth World Cup podium at Val d’Isere in 11 career completed races at the site. … She also won two World Championships here. … It is, however, her only second-place finish. … She has been first or second in all five races she has completed this season.
  • It is the 15th career World Cup podium for Michaela Kirchgasser … her fifth in combined. … She has never won a World Cup combined. … It is her first podium of the season.
  • Laurenne Ross matches her career-best combined result. … It is a career-best combined result for Jacqueline Wiles and her third scoring finish of the season. … It is the fourth scoring finish of the season for Stacey Cook and her 104th career point finish. … It is the first World Cup scoring result for Sabrina Maier and Elisabeth Reisinger.
  • Lindsey Vonn holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 480-378 over Gut. … Frida Hansdotter (did not race) is third overall at 315. … Mikaela Shiffrin (did not race) is fourth at 296pts.
  • Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1202-1024 over Italy. … The U.S. is third with 1015pts and Canada 10th with 255pts.

Unofficial Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  21  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:44.51  53.79  2:38.30  0.00
 2  2  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  1:44.13  54.18  2:38.31  +0.01  0.07
 3  22  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT  1:47.10  52.11  2:39.21  +0.91  6.61
 4  9  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:47.37  52.18  2:39.55  +1.25  9.08
 5  18  196968 BAILET Margot 1990 FRA  1:46.06  54.08  2:40.14  +1.84  13.37
 6  14  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:45.98  54.41  2:40.39  +2.09  15.18
 7  16  297702 MARSAGLIA Francesca 1990 ITA  1:46.26  54.34  2:40.60  +2.30  16.71
 8  29  297910 CURTONI Elena 1991 ITA  1:46.49  54.51  2:41.00  +2.70  19.61
 8  6  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA  1:46.75  54.25  2:41.00  +2.70  19.61
 10  20  565333 BRODNIK Vanja 1989 SLO  1:47.31  54.00  2:41.31  +3.01  21.87
 11  30  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT  1:45.01  56.31  2:41.32  +3.02  21.94
 12  23  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  1:48.30  53.09  2:41.39  +3.09  22.45
 13  41  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA  1:47.36  54.06  2:41.42  +3.12  22.67
 14  19  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  1:48.06  53.37  2:41.43  +3.13  22.74
 15  11  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA  1:45.57  56.00  2:41.57  +3.27  23.76
 16  46  505886 KLING Kajsa 1988 SWE  1:46.53  55.06  2:41.59  +3.29  23.90
 17  1  299466 DELAGO Nicol 1996 ITA  1:47.25  54.67  2:41.92  +3.62  26.30
 18  31  206520 DORSCH Patrizia 1994 GER  1:47.45  54.49  2:41.94  +3.64  26.44
 19  25  56125 PUCHNER Mirjam 1992 AUT  1:45.84  56.18  2:42.02  +3.72  27.02
 20  13  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:46.63  55.81  2:42.44  +4.14  30.08
 21  5  425880 SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth 1991 NOR  1:47.52  54.97  2:42.49  +4.19  30.44
 22  37  56177 VENIER Stephanie 1993 AUT  1:46.47  56.61  2:43.08  +4.78  34.73
 23  38  56224 MAIER Sabrina 1994 AUT  1:47.70  55.45  2:43.15  +4.85  35.23
 24  12  197497 MIRADOLI Romane 1994 FRA  1:47.90  55.46  2:43.36  +5.06  36.76
 25  24  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  1:45.89  57.61  2:43.50  +5.20  37.78
 26  43  56311 REISINGER Elisabeth 1996 AUT  1:47.06  56.86  2:43.92  +5.62  40.83
 27  8  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO  1:49.64  54.52  2:44.16  +5.86  42.57
 28  42  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:45.91  59.62  2:45.53  +7.23  52.52
 29  4  516185 HAEHLEN Joana 1992 SUI  1:47.67  57.97  2:45.64  +7.34  53.32
 30  27  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB  1:50.19  55.62  2:45.81  +7.51  54.56
 31  3  206548 MAGG Ann Katrin 1994 GER  1:49.31  56.55  2:45.86  +7.56  54.92
 32  28  56258 AGER Christina 1995 AUT  1:48.54  57.68  2:46.22  +7.92  57.54
 33  45  465098 CAILL Ania Monica 1995 ROU  1:50.66  1:02.20  2:52.86  +14.56  105.77
Disqualified 1st run
 36  516319 SUTER Corinne 1994 SUI
 26  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE
Did not start 2nd run
 44  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN
 40  106849 YURKIW Larisa 1988 CAN
 39  197615 BESSY Anouk 1995 FRA
 35  197665 LARROUY Noemie 1995 FRA
 33  197641 GAUCHE Laura 1995 FRA
Did not finish 2nd run
 34  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA
 32  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON
 17  565360 STUHEC Ilka 1990 SLO
 15  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI
 7  155563 KRIZOVA Klara 1989 CZE
Did not finish 1st run
 10  55576 GOERGL Elisabeth 1981 AUT
Article Tags: Alpine , Top Rotator , Top Story

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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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