Under challenging conditions with difficult visibility, Austria’s Anna Fenninger was in a league of her own, as the home-nation racer completed the Christmas double, last year winning the sister race in Lienz and crushing the rest of the field by more than a second in Semmering on Friday.

“I was a little bit nervous at first. I had only the run in my head, yeah, it worked,” said Fenninger. “It wasn’t very good conditions because the last days it was raining and the slope was very hard. The first run was a little bit slipperier [but they salted it for second run] and it was very, very hard.”

Fenninger has been on the podium a couple times this season, but this was her first win. She finished with a combined time of 2 minutes, 13.09 seconds. Tina Maze (+1.10) was second, and Tessa Worley (+1.18) was third for the third time this season.

Since the mid-’90s, the ladies’ World Cup tour has stopped at this time of the year, every other year, in the Northern Limestone Alps of Semmering, only one hour away from Vienna.

Despite the warm weather conditions of the last few days, organizers worked hard to fine-tune the ski slope, as light snowfall hit Semmering in the morning. The afternoon was characterized by changing light conditions and swirly winds up top.

Fenninger was fastest in the first run. The young Austrian made the most of her bib No. 4 start position, taking a 0.56-second lead over her nearest rival Worley. Maze, who wore bib No. 3, finished the first run in third, 0.90 seconds behind.

In the second run, Mikaela Shiffrin no doubt still buzzing from a her first career win in Are last week, had the best GS result of her young career. Aided by a strong first run, which has been a struggle for her at times in the giant slalom this season, the 17-year-old did not get the benefit of the weather up high, with heavy fog rolling in as she kicked out of the start.

It cleared up for her in the course’s midsection, but a late movement and subsequent recovery caused her to drift behind the leader’s pace. As she often does, Shiffrin destroyed the lower part of the course, exploding toward the finish, ultimately for an eighth-place result.

“That felt better,” said Shiffrin. “I had some energy that run. I mean, my energy level has been OK, or maybe I’m just telling myself it’s OK—mind over matter. Last night I actually had the best night of sleep that I’ve had in a long time, so hopefully tonight I get a good night of sleep and come out tomorrow and have some fun.”

After a decent first run that placed her in the top 20 heading into the afternoon, the GS troubles continued for Julia Mancuso, who has never finished outside the top six in Semmering. The American skied defensively and made a major mistake on the transition from flat to steep to lose more than a second on the rest of the field. She finished 25th on the day.  

World Cup Overall leader Maze, who swept the first four GS races of the winter, charged the top section of the course, where many others struggled. She was able to secure a spot on podium and 80 points toward the Overall title. Meanwhile Worley, looking for her first WC win this season, was two-tenths down at the first split and able to close the gap in midsection. But some late turns may have cost her a step on the podium, as she skied to within a tenth of Maze.

by Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 28, 2012

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Fenninger, Head/Head/Head
2 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
3 Worley, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
5 Rebensburg, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
6 Lindell-Vikarby, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Goergl, Head/Head/Head
10 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 28, 2012. … It is the 28th of 73 events on the 2012-13 World Cup schedule. … The 16th of 43 on the women’s schedule and the 15th held (Val d’Isere SG has not yet been held). … It is the sixth on nine women’s giant slaloms. … It is the 19th Cup event held at Semmering. … all women’s events. … And the eighth GS. … Kathrin Zettel is the only woman to win two GS at the site.

It is the second career World Cup win for Anna Fenninger, the previous also in GS and scored at Lienz also on Dec. 28, but last season. … Fenninger also owns podium placings in super G and downhill…. It is her first score at Semmering. … It is her third podium result of the season, all in December.

It is the 48th career World Cup podium for Tina Maze. … Her 22nd in GS. … It is her fifth result collected at Semmering and her first podium at the site. … It is her tenth podium result of the season, including five wins (four in GS).

It is the 11th career Cup podium for Tessa Worley. … All of them in GS. … She has never placed second in a Cup GS owning seven victories and four third place finishes. … It is her second podium in GS at Semmering, having won two years ago to the day. … It is her third podium of the season, all in GS and all third place finishes.

It is the tenth World Cup top ten for Mikaela Shiffrin in 13 completed career races. … It is her best career GS finish. … It is her sixth finish of the season, all of them top 10 finishes. … Marie-Michele Gagnon matches her 20th best career finish of 43 completed races. … It is the fifth time she has finished 14th in a Cup race. … It is her ninth scoring finish of the season. … It is the 58th career scoring finish in GS for Julia Mancuso and her 11th of the season.

Tina Maze leads the World Cup overall standings 999-582 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (fourth in race). … Kathrin Zettel (seventh in race) is third overall with 502. … Lindsey Vonn (did not race) is fifth with 414pts,  Julia Mancuso seventh with 351pts and Mikaela Shiffrin tenth with 286pts. … Gagnon leads the Canadians in 18th with 182pts. … Maze leads the GS standings 540-342 over Zettel. … Viktoria Rebensburg (fifth in race) is third with 301pts. … Mancuso and Shiffrin lead North America in a tie for 17th with 90pts. … Gagnon in 20th with 88pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 2172-1520 over the US. … Germany is third with 1353pts and Canada ninth with 311pts.

Semmering (AUT)

FIS World Cup
Ladies’ Giant Slalom
Dec. 28, 2012

Rank    Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time
 1 FENNINGER Anna  1989  AUT   1:06.42  1:06.67  2:13.09
 2 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   1:07.32  1:06.87  2:14.19
 3 WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA   1:06.98  1:07.29  2:14.27
 4 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   1:07.56  1:07.20  2:14.76
 5 REBENSBURG Viktoria  1989  GER   1:07.67  1:07.33  2:15.00
 6 LINDELL-VIKARBY Jessica  1984  SWE   1:07.64  1:07.84  2:15.48
 7 ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT   1:08.28  1:07.21  2:15.49
 8 SHIFFRIN Mikaela  1995  USA   1:08.56  1:07.21  2:15.77
 9 GOERGL Elisabeth  1981  AUT   1:08.38  1:07.71  2:16.09
 10 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE   1:08.81  1:07.36  2:16.17
 11 HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE   1:08.18  1:08.00  2:16.18
 12 FANCHINI Nadia  1986  ITA   1:09.18  1:07.14  2:16.32
 13 GISIN Dominique  1985  SUI   1:09.07  1:07.32  2:16.39
 14 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN   1:08.75  1:07.73  2:16.48
 15 KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT   1:09.15  1:07.46  2:16.61
 16 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA   1:08.90  1:07.76  2:16.66
 17 MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA   1:09.16  1:07.57  2:16.73
 18 HRONEK Veronique  1991  GER   1:09.90  1:06.86  2:16.76
 19 KARBON Denise  1980  ITA   1:09.60  1:07.19  2:16.79
 20 POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN   1:08.74  1:08.16  2:16.90
 21 KOEHLE Stefanie  1986  AUT   1:08.31  1:08.75  2:17.06
 22 BARIOZ Taina  1988  FRA   1:09.09  1:08.03  2:17.12
 23 BERTRAND Marion  1984  FRA   1:09.06  1:08.09  2:17.15
 24 GUT Lara  1991  SUI   1:08.85  1:08.34  2:17.19
 25 MANCUSO Julia  1984  USA   1:09.06  1:08.19  2:17.25
 26 BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT   1:08.87  1:08.42  2:17.29
 27 WEIRATHER Tina  1989  LIE   1:09.83  1:07.52  2:17.35
 28 HECTOR Sara  1992  SWE   1:09.93  1:07.46  2:17.39
 29 MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA   1:08.42  1:09.54  2:17.96
 30 AGERER Lisa Magdalena  1991  ITA   1:09.93  1:08.07  2:18.00
Did not start 1st run
  JELINKOVA Adriana  1995  NED       
Did not qualify for 2nd run
  SHKANOVA Maria  1989  BLR       
  SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena  1984  ARG       
  SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen  1982  ARG       
  GASIENICA DANIEL Maryna  1994  POL       
  DUBOVSKA Martina  1992  CZE       
  KANTOROVA Barbara  1992  SVK       
  MARSAGLIA Francesca  1990  ITA       
  WEINBUCHNER Susanne  1991  GER       
  SUTER Fabienne  1985  SUI       
  THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT       
  EKLUND Nathalie  1992  SWE       
  DEPAULI Jessica  1991  AUT       
  HOLDENER Wendy  1993  SUI       
  MCJAMES Megan  1987  USA       
  HOSHI Mizue  1985  JPN       
  RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina  1981  SPA       
  GOGGIA Sofia  1992  ITA       
  STABER Veronika  1987  GER       
  CURTONI Elena  1991  ITA       
  FRASSE SOMBET Coralie  1991  FRA       
  BAUD Adeline  1992  FRA       
  ROBNIK Tina  1991  SLO       
  HASEGAWA Emi  1986  JPN       
  BARTHET Anne-Sophie  1988  FRA       
  WIRTH Barbara  1989  GER       
  LOESETH Mona  1991  NOR       
  HOESL Simona  1992  GER       
  SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth  1991  NOR       
  SIEBENHOFER Ramona  1991  AUT       
  PREFONTAINE Marie-Pier  1988  CAN       
  DUERR Lena  1991  GER       
  DREV Ana  1985  SLO       
Did not finish 1st run
  SWENN-LARSSON Anna  1991  SWE       

Article Tags: Alpine, Top Story

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Geoff Mintz
- Geoff Mintz is a former alpine ski racer who cut his teeth at Ragged Mountain and Waterville Valley, N.H. After graduating from Holderness and UVM, he relocated to Colorado, where he worked as an instructor at Beaver Creek prior to pursuing a career in journalism.
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