ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – Wednesday was the first cloudy day in St. Moritz all week (and it’s expected to be the only one), so naturally a downhill race was on the schedule. Even though this year’s downhill globe was decided in February, it did not make the final women’s downhill race of the season any less exciting.
Light snow fell throughout the night, dropping several centimeters on the race slope, but it was nothing the organizing committee and volunteers couldn’t handle. The course was rock solid underneath, a great thing for the racers and a challenge for anyone on course who may have forgotten recently tuned skis.
The men ran a successful race starting at 10:30 a.m. as the women watched and prepared for their own competition. The two courses intersected part of the way down and finished in the same area. Women began at noon when the light was flat and snow was falling, something that’s particularly challenging considering that most of the course is above the tree line where vertigo is always a possibility.
Austria’s Mirjam Puchner took advantage of a break in the weather, posting the fastest time of the day and winning her first World Cup race.
“Conditions were very good, and I had a good one with the light. And I think the girls at the end, it was a little bit dark,” she reflected. “I’m happy that I can use this light and I’m speechless.”
Now that her World Cup season is over, the Austrian will head back home to defend her national downhill title, which she has held for three of the last four years.
Behind her in second place was Switzerland’s Fabienne Suter, who has landed in the same position in four other races this season.
“It’s a good way to end the season,” said Suter. “The podium today was good finish for me and now I can look ahead with full motivation for next season.”
Suter also locked up second place in the final downhill standings after overtaking Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw. Suter’s performance is impressive especially considering her mid-season injury that sidelined her for roughly a month and her slow comeback that started in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Rounding out the podium was Elena Curtoni, landing on the podium for the first time in her World Cup career. Previously, her best downhill finish this season had been seventh place in the La Thuile.
For the Americans, Stacey Cook finished in 11th place and Laurenne Ross skied to 15th place.
Lindsey Vonn locked up the downhill globe nearly a month ago at that same race. Marking the 20th World Cup globe of her career, she secured it before her recent injury that prevented her from competing for the overall season title.
“I felt like I had a really great year,” Vonn said. “Nine wins and to be able to still take home one globe at least even though I had to end my season early, it means a lot. You work so hard and I was so close, I was leading four titles when I got hurt, so to still have at least one – that was huge. So I’m pretty excited about it.”
Vonn remains in the lead of the super G standings by 19 points, but both Lara Gut of Switzerland and Cornelia Huetter of Austria are in striking distance going into Thursday’s super G.
Men and women both race super G on Thursday. Women start at 10 a.m. CET, and men follow at 11:30 a.m.
by Hank Mckee
- Puchner, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Suter, Dynastar/Lange/Dynastar
- Curtoni, Head/Head/Head
- Goergl, Head/Head/Head
- Schnarf, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Stuffer, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Weirather, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Suter, Stoeckli/Lange/Fischer
- Kling, Head/Head/Head
- Bailot, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Women’s World Cup downhill, St. Moritz, Switzerland, March 16, 2016. … It is the first women’s race of World Cup Finals. … The ninth of nine downhill on the schedule.
- It is the first career World Cup win for Mirjam Puchner, and the first for her family as she edges brother Joachim for top World Cup honors by one placing.
- It is the 20th World Cup podium for Fabienne Suter. … It is her fifth World Cup podium of the season, all second places and four of them downhills.
- It is the first World Cup podium for Elena Curtoni, matching the family record held by Irene from March 2, 2012 in GS at Ofterschwang.
- It is the fourth best of 15 scoring results this season for Stacey Cook. … It is the 18th scoring result of the season for Laurenne Ross. … It is the 13th top-20 finish of the season for Larisa Yurkiw.
- Lindsey Vonn (did not race) wins the DH title (her record eighth) 580-463 over Suter. … Yurkiw is third with 407pts. … Laurenne Ross finishes 10th with 224pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Did not finish 1st run|