The final race of 2012 ended in dramatic fashion, as Veronika Velez Zuzulova picked up her first career win and the first-ever World Cup victory for the nation of Slovakia under the flood lights in Semmering, Austria Saturday. (There were two prior wins for Czechoslovakia, of which Slovakia was once part.)

A clear and relatively cold night allowed the snow to get hard and the racers to enjoy a perfect ski slope for the fourth slalom of the season.

Zuzulova, who has finished runner-up six times on the World Cup, broke the heart of the Austrian crowd that was roaring in support of countrywomen Kathrin Zettel, who threw down a blistering second run to take a more-than-a-second lead on rest of the field with only Tina Maze and the Slovak left to ski.

After the fastest first-run time, World Cup overall leader Maze was searching for her sixth win of the season, first in slalom. But none could match the pace of Zuzulova, whose first-run advantage on Zettel shrank by two-tenths of a second. It was just enough to hang on for the win, as Maze settled for third.

After finishing a promising fourth in the first run, American Mikaela Shiffrin clipped a gate, twice. The first time she got spun around and was able to hike back up into the course, but the 17-year-old was unable to recover from the second mistake through a mid-run flush, to finish with a DNF. Shiffrin relinquished the lead in the slalom standings, but she gets an A for effort on the day.

It was a positive day for American Resi Stiegler, who finished the first run in 14th and continued her comeback from knee surgery. Stiegler lost time on the first interval, but was able to gain a little back before dropping more than a second in the final turns of the course. She was 26th on the day, her best result of the season.

by Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup Slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 29, 2012

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
2 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
5 Pietielae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Geiger, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Curtoni, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
9 Holdener, Head/Head/Head
10 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

Women’s World Cup (night) Slalom, Semmering, Austria, Dec. 29, 2012. … It is the 29th race of the 73 race 2012-13 World Cup season. … the 17th of 38 races on the women’s schedule and the 16th to be held. … It is the fourth of nine women’s slaloms plus two city event parallels which will count for slalom points. … It is the 20th Cup race hosted by Semmering. … the 12th slalom.

It is the first career World Cup win for Veronika Valez Zuzulova, and the first for Slovakia. … He has been second six times and third seven times, all in slalom. … It is her first podium of the season.

It is the 43rd career World Cup podium placing for Kathrin Zettel. … her 20th in slalom. … and her fourth podium at Semmering, having won in GS in 2006 and 2008. … She was also second in slalom at Semmering in 2006. … It is her sixth podium of the season and second in slalom.

It is the 49th career World Cup podium for Tina Maze. … her 11th in slalom. … It is her second podium (in two days) at Semmering. … And her 11th podium of the season including four of the five disciplines.

It is a career best Cup result for Brittany Phelan. … All four of her career scoring results have come this season in slalom. … Erin Mielzynski matches her seventh best career result and is two placings better than her previous best at Semmering from 2010. … It is her third score of the season. … It is the tenth score of the season for Marie-Michele Gagnon. … her third in slalom. … It is the second career Cup scoring result for Elli Terwiel, matching her other score, in slalom at Courchevel Dec. 17, 2011. … It is the second score of the season for Resi Stiegler.

Maze leads the World Cup overall standings 1059-632 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (fourth in race). … Zettel is third with 582pts. … Lindsey Vonn (did not race) is fifth overall with 414pts. … Julia Mancuso (did not race) is seventh with 351pts. … and Mikaela Shiffrin (DNF 2nd) is tenth with 286pts. … Gagnon tops the Canadians in 18th with 193pts. … Maze leads the slalom standings 230-224 over Hoefl-Riesch with Velez Zuzulova third at 205pts. … Shiffrin in fourth with 196pts. … Mielzynski is top Canadian in 13th with 76pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 2304-1525 over the US. … Germany is third with 1454 and Canada ninth with 358pts.

Semmering (AUT)

FIS World Cup
Ladies’ Slalom
Dec. 29, 2012

Rank    Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time
 1 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK   47.77  49.51  1:37.28
 2 ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT   48.08  49.30  1:37.38
 3 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   47.22  50.26  1:37.48
 4 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   48.75  49.64  1:38.39
 5 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE   49.47  49.42  1:38.89
 6 GEIGER Christina  1990  GER   48.83  50.25  1:39.08
 7 POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN   49.04  50.08  1:39.12
 8 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA   48.83  50.38  1:39.21
 9 HOLDENER Wendy  1993  SUI   49.53  50.01  1:39.54
 10 BORSSEN Therese  1984  SWE   49.47  50.18  1:39.65
 11 VLHOVA Petra  1995  SVK   49.93  49.74  1:39.67
 12 SCHILD Bernadette  1990  AUT   50.01  49.87  1:39.88
 13 COSTAZZA Chiara  1984  ITA   50.27  49.63  1:39.90
 14 MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA   49.43  50.51  1:39.94
 15 THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT   50.39  49.59  1:39.98
 16 PHELAN Brittany  1991  CAN   50.06  49.93  1:39.99
 17 HOSP Nicole  1983  AUT   50.14  49.92  1:40.06
 18 MIELZYNSKI Erin  1990  CAN   49.89  50.27  1:40.16
 19 AZZOLA Michela  1991  ITA   50.45  49.81  1:40.26
 20 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN   50.37  50.01  1:40.38
 21 BARTHET Anne-Sophie  1988  FRA   50.61  49.92  1:40.53
 22 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE   50.49  50.06  1:40.55
 23 TERWIEL Elli  1989  CAN   50.51  50.24  1:40.75
 24 DUERR Lena  1991  GER   50.61  50.19  1:40.80
 25 EKLUND Nathalie  1992  SWE   50.37  50.46  1:40.83
 26 STIEGLER Resi  1985  USA   49.84  51.15  1:40.99
 27 STABER Veronika  1987  GER   50.31  51.45  1:41.76
Did not qualify for 2nd run
  SHKANOVA Maria  1989  BLR       
  SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena  1984  ARG       
  SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen  1982  ARG       
  BAUD Adeline  1992  FRA       
  BUCIK Ana  1993  SLO       
  CURTONI Elena  1991  ITA       
  BARIOZ Taina  1988  FRA       
  HECTOR Sara  1992  SWE       
  PERSYN Karen  1983  BEL       
  DUBOVSKA Martina  1992  CZE       
  SAEFVENBERG Charlotta  1994  SWE       
  BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT       
  IGNJATOVIC Nevena  1990  SRB       
  SMEDH Veronica  1988  SWE       
  NIGG Marina  1984  LIE       
  ROUTHIER Eve  1988  CAN       
  SIEBENHOFER Ramona  1991  AUT       
  MOUGEL Laurie  1988  FRA       
  HASEGAWA Emi  1986  JPN       
  KIYOSAWA Emiko  1983  JPN       
  GISIN Dominique  1985  SUI       
  CHMELAR Fanny  1985  GER       
  WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA       
  HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE       
Did not finish 2nd run
  GISIN Michelle  1993  SUI       
  SHIFFRIN Mikaela  1995  USA       
  KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT       
Did not finish 1st run
  GUTIERREZ Mireia  1988  AND       
  KANTOROVA Barbara  1992  SVK       
  GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka  1987  POL       
  WIRTH Barbara  1989  GER       
  MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA       
  DUKE Hailey  1985  USA       
  LOESETH Nina  1989  NOR       
  HOSHI Mizue  1985  JPN       
  DEPAULI Jessica  1991  AUT       
  AUBERT Sandrine  1982  FRA       
  DAUM Alexandra  1986  AUT       
  WIKSTROEM Emelie  1992  SWE       
  SWENN-LARSSON Anna  1991  SWE       
  NOENS Nastasia  1988  FRA       

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Story
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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