If you had walked out of a hotel in Maribor, Slovenia, this morning, you likely would have thought your overnight sleep was in fact a winter hibernation, and you blissfully slept through until spring.
Not the case.
Mid-winter on the women’s World Cup circuit felt like mid-April, boasting 50 degree temperatures and one lone strip of snow for the weekend’s race courses. Maybe it’s a prediction that Punxsutawney Phil is unlikely to see his shadow in just a few days.
The t-shirt weather made for challenging snow conditions, mixing a hard top layer with sugary snow beneath. The winner, Viktoria Rebensburg, was challenged by her second run start position, 29th.
“It was bumpy top to bottom. But I think it was better on the second run, the slope, as compared to the first run,” the German said. “The snow was more wet and the salt was more combined to the snow.”
The run was so bumpy that the result surprised Rebensburg, who felt she made mistakes all the way down the course and wondered if she would make it to the finish. Her result on the day moves her in third in the overall standings — behind Lara Gut and Lindsey Vonn, who both crashed in the second run.
Coming in second for the second time in a row was local golden girl, Ana Drev. This was her second career podium — just two weeks after her first in Flachau, Austria. The hometown crowd embraced their new ski hero due to the absence of Tina Maze this season, cheering on Drev.
“When I came to the steep part, when I approach(ed) the finish area, it was amazing feeling,” said Drev. “It was so loud that I just tried to concentrate on my skiing, not to hearing the people, so when I saw the green light in the finish area, it was just a relief.”
The race remained close until the very end with less than a tenth of a second between second and fourth place at the end of the day. Austria’s Eva-Maria Brem could not hold onto her first run lead, sliding in just behind Lichtenstein’s Tina Weirather and barely missing the podium. Brem was able to maintain her lead in the giant slalom standings with her fourth-place finish.
“It was a really tough race,” Weirather explained. “I was really concerned between the first and the second run because the bib number 25, 26 looked terrible in the first run and I didn’t know how to do it. It was really sketchy. … I think I just tried to ski with instincts not with thinking too much, and it worked.”
First run knocked many of the athletes around as the course deteriorated quickly. The cut off to make the flip was nearly six seconds out, practically unheard of on this circuit barring a Shiffrin-esque historical margin of victory. Compare that to the recent giant slalom in Flachau, a course of similar length – running about one minute and twelve seconds in time –where athletes had to be under three seconds from the leader’s time to qualify.
The pretty weather did not make for pretty skiing from American independent skier Megan McJames, who was unable to finish first run.
The excitement continues tomorrow with a slalom on the same Slovenian slope, where U.S. Ski Team up-and-comer Lila Lapanja will chase more World Cup slalom points in her father’s home country.
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by Hank Mckee
- Rebensburg, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
- Drev, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Weirather, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Brem, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
- Loeseth, Volkl/Lange/Marker
- Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Fanchini, Dynastar/Lange/Look
- Bassino, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
- Prefontaine, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
- Women’s World Cup giant slalom, Maribor, Slovenia, Jan 30, 2016 … The Golden Fox World Cup for Women. … It is the 23rd of 41 races on the women’s 2016 schedule … the seventh of nine scheduled GSs. … It will be the 66th time Maribor has hosted a World Cup race … the 28th GS. … Anna Fenninger is the defending champion.
- It is the 12th career World Cup win for Viktoria Rebensburg, her second of the month having also won the Flachau GS Jan. 17. … She was second at Maribor last season. … The winning margin is 0.32 of a second. … Top four skiers are within the same second. … Top 15 within two seconds.
- It is the second career World Cup podium for Ana Drev, and second of the month having also placed second at Flachau Jan. 17.
- It is the 24th career World Cup podium for Tina Weirather … her sixth in GS. … It is her fourth podium of the season, third in GS.
- It is the fourth career World Cup top 10 for Marie-Pier Prefontaine, all of them coming in GS. … It is her best showing of the season. … It is the 40th time Marie-Michele Gagnon has been 11th or better in a World Cup race. … Just the seventh time in a GS.
- Lindsey Vonn (DNF 2nd) leads the World Cup overall Standings 900-855 over Lara Gut (DNF 2nd). … Rebensburg moves to third overall with 680pts.
- Eva-Maria Brem (fourth in race) leads the GS standings 442-410 over Rebensburg. … Gut is third with 362pts. … With only two races remaining, just six skiers are currently in mathematical contention for the GS title.
- Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup standings 2837-2254 over Italy. … Switzerland is third with 2073pts. … The U.S. is fourth at 1744 and Canada ninth with 751pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|40||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|17||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA|