Marlies Schild makes history with her 34th slalom win
COURCHEVEL, France - Courchevel has been back on the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup circuit since 2010. It's been a massive success every year.
Today's conditions were perfect for the second slalom race of the season. Austria's Marlies Schild raced to her 34th World Cup slalom victory in a combined time of 1:45.17, tying Vreni Schneider's ladies' record. Marlies Schild was third after the first run, just 0.20 seconds behind her younger sister Bernadette, who paced the first run.
The elder Schild put a breathtaking second run together to take the lead. Second of the first run, Frida Hansdotter (SWE) kept up the pace and the second place, 0.33 seconds slower. Bernadette Schild had a less clean second run and took third place in the end, 1.22 seconds behind.
Marlies Schild, whowon the only two World Cup slaloms held in Courchevel, is back at her top level and is sure to be a contender for the slalom title and the gold medal in Sochi.
“I wasn't really nervous, because I knew there was no other way but to give it all out to be faster than my younger sister”, said the 32-year-old. “It was just a lot of fun again, that is the main thing. The hill here in Courchevel is not easy. It's steep and you have to push really hard. You simply can't be conservative.”
“It's been two years since I last won a race. Everybody has been telling me about this record. Now that's it's done, I'll be able to ski with less pressure. My self-confidence is back.”
“My plan was to retire earlier in my career. But I lost some time with my injuries. I've always had the feeling I could achieve more. That's why I'm still on the tour.”
Hansdotter has been looking for her maiden World Cup victory for a long time. She had to be content today with the second place for the seventh time in her career.
“I struggled with one of my poles right at the start of the second run and definitely lost some time there, but I'm very happy with a podium today, said the 28-year-old. “The course was challenging. When it's tough, I like it and this actually when I get good results.”
She has a lot of respect for Marlies Schild. “It's nice to see her back on the tour after the injuries she's had. I'm sure her plan is to go for the victory in every single race from now on. We will try our best to stop her”, she jokingly concluded.
Bernadette Schild earned her second career podium after finishing second in the slalom race at the Lenzerheide finals.
"To be the last up there at the start was special", she said. "I looked around and there were just a couple of people left. I was of course a bit nervous but tried to relax."
"I wasn't told about my sister having the fastest of the second run, but I was sure she would be. Finishing third today gives me a lot of confidence going into the next slalom race at home in Lienz. I really look forward to it. It's going to be fun."
Among the big names, Maria Höfl-Riesch straddled after the first split in the first run, while slalom World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin struggled in both runs to finally finish 12th, 2.11 seconds back.Tina Maze took 17th, 3.15 seconds off the pace. Local Hero Tessa Worley crashed in the first run and injured her right knee. She was transferred to hospital for further examination right after the run.
In the slalom standings, Shiffrin still has the lead with 122 points. Hansdotter has 112 points, while Marlies Schild owns third place with 100 points.
The ladies tour now shifts to Val d'Isère where a downhill and a giant slalom race are scheduled for the weekend.
Here are the full results of the day.