FLACHAU, Austria- Marlies Schild once again proved to be unbeatable in Slalom at the moment. By winning Tuesday night’s Slalom she was named Snow Space Princess for the second time. Maria Hoefl- Riesch and Tina Maze, who were third and second ranked after the first run, both held onto a podium spot but ended up switching positions.
Hoefl- Riesch was 0.46 and Maze .82 seconds behind the leader, making it the closest anyone came to Schild this season. Schild won both races this season by extreme margins, in Aspen she was 1.19 seconds ahead of second ranked Maria Pietilae- Holmner and in Courschavel 1.87 seconds faster than Tanja Poutiainen.
Schild keeps making it look so easy and Flachau being the last race before the short Christmas break, she gave her the best possible present, her 30th Slalom career victory - she also has a victory in Giant Slalom and Super Combined, for a total of 32.
“I never thought about winning so many times. This is just amazing! It’s so cool that I’m speechless. This was the best Christmas present I could give myself and now I’m just hoping that tomorrow Benni (Benjamin Raich) can do a good result so we can have a couple of days of nice holidays.”
Schild is a step above everyone else at the moment and when she skis it almost seems as if she isn’t putting any effort into it. She says her formula is just trying to have fun and ski as she does in training, but is it really that simple?
“It’s hard to explain what makes me so strong. I just feel I have to be thankful for everything that is working out so well at the moment. I just try to have fun and do the things we discuss in training and as long it works- I don’t talk too much about it,” she sais. “I give advices to my sister and some of my teammates, but it’s really hard to say. If someone asks me a specific question, than I’m able to answer and give them advice. But, I think the most important thing is to have fun and keep smiling.”
Hoefl- Riesch has been dealing with some knee problems since the first run in the Courchavel Slalom so today’s podium was a great confidence booster for the German. She is looking forward to going home, taking a few days off and enjoying the holidays.
“Of course it feels great, especially knowing this morning I was still not sure if I was going to be able to start. I’m really happy with my result but am also ready for my Christmas break.”
The hot topic in the finish area is of course Schild’s dominance. With three races out of three, a great dose of confidence Schild is the one to beat this season and Hoefl- Riesch sure respects that.
“Schild has of course a lot of confidence, especially with her results this season. She doesn’t make any mistakes- she is cool and strong in her head. She is obviously the Slalom Queen at the moment.”
Tina Maze, who is better known as a speed skier and Giant Slalom specialist has been constantly growing in Slalom. Since her first time on the Slalom podium last year in Maribor she went on to win the final race in Lenzerheide and today she stood on the Slalom podium for the fifth time in her career.
“It’s a good day for me,” Maze said. “Even though I didn’t ski without mistakes it turned out really well. With every race I am getting closer to Schild so I’m excited about Slalom. A night race is always a different rhythm but the atmosphere is incredible. This is like a fairytale – it’s snowing it’s a nice slalom and it’s just nice.” As everyone else, Maze is looking forward to some time off. “The holidays are here! I’m leaving Flachau and heading to my home in Crna (SLO), I’ll stay there with my family and celebrate the holidays together.”
Nastasia Noens was coming back from a knee surgery and looking forward to start the new season, when she was forced to skip the opening Slalom in Aspen due to an ugly fall where she injured her shoulder. A seventh place in Courchavel and tonight’s fifth definitely proved she is back where she left of before the knee injury.
One of the new names we keep seeing over and over this season is Carmen Thalmann’s. Tonight’s 12th place is the second top 15 result for the 23-year-old Austrian, she was ninth in Courchavel.
Some great conditions on the Flachau slope allowed for ladies wuth higher numbers to have a shot into the second run. We saw Lena Duerr putting down a strong second run from bib 46, Anna Swenn- Larsson getting 18th from number 51, Lotte Smiseth Sejersted 21st from bib 55 and Giant Slalom specialist Federica Brignone finishing 28th from number 52.
Wednesday it’s the men’s turn to put on a show in Flachau, first run starts again 15.30 and second run at 18.30.
For full results go here.
Ladies podium video is here.
by Ana Jelusic