At the very same site where Stephanie Venier claimed her first-ever podium in 2017, the Austrian delivered her career-first World Cup victory performance on Sunday in the downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER). One week earlier in Cortina d'Ampezzo (ITA), she skied to her first podium of the season also in the downhill. Her win in Garmisch marked the fifth downhill victory of the season for the Austrian ladies' team following on the double successes of Ramona Siebenhofer in Cortina and Nicole Schmidhofer in Lake Louise.
The course in Garmisch, which is always one of the most challenging for ladies due to the terrain and low light, required great technical skill and precise movements to navigate the run at top speeds. The upper jump was significantly reduced after the first training run and the second jump was also decreased prior to and during the race after a course hold following bib 3. A number of skiers struggled to complete the course and experienced difficulty in various areas.
For the second day in a row, Sofia Goggia of Italy skied into the second-place position – a miraculous feat considering that she entered the training runs in Garmisch simply to test the recovery of her ankle injury. Although she is still experiencing some pain, the results from the weekend are encouraging for her participation in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre (SWE) which kick off in just over one week's time.
To the delight of German fans, Venier and Goggia were joined on the podium by Kira Wiedle in third place for the second podium appearance of her career and the season. Weidle remarked that the home podium in Garmisch was a dream come true following her early-season success in Lake Louise.
Although the competitors who failed to finish or crashed into the nets were all able to ski to the finish under their own power for most of the race, the 42nd starter on course suffered a heavy crash that required rescue. Federica Sosio of Italy crashed off the second jump and slid into the nets. She required a helicopter evacuation and sustained a fracture to her left leg. The jury made the decision to cancel the race after Sosio's crash due to safety reasons, and the final 10 competitors were not permitted to start. The results through the 42nd starter stand as official.
Cornelia Huetter of Austria who crashed on the upper section of the course after catching an edge suffered a knee ligament and calf muscle injury that will sideline her for 4-6 weeks, marking her out of the World Ski Championships. Federica Brignone of Italy feared an injury to her right knee following her crash but results from a hospital check-up came back all clear.
See full results from today's race here.
[Audio from the press conference was not available from the LOC]