|REITERALM, Austria (Nov. 10) - Olympian Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) ignored a blizzard Saturday to equal her best World Cup result, finishing fourth in stormy conditions during the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom of the season. "I've never seen so much snow," Stiegler said. WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming at noon ET.Defending World Cup slalom champion Marlies Schild of Austria won with a two-run time of 1:55.53. Stiegler, fifth in the first run, moved up a spot to match her top performance, finishing in 1:55.94. Lauren Ross (Stowe, VT), the only other U.S. racer, skied out in poor visibility at the bottom of the first run.|
Resi Stiegler (right) at the prize giving ceremony in Rieteralm (credit: Lauren Ross)
"Finishing 11-hundredths off the podium and just .4 away from the win in these conditions shows how well Resi's skiing," SL/GS Head Coach Chris Knight said. "She's got great balance now and she's skiing with good confidence, so she didn't get rattled in these conditions.
"A gust of wind kicked up snow in her face just as she approached the entry of the first hairpin, so she lost a lot of time at the top. But then Resi took off and powered her way down to the finish," Knight said.
Stiegler conceded nasty conditions normally would have given her trouble, but the storm played to her strength this time. The race, moved because of poor snow in Levi, Finland, was threatened because of the storm, which dumped two meters or more on the course. However, Stiegler said she was liberated because it meant she could free-ski through deep powder, a treat she hasn't enjoyed on the World Cup tour for perhaps two years.
"We had meters and meters and meters of snow. I've never seen so much snow," Stiegler said.
Each course had 64 gates and, despite the steadily falling snow, course conditions were nearly perfect, she said. "Even Lauren, who went 57th in the first run, said it was great at the top - it stayed hard - although it got dished out at the bottom," Stiegler said. "I couldn't believe how good it was."
The build-up to the race was stressful. After the season opener, a GS Oct. 27 in Soelden, Austria, Stiegler stayed in Europe. She trained and readied to go to Finland. However, warm temperatures forced organizers to shift the race.
On her second run, when Stiegler was smacked by the wind gust at the top, she shifted up another gear "and I powered it from there." Normally, Knight said - and she agreed - Stiegler could have been stopped at that point, "but Resi's in a different place this year. Everyone's noticing. She didn't get that first podium today, but she's getting closer every race."
The next World Cup races for the women are slalom and GS Nov. 24-25 in Panorama, B.C., with a downhill and super G Dec. 1-2 in Lake Louise, Alberta. The Audi Aspen Winternational, featuring the first women's downhill in Aspen in 20 years, will be Dec. 7-9; they'll race a DH, super G and slalom.
AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Reiteralm, AUT - Nov. 10, 2007
1. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:55.53
2. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 1:55.59
3. Chiara Costazza, Italy, 1:55.83
4. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 1:55.94
5. Veronika Zuzulova, Slovakia, 1:56.07
Lauren Ross, Stowe, VT
For complete results: