Alpine skiing-Schild makes perfect start to slalom season

Reuters

Sun, 27 Nov 21:59:00 2011

* World champion Schild wins slalom in Aspen

* Austrian is more than a second faster than nearest rival (Adds details, quotes)

World champion Marlies Schild was a class above the rest of the field in Aspen on Sunday when she won the first slalom of the World Cup season.

The Austrian was more than one second faster than her nearest rival over the two legs on the demanding Lower Ruthie's run.

Schild bagged her 30th World Cup victory, the 28th in a slalom, in one minute 43.72 seconds, beating last year's winner Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden by 1.19.

Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany made up for a disappointing start to the season with third place, nearly two seconds adrift at 1.96.

"It was not easy as you never know what to expect in the first slalom of the season," Schild told reporters.

"I knew I felt good but you always need to gauge yourself against the others."

Schild, like most of the leading contenders, had to adapt to changing light conditions, the weather being sunny in the morning while the piste was in the shade in the finishing stages of the second run.

Hoefl-Riesch made it clear her first podium of the season had come as a great relief as her World Cup title defence had begun with lacklustre performances in two giant slaloms.

"With the changing light, I didn't manage to execute everything right but I'm very happy with this solid third place," she told reporters.

Her arch rival Lindsey Vonn, hampered by a back injury sustained in practice, decided not to start the race to rest ahead of next weekend's trip to Lake Louise, where the American has won seven races in the past.

Last season, Hoefl-Riesch humbled Vonn when she won both downhills in the Canadian resort.

 

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