Maria Hoefl-Riesch scored her first World Cup points of the season with second place in the opening Slalom of the season. Hoefl-Riesch, starting near the back of the second group, managed to battle the wind on the first run to post the joint third best time before attacking on the second run to move up to second on her own behind Mikaela Shiffrin and ahead of Tina Maze.
Hoefl-Riesch won this race last year and had been disappointed to get bib 14 in the draw. This did not stop her from posting a positive first run time and then backed this up with a strong second run. The top may have been a little sluggish but once she was over the ridge and heading down the steeper section, Hoefl-Riesch and her HEAD skis were flying. Hoefl-Riesch took the lead by six tenths and then had to wait to see what the remaining three at the start could do. Young German teammate Maria Wallner skied conservatively and then Maze was unable to live with Hoefl-Riesch’s pace. Shiffrin extended the lead she had as she took the win and the reindeer that was part of the prize!
Anna Swenn-Larsson added to the HEAD racers in the top ten with ninth and despite Wendy Holdener crashing out on the first run, her young Swiss team-mate Denise Feierabend put in a great performance to finish up tenth. Feierabend had started with bib 45 and used the conditions to her advantage as she put in a solid performance on the second run after having been 6th after the first run.
This was Maria Hoefl-Riesch’s seventh podium in Levi, only in Lake Louise has she more podiums (9) and this result lifts her up to fourth in the early race for the Overall. The German commented after the race that she was happy to be on the podium after the disappointment of skiing out in Soelden. “It was a great day for me. I had a good feeling in training already,” she said. “It’s always really special for me here because of my first win many years ago and because of my many good results here.”
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA)
2. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) HEAD
3. Tina Maze (SLO)
9. Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) HEAD
10. Denise Feierabend (SUI) HEAD