Mancuso impressive, but it’s Kathrin Hoelzl who wins Aspen World Cup giant slalom

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on November 28, 2009 7:02 pm

On snow that makes it difficult to exhibit phenominal skiing, the ladies defied conditions, making obvious their athletic skiing brilliance on Saturday at the the Aspen Winternational World Cup Giant Slalom.

Rock hard, early season, man made snow.  Then injected with water.  This is the kind of stuff most folks side slip down, and these ladies were attacking the hill essentially on hockey skates.  The chatter of the rutted ice reverberated and echoed off the nearby mountains.  A course worker wearing crampons fell and slid into the safety netting.

Aspen is no doubt one of the greatest places on the planet to ski.  But, we all have experienced these early season conditions, trotted out for our pleasure.  It feels beyond wonderful just to be sitting on a chairlift riding through the mountains again.  The summer is long  Early season laps help to build the legs for when the conditions become all time.  But today, they’re not.

Imagine flying down that early season sheet of ice.  I guess first imagine that you could.  That you had skis stiff enough, with edges so sharp that they could commit accidental murder.

The wicked conditions made some racers refrain from any sort of attacking style.  This was survival mode.

And then there was Julia Mancuso (pictured above).  Her first run she attacked without benefit of sun or starting position.  Great skiing.  I’m sure she felt she could do better, and sure she could, but her skiing was world class.  Mancuso finished a strong 13th.

Kathrin Hoelzl of Germany, last season’s GS World Champ, took first.  Kathrin Zettel of Austria was second, and young Italian Federica Brigone, in just her fourth World Cup, finished third.

Superstar Lindsey Vonn hit a rock on her first run destroying both her edge and any chance at a second run.  Yes, a rock.

It was a day of fast, knee destroying, incredible skiing.  Check out the first run here.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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