Fenninger leads after first GS run at Worlds
BEAVER CREEK — Somebody has a big lead after the first run of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships women’s giant slalom on Thursday, but it isn’t the person for whom the hometown crowd was rooting.
Austria’s Anna Fenninger slapped down the best run of the morning with a time of 1 minute, 8.98 seconds, with teammate Michaela Kirchgasser (0.81 seconds behind) in second and Norway’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (0.9 seconds off the pace) in third.
Mikaela Shiffrin, of Eagle-Vail, was sitting in a tie for 13th with Austria’s Kathrin Zettel, 1.72 seconds out of the lead after 60 racers. As the Worlds have shown through 10 days or so of competition, nothing is over until it’s over, but Shiffrin seems to face an uphill climb to get on the medal stand with the second run at 2:15 p.m.
While Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who was sitting fourth after the morning run (1.1 seconds behind), justifiably has been getting the headlines with two gold medals (downhill and combined) and a sliver (super-G), Fenninger is also having a noteworthy Championships. Fenninger nipped Maze in the super-G for the win, has a silver from the downhill and is in prime position to add to that collection this afternoon.
With the prime starting spots going early, Kirchgasser made a charge from the 19th bib into second, as the Austrians are continuing to flex their alpine muscles.
Lindell-Vikarby is probably a surprise to most, but she did win the test GS event here in 2013, edging out Shiffrin, in what was the American’s best result in the discipline at the time.
Though Maze is 1.1 behind Fenninger, the Slovenian is just 0.2 out of the medals. Maze is attempting to become only the second racer to win five medals in five individual events at Worlds, Norway’s Lasse Kjus being the first in 1999, the last time the championships were held here.
With Tiger Woods on hand, American Lindsey Vonn skied in 26th, 2.67 seconds off the pace. A note about Worlds — the top 60, as opposed to 30 during the World Cup, get a second run, so Vonn will return this afternoon. Julia Mancuso skied into 29th at the time.
Vail native Sarah Schleper, racing for Mexico, finished in 1:17.34. That put her in 49th, somewhat on the bubble for making the second run. Schleper, who was on the U.S. Ski Team for 15-plus years, made a comeback this season to run at Worlds on home snow. She was injured right before the 1999 Worlds in Vail and Beaver Creek.
Organizer Rob Simon: It’s such a steep and notorious climb, you’re hitting grades of up to 14 percent, so that’s going to be an intense climb that’s going to …