Fiala eighth in downhill training |

Fiala eighth in downhill training

Daily Staff Report

Swiss women, using the training runs as qualifying heats for a spot in the women’s dowhill, filled the top two spots while Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, Wash.), finishing 12th, again was the fastest American.

The light was flat and a few snowflakes were falling as the men – denied Tuesday by blowing snow – got their first training run. Guay, sixth Sunday in the opening super-G, finished in 1 minute, 50.33 seconds with Swiss racer Ambrosi Hoffmann second at 1:50.79. Canadian Jeff Hume tied Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindale for third in 1:51, as many skiers stood heading into the finish to disguise their final time.

Fiala, enjoying the best season of his career, was timed in 1:51.82 while Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, Calif.) was 29th in 1:54.27. He made a big mistake in mid-run

“I really blew it in the middle of the course,” he said – but Fiala still posted his top-10 finish, then kissed his new Atomic skis in the finish area.

Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.), priming for today’s combined event, was 64th as he ran No. 7 and went through the fog before turning his run into a tour of the course. The men race downhill Saturday.

“I really liked the course. It has great rhythm,” Miller said. “Today, though, after I came out of the start I could see absolutely nothing at all at the top. My goggles were fogged up, the wind was blowing, the snow was blowing so I just kinda of took a cruise.”

Rahlves said the flat section after the steep start torpedoed his chance to do better.

“I really don’t like the top too much. It’s nice dropping out of the chute but then it’s really flat, but that’s not what I like. For me to do well on this course, we’ve got to get down to the hard conditions, the hard snow, and I’ve got to have everything perfect – my skis, everything has to be perfect.”

The women, who skied first Tuesday and got their run completed while the men were forced to cancel their training run, went second Wednesday. Monika Dumermuth was fastest in 1:21.61 and Nadia Styger was second in 1:21.94 with Canadian Melanie Turgeon in third place. (1:22.04). Ludlow, starting 36th, finished 12th in 1:22.66 with Kirsten Clark (Raymond, Maine), silver medalist in the super-G Monday, 20th (1:23.52).

Ludlow said soft snow in the track accumulated in several places, especially on the flats, slowing her although she was the fastest American for the second-straight day. Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, Calif.), bronze medalist in the super-G Monday, said her goggles slid down on her face, creating a distraction as she sought to get better acquainted with the course.

“I wrestled with my goggles part of the way,” she said. “I’d like to have another shot that course (before the downhill), but that’s why they run the race.”

The women’s downhill is Sunday.

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