Hosp lets her skiing do the talking
ASPEN – One day after she made a statement by not skiing in a downhill, Austria’s Nicole Hosp let her skis do all the talking by winning a World Cup slalom in Aspen. Hosp, who opted not to race in Saturday’s downhill citing safety concerns, had a nearly flawless second run Sunday to finish more than a second ahead of Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen. Austria’s Kathrin Zettel was third, while Resi Stiegler was the top American, taking eighth. “I thought about that a bit last night,” Hosp said of not starting the downhill. “We talked about it. Afterwards, I had some regrets, thinking that it may have been a bad decision, but today I forgot that decision, and I’m really happy I decided not to run.” Austrian coach Herbert Mandl backed Hosp’s decision Saturday and said there subsequently wasn’t pressure on Hosp on Sunday.”Not at all,” Mandl said. “She just had fun to ski the slalom today. She had the right answer today. I am very happy she won.” And Hosp won convincingly. Coming into the second run, Hosp trailed then-leader Poutiainen by 0.13 seconds. With the second-best final pass, Hosp finished in 1 minute, 34.50 seconds, 1.19 ahead of Poutiainen.”It was just a great run for me,” Hosp said. “I was really on the limit, but it worked for me.” With her 10th career World Cup win, Hosp picked up the maximum 100 points, taking a 25-point lead in the discipline over teammate Marlies Schild, who failed to finish her second run. Schild had won the previous two slalom races this season. Hosp, who was second in last year’s slalom at Aspen, still trails Schild in the overall by 17 points. Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, who was 23rd after the first run, had the fastest second run to finish seventh, while teammate Therese Borssen was fourth.Second’s swellPoutiainen picked up her 24th career podium Sunday and her fifth in Aspen. “It’s funny – I have really good racer here (for) many years,” she said. “I don’t know what it is, but I like it, and it’s really good to get back here.”Before taking her second run, Poutiainen – the last racer to leave the starting gate – didn’t know how Hosp had done. “It’s better not to know,” she said. “You have to do what you can and focus on your own skiing. (Hosp) had a really good run, but, whatever, I’m second and happy about it.”Last year at Aspen, Poutiainen was second in a giant slalom that Zettel won. Zettel earned her second podium of the year. After starting the year with a third-place finish at a giant slalom in Solden, Austria, Zettel had some problems before regaining her stride during some North American Cup races in Colorado. “I’m so happy to get third again,” Zettel said.Anja Paerson, of Sweden, missed a gate on the first run and has failed to crack into the top in any race this season. Italian Manuela Moelgg, whose brother Manfred took third in a slalom in Austria earlier in the day, failed to finish her first run. Around the slopesn From the book of “She’s tough, she’s a hockey player,” we bring you France’s Clair Dautherives. Starting with the 33 bib, Dautherives stormed down the course and took a gate to the face close to the bottom. Dautherives crossed the finish line in 13th with blood pouring from her nose and mouth. After receiving some medical attention, she left the corral with a piece of gauze up her nose and finished her second run in 25th. n The Austrian team left the hill with great alacrity, as they had a plane to catch and could grant only brief interviews.n Austria leaves Aspen with four podiums. The men earned five in Beaver Creek.n Poutiainen got a chance this weekend to do something she rarely does: ski powder. “We get training and racing, and I don’t have the possibility too often,” she said. “I had the chance, … and I took it.”Poutianine had to borrow some powder skis.n While Atomic may be atop the overall on the men’s side, Voelkl holds an edge on the women’s side. Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or748-2935.