Resi saves the day for the Americans
ASPEN – Resi Stiegler nicely summed things up after the Sunday’s women’s World Cup slalom, the finale of Aspen Winternational.”I leave feeling hungry which is always good,” the 22-year-old said. Stiegler took eighth with a time of 1 minute, 37.07 seconds, 2.47 ticks behind Austria’s Nicole Hosp’s winning mark. It was one of Stiegler’s better performances of her young career but still left her a bit wanting, pretty much the theme of the day for the American women.”I was kind of bumming,” Stiegler said. “I didn’t do anything different than the first run other than to hammer it out of the gate harder and just try to make up more time on the top so I wouldn’t lose as much time on the bottom. I tried to stay forward and go for it on the bottom. I don’t know if I was a little intimidated by the snow. Who knows?”Julia Mancuso picked up points with 19th place (1:38.44). Vail’s Lindsey Vonn and Kaylin Richardson of Edina, Minn., both made the second run but had to hike on their final heat.”Quite frustrating for me,” Vonn said of the week, during which she finished fourth in the downhill. “It’s not what I wanted in downhill. It was still respectable considering the conditions. I don’t know if slalom and this hill really don’t really mix. Hopefully, I come back here for downhill next year and get another chance.”Where’d it go?Stiegler was scorching of the top of the course on both of her runs, an experience very reminiscent of the tour’s last slalom in Panorama, British Columbia. Between runs, Stiegler chalked it up to conditioning, but after the second run, where at one point she led by 1.22 seconds after the top – only to fall off – she was somewhat confounded.”I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I keep losing a second on the bottom, which is a bummer,” she said. “That would have been a really good run. But it’s OK. I know what I did right. I have a week off. Maybe I have to go into the gym and do some more squats.”Mancuso just slipped into the top 30, qualifying her for a second go.”I’m pretty good at finishing 29th and 30th and 31st,” she said while being on the bubble after the morning run.With the Aspen course getting rutted quickly, Mancuso hoped going early in the second run might help her charge up the leader board like she did here in 2005. “I was crying because I thought I didn’t make the second run,” the 2006 giant-slalom Olympic champion said. “I finished 30th, and I got 10th place. I’ll try to do that again.”Mancuso had a good run but couldn’t replicate her 2005 magic, taking 19th.Not Vonn’s hillVonn wanted to put on a show during the only set of races for the women in the United States, but it just wasn’t happening.She was a very respectable 18th in the first run of the slalom, given that most of her training time is going to speed events. In the second run, she hit a kicker early and had to hike.”It was pretty much bad skiing,” she said. “The light was a little flat and, I just went a little bit straight. I keep thinking every time I come here I’m going to do something spectacular and just ski as fast as I can. I haven’t kind of learned to ski conservatively and get to the finish.”Richardson, going right after Vonn, hit that same kicker and suffered the same fate.”(Vonn) had a little bobble on a kicker there or something,” Richardson said. “So I knew to expect it, but I still hit it. I was trying to be subtle, and it got me offline. I was getting later and later. Maybe I leaned in a bit. It was really disappointing. But for the home-town crowd, I had to hike and finish here.”While both finished, neither got World Cup points because their total times weren’t within 8 percent of Hosp’s time.Hailey Duke, of Park City, Utah, did not qualify for the second run in the second World Cup start of her career.Outta hereWith the end of Winternational, the tour turns to Europe. The women have downhill and super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland, next weekend, while the technical skiers have a week off before St. Anton, Austria.Either way, the American team considers the trip across the Atlantic as a new stage of the season.Vonn leaves Aspen 11th in the overall standings, something she said wasn’t a high priority after Sunday’s race. She is second in the downhill with 150 points, just behind Canada’s Britt Janyk (160), who won Saturday’s downhill.Having held the downhill lead last year until midseason, Vonn considers that chase a more realistic goal.”One thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that I can’t always win,” she said. “I think last year I had such a big lead into January and February in downhill, I just took too many risks. I tried to ski my fastest. I’m not going to keep trying to win by a second-and-a-half. I can’t maintain it that easily. I’ve just got to ski smart. I want to try and win but just not do something crazy, just get to the finish.”Stiegler, who is sixth in the slalom points, is heading back to Jackson Hole, Wyo., for what she says is a much-needed break before St. Anton.”I don’t know how much rest I’ll do since all my friends are texting me about skiing,” she joked.