Shiffrin Sixth, Moltzan 11th in Sölden Giant Slalom
The sun was shining and crowds were out in full force for the opening race of the 2023-24 Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour in Sölden, Austria on Saturday, Oct. 28. Winningest alpine skier of all time Mikaela Shiffrin led the way for the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team in sixth place with Paula Moltzan in 11th.
The Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team women were amped to start the season off, with two athletes, Mary and Elisabeth Bocock, making their official World Cup debuts.
Shiffrin, who holds the record for the most World Cup wins in alpine skiing, said before the race that she was coming into this season slowly, and would look at this event like the best training opportunity possible as she builds up into the season. She was fifth in the first run and took sixth overall. “It was a little messy in spots, but I liked my mentality going into the second run more," said Shiffrin. "I just was not able to execute perfectly, but having said that, the top women skied unbelievable today and I think there is a lot to learn from that."
Moltzan had a tough first run, but it set the stage for Moltzan to hammer down second run, with a clean course starting third in the lineup. She skied the second-fastest second run of the day to end the day in 11th place, moving up from 28th place. “I was excited for the day and when I crossed the finish line, I realized I needed to forget about that run and focus on my skiing,” said Moltzan. “There was nothing to lose, so I just let it go. It felt good to ski how I have been in training. The goal is to keep doing runs like that, and do two of those next time.”
Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami won the opening World Cup, second place went to Italian skier Federica Brignone and third place was Petra Vhlova of Slovakia.
A highlight of the race was the Bocock sister duo, Mary and Elisabeth, racing in their first World Cup in Sölden. It was the first time two sisters debuted in a World Cup together in 24 years. While the sisters did not qualify for second runs, they were thrilled to have the opportunity to ski on the big stage amongst their heroes.
"That was so cool!" said Elisabeth Bocock. "I can still hear my tech cheering behind me. It was tough but the feeling was awesome."
"It was nice to have each other at the start and going through this new experience together," added Mary Bocock.
AJ Hurt landed in 34th place after the first run, Mary Bocock in 48th and Stella Johansson in 42nd. They did not qualify for a second run. Elisabeth Bocock did not finish.
The men will take on the track Sunday, Oct. 29 for their opening giant slalom race.
Women's giant slalom
HOW TO WATCH
Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023
- 5:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup, Men's giant slalom, run 1, Sölden, Austria, streaming on Peacock
- 8:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup, Men's giant slalom, run 2, Sölden, Austria, streaming on Peacock