KILLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — World champion Lara Gut-Behrami improved with her second run Saturday to win her first World Cup giant slalom in more than six years, with Mikaela Shiffrin finishing 13th.
Gut-Behrami was third in the opening run on the course in Killington, Vermont, but just did enough to edge out Marta Bassino of Italy by 0.07 seconds. Defending Olympic champion Sara Hector, who had led after the opening run, was third — 0.20 behind Gut-Behrami.
The 31-year-old Gut-Behrami won gold in the discipline at the world championships in Cortina last year but the Swiss had not won a World Cup GS race since October 2016.
“I’m really happy,” Gut-Behrami said after her 35th World Cup victory but only her fifth in giant slalom. “The last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again. I won the title but I was improving my GS every race.”
It was the first GS of the season as rain and snowfall wiped out what should have been the season opener in Sölden, Austria, last month. The start had to be lowered in Killington because of strong winds.
“I think here my best place was like 19th place and I usually always struggle with the wind, I don’t have a great feeling on the snow,” Gut-Behrami said.
“But today I was just free and I’m happy that already at the beginning of the season I’m able to ski that way. It’s great, it’s a good way to start the season.”
Shiffrin — who won the two season-opening slalom races last weekend — was 1.4 seconds back on home snow, and the passionate crowd will be expecting more on Sunday.
While Shiffrin hails from Vail, Colorado, she can almost consider Killington a hometown race as she honed her skills nearby at the Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.
Shiffrin had finishes of second, third, fourth and fifth in giant slaloms in Killington but has won all five World Cup slaloms held there.
She will be favorite to make it six out of six in the slalom on Sunday. It would be Shiffrin’s 50th World Cup win in that discipline. No other skier has won more titles in a single competition than the 27-year-old Shiffrin.
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