A Dominant Petra Vlhova Wins First Slalom of the Alpine Ski World Cup Season in Levi
Updated: Nov 13
Petra Vlhova set the best time in both runs in the first Slalom of the new World Cup season. demonstrating, as she already showed in Sölden, that she is in impressive shape. In the first of two slaloms in Levi, Finland, the Olympic champion from Beijing, Petra Vlhova, clearly differentiated herself from the rest, even from main favorites Lena Dürr and Mikaela Shiffrin.
The Slovakian won on Saturday in Levi on a demanding course, 1.41 seconds ahead of German Lena Dürr.
Katharina Liensberger finished in third place 1.55 seconds behind Vlhova thanks a great second run.
Defending World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin finished in fourth place, 1.70 seconds behind.
It's her 20th victory and her 42nd podium in Slalom. She claimed six of her 20 wins in Levi. Petra Vlhová joins the group of five other women with at least 20 slalom World Cup wins: Mikaela Shiffrin (53), Marlies Schild (35), Vreni Schneider (34), Erika Hess (21), and Janica Kostelic (20).
Since 2016, all 11 women's World Cup Slalom races in the Finish Ski Resort were either won by Mikaela Shiffrin (6 in 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019, and twice in 2022) or Vhlová (6 in 2017, two back-to-back wins in 2020 and 2021, and 2023).
The 28-year-old skier won the final Slalom of the 2022-2023 season in Soldeu, Andorra, in March. Today's victory is her first consecutive Slalom World Cup victory since a streak of three from December 2021 to January 2022 (in Lienz, Zagreb and Kranjska Gora).
"I am a little surprised, but of course I am happy because both runs went perfect. I didn’t expect that kind of gap between me and Lena and Katharina but I feel good. I am enjoying skiing and I feel confident too. Before the race I was a little bit under stress because you don’t know where you are compare with the other girls but in the end I won again here in Levi and that’s amazing", Vlhova said.
Lena Dürr second place finished in second place. It's her ninth podium in the World Cup, the fifth one in Slalom. The 32-year-old German skier achieved her maiden victory in the Slalom World Cup last season in Špindlerův Mlýn on January 29, 2023.
“It’s great to start with a second place. It’s really important for me to gain confidence. It’s always a bit strange to start the new season because you never know what all the others are doing", Dürr said.
Katharina Liensberger returned today in Levi to a World Cup Podium. The 26-year-old from Vorarlberg surprised the audience with two consistent runs. The last time she finished in the Top-3 was in March 2022, when she won the Slalom in Åre.
The winner of the 2021 Slalom Crystal Globe and World Champion in Cortina, faced a highly challenging 2022-2023 season, finishing in the Slalom Top-10 just twice.
“It’s wonderful and a huge relief for me. I’m happy that I was able to start the season like this and hope that it continues like this, I want to say thanks to the whole team. The last few months have not been easy, it takes strength and courage to start over. But I know that it works, even if it doesn’t always work out the way you imagine", said Liensberger.