Lara Gut-Behrami Takes St Anton Super-G Win

In what was an extremely technical set with not much flow or rhythm, Switzerland’s Lara Gut slayed in Sunday’s super-G, earning her first super-G win since January 21, 2018, and her 27th career World Cup victory. Italy’s smooth-as-can-be Marta Bassino landed in second, 16 hundredths back, with Swiss Corinne Suter rounding out the podium in third, a mere two tenths off Gut’s pace. 

For Gut-Behrami the return to winning form was a welcome turn of events after claiming her last victory super-G victory in February 2019 in Cortina, and earning her last World Cup victory last season in the Crans Montana downhill.

“I’ve been skiing cleanly and technically well for a while, but the last step always seemed to elude me,” said Gut-Behrami after the race. “But today I was able to find the missing piece and I’m happy to get the victory here in St. Anton.”

Bassino was left looking for her first super-G victory after falling just shy of the victory. The Italian has claimed three World Cup victories in the giant slalom, but has yet to find the top step in a World Cup speed event.

Meanwhile, Suter got back to her comfort zone on the podium. The Swiss speed star is in second place in the season downhill standings and now in third place in the season super-G standings. Suter has been one of the most consistent performers of the season landing on the podium in four of the five women’s speed races this season.

Isabella “Bella” Wright led the way for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, grabbing a personal best 24th place and her first super-G points—just one day after scoring her career-first FIS Ski World Cup points. Young (20-year-old) up-and-comer AJ Hurt landed in 26th in her debut World Cup super-G start.

Not surprising, given the technical set with tighter-than-usual distances between gates, there were 14 DNFs and four disqualifications in Sunday’s super-G. The surface was, again, buff and beautiful. Utahn and Snowbird Sports Education Foundation’s Wright, who is in her first season officially named to the U.S. Alpine Ski Team and her first full World Cup schedule, loved the technical course set.

“Today in the super-G I felt really calm and happy in the start, and ready. I skied exactly how I wanted on the top part of the course and was very mellow in my head, but attacking at the same time...and just skiing and enjoying more turns. I loved how technical it was...that’s my favorite kind of super-G,” reflected Wright. “When I got towards the bottom I hooked my shoulder on a gate and didn’t think I was going to make it for a quick second, but I am grateful I crossed the finish line and I was happy with a lot of my skiing out there today.”

Teammate AJ Hurt, hailing from Squaw Valley, Calif., started in her first career super-G race and landed in 26th, grabbing her first World Cup points in the discipline—her third time in the points this season, across three disciplines (parallel, giant slalom, and now super-G). She was psyched with her run and knows she has more in her. Hurt’s teammate and best friend, Keely Cashman, who was 10th in her career-first super-G in Val d’Isere, France, crashed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany during training and had to sit out the race series in St. Anton to rest and recover.

Olympian and veteran Laurenne Ross got low, missed a gate, and DNFed, but is OK. Breezy Johnson, who podiumed in her third-straight downhill on Saturday, caught an edge and almost had a bad day, but pulled off a great recovery and finished just outside of the points, in 32nd.

Following her first World Cup points on Saturday, Wright was full of emotions, hugging teammates and crying in the finish area with immense joy. “I’m extremely happy with this weekend. I feel like it was a big step for me, mentally, with my confidence more than anything,” she noted. “I have been training really well, and it’s just been about putting that into race day on these tracks that are all brand-new to me. So, it was a really big step, and the downhill day was really emotional for me...I wasn’t sure when I came through the finish if I had done it, and all I saw was 27th and I just was overwhelmed with joy—I don’t think I’ve ever felt that much joy.”

Teammate and veteran Alice McKennis, who was the defending downhill champion on this track (2013), was missed by her teammates, but especially Wright. “Alice McKennis was in my head and my heart all day, thinking about her...she was the last person to win here and I really wanted her to be there today with us, but I know she was there in spirit. It meant a lot to finally get in the points, and put down a solid run even with some conservative skiing at the bottom, and know that I can be in there and I have a lot more in me...I’m happy I have a lot more in me, and I know that it’s just a process of building that confidence more and more. It was a super emotional day.”

The group cohesion of the women’s speed team has always been notable, and the addition of Wright to the Team has elevated that cohesion even more so. Her positive energy and genuine spirit have been a great addition to the squad. “I think that it was more relief than anything, and I felt so much gratitude for everyone who has gotten me to this point and this Team—I’m so proud to be a part of it. They push me every single day.

The  U.S. Alpine Ski Team continues to show its depth and success across all levels, male and female. There are so many exciting things that have happened this year...including the fact that five different athletes have podiumed a total of 10 times so far this season. In fact, coming into Sunday’s race, every named female Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete who has started multiple World Cups this season has scored World Cup points.

Following Sunday’s race, Wright and Hurt went “soul-shredding” in St. Anton, grabbing some freeski turns on the perfectly prepared groomers, under the sunshine. What’s next for Wright? “Just going to try to continue this momentum and carry it into the next races, and hopefully put down a run top-to-bottom that I know I’m capable of,” she said. “I’m super happy with the weekend, and happy to have shared it with all of my teammates and friends here. It means a lot and I am so grateful for that.”

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