One semi-surprise and one no surprise equals a very nice weekend for members of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team in the Alps.
Alice McKennis from Glenwood Springs, Colo. came out of the number four start position to pickup a career first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup win in a challenging downhill in St. Anton, Austria.
Meanwhile, in Adelboden, Switzerland, Ted Ligety did his almost-expected thing by winning the Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom, extending his lead in the GS standings.
First, back to St. Anton. McKennis lead three Americans into the top six including Laurenne Ross, who pegged her highest finish in fifth. Lindsey Vonn returned to action, finishing sixth. McKennis’ father, a Colorado rancher, was in the stands to see his daughter’s win.
“It's totally shocking for me. I had hoped to be top ten. I skied as hard as I could and it turned out alright.” McKennis said. “I had one of the best runs I've ever had. I've never been here before but I knew what I had to do. It's a really tough course. I had to be really aggressive the whole way and never back off. If you do, it will take control of you. It’s a little overwhelming but I’m extremely happy.”
Over in Adelboden, Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah finally got the win that had eluded him, taking a victory on the Koenigsberg GS. Ligety claimed the win after first run leader Marcel Hirscher went out near the bottom of the second run while in the lead.
“Today I was really lucky - Marcel Hirscher won this race today,” Ligety said. “But I'll take it as I've given him some of those gifts in the past. This has been a tough course for me in my career so I'm happy to get the win. The second run was so dark and this hill is so tiring. I was lucky to have a little bit of reserve strength.”
Photo: Alice McKennis wins St. Anton World Cup downhill (U.S. Ski Team)