It hasn’t been a December to remember for American Ted Ligety was had been dominating Giant Slalom races until recently. But, he took a solid step forward Sunday, finishing third in the Audi FIS World Cup GS at Alta Badia, Italy. It was his 33rd podium appearance.
Austrian Marcel Hirscher won the race and he and Ligety have split the top spot in four races so far. American Tim Jitloff from Reno, Nev. added a powerful highlight to the day, finishing fifth. No other Americans qualified for the final.
Ligety and Jitloff will compete tomorrow in the annual Alpine Rockfest, a combination of music and ski racing, at Paganella Ski Resort in the Italian Dolomites where the prize purse is winner-take-all 75,000 Euros (about $103,000). The exhibition race format is Giant Spring Slalom. Ligety plans a brief break in Utah before returning to Europe for the Olympic run-up.
“It was just so easy and grippy that I definitely didn’t have the right approach and was just thinking it was going to be slicker than it was,” Ligety said. “I’m happy with third.”
Jitloff said he “just felt I like I was on and I was doing it right.”
Shiffrin, racing in a World Cup GS at Val d’Isere, France Sunday skied a flawless run from 12th position after the first round. She jumped four spots for her sixth top 10 finish in the discipline.
“I’m really excited where I’m taking my giant slalom right now,” Shiffrin said. “In training, I’m skiing faster than in racing, so I have a lot of potential, but the trick is getting the training skiing into the races.”
Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein won the race and boosted her overall World Cup lead. Switzerland’s Lara Gut was second, with Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmer in third.
American Megan McJames finished 26th, while Julia Mancuso skied off the course early in the final run. Next up for the women is a Dec. 28-29 GS and slalom in Liez, Austria.
Photo: American Tim Jitloff (Bolle-Eurpoe)