Winning Sunday’s first run at Alta Badia, Italy, by an astonishing 2.40 seconds, Ted Ligety widened his lead in the GS standings and gained ground in the overall with another emphatic victory in the straight-ski era he so vociferously resisted. Meanwhile, teammate Steve Nyman won again at Val Gardena, site of his only other World Cup win, in a shortened downhill plagued by fog that was especially bad for overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal and the rest of the top seeds.
In women’s action, the U.S. team packed four racers into the top 10 in Friday’s downhill at Val d’Isere, France, but Lindsey Vonn wasn’t one of them. Vonn, who crashed twice over the weekend, told the AP on Monday that she will skip the next two weekends of World Cup racing, both featuring tech events. She’ll return home for extended rest and expects to be back on the circuit in January, when the speed event schedule heats up again. Ligety’s repeat win on the gnarly Alta Badia, Italy, track was his 14th GS victory, tying Hermann Maier and Benny Raich for No. 4 on the career wins list.
The talk between runs was of whether the American ace could match the all-time winning margin record of the legendary Ingmar Stenmark (4.08 seconds). Ligety admitted after the race that he was aware of the mark and was going hard early in the second run, but after a couple of bobbles he played it safe to secure the win by a still-staggering margin.
Ligety pushed his leading point total to 360 in the GS standings. Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, who again finished second to Ligety, trails by 40 points. In the Overall chase, Ligety (508 points) is second behind Svindal (614), with Hirscher (460) in third.
In Sunday’s women’s GS action at Courchevel, Julia Mancuso was sixth and sophomore phenom Mikaela Shiffrin was ninth in a race won by Slovenia’s Tina Maze. Women’s downhill leader Vonn crashed out on the first run. In Friday’s downhill, Vonn’s streak of five straight speed event wins came to an end with a hard crash into the nets at Val d’Isere. But four other Americans finished in the top 10 of that race: surging Leanne Smith in second, just .16 seconds behind winner Lara Gut, with Mancuso seventh, Alice McKennis eighth and Stacey Cook 10th.
Saturday’s super G was cancelled due to weather. Vonn dropped to fourth in the women’s overall, with 414 points, now well behind women’s leader Maze (719). Mancuso is fifth with 327. The 18-year-old Shiffrin edged up to 15th in the overall standings.