By Jim Stanford on March 4, 2012
In a remarkable turnaround, U.S. Ski Team racer Resi Stiegler of Jackson Hole placed second today in a World Cup slalom in Ofterschwang, Germany.
The podium finish was the first of her career in the World Cup and comes after a string of injuries caused her to miss most of the 2008-10 seasons.
“This is a huge breakthrough and I worked really hard for this,” Stiegler said. “Results are difficult to get even if you are skiing really fast. I almost don’t have words for how I feel.”
Stiegler finished only five-hundredths of a second behind winner Erin Mielzynski of Canada in the two-run race, held on a slushy course. Marlies Schild of Austria was third, locking up the World Cup slalom title.
Since returning from her injuries, Stiegler had been unable to achieve consistent results and considered retiring from the team. “This year was a crazy year,” she said. “Never in my life did I ever want to just throw it in, and I’ve had that feeling so many times this season. I think in the end I knew I worked so hard coming back from so many things I was just determined.”
U.S. head coach Alex Hoedlmoser said he was “super, super psyched for Resi. This is so amazing for her and it’s hard to put it into words actually. She was out for over two seasons completely. It’s incredibly tough to come back and catch up to the speed of world-class skiers. To get back to racing you have to learn how to race again.”
Stiegler was an Olympian in 2006 but missed the Vancouver games in 2010 after breaking her left leg in a training run in Colorado. In late 2007 she broke her right leg in a horrific crash in Lienz, Austria, hometown of her father, Pepi, an Olympic champion for Austria and founder of the Jackson Hole Ski School.
U.S. racer Lindsey Vonn, who leads the overall World Cup standings, skied off the course in the first run of today’s slalom.
Two more sets of races remain in the women’s World Cup season, in Sweden and Austria in the next two weeks.
(Photo by Stanko Gruden, via U.S. Ski Team)
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