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Hurt Scores First Podium in Kranjska Gora Slalom

By Mackenzie Moran
January, 7 2024
AJ Hurt
AJ Hurt celebrates on the podium in Kranjska Gora. (Getty Images)

It was a huge day of firsts for 23-year-old AJ Hurt in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, where she earned a hard-fought third-place podium - a career first and personal best. 

The odds were stacked against her from the get-go. Course conditions were less than ideal, and the ride to the finish was wild from bib 1. Unfortunately for Hurt, she was slotted to run towards the back of the pack, drawing bib 38. However, she laid down a solid first run, landing herself in 16th going into the second and setting her up for what turned out to be a historic day.

“I thought to myself, 'Well if I came in first, maybe I can get a top 10,'” she recalled. “Then I was sitting in eighth and was like, ‘There’s no way my best slalom is going to beat my best giant slalom' ...and then it did!”

Hurt skied the fastest second run of the day, beating even the likes of Slovakian Petra Vlhova by 0.21. She earned a career-best finish, her first top 20 in slalom, her first top 15 in slalom, her first top 10 in slalom, her first-ever top five, and her first-ever podium. 

Stifel U.S. Ski Team teammate Paula Moltzan, also finished strong in fifth, matching her season best finish in slalom thus far, and hanging on to a top 10 ranking in the overall slalom standings. Mikaela Shiffrin, unfortunately straddled in her first run, and didn’t have a chance to ski a second, but was just as excited for Hurt as anyone. 

“[Mikaela and Paula] are obviously two of the fastest slalom skiers in the world right now, and it's pretty amazing to be able to ski alongside them," said Shiffrin. "I mean, I train with Paula every day and I feel like I’m always chasing her."

Moltzan, made sure to get the rest of Hurt’s teammates on FaceTime during the awards ceremony so best friend Keely Cashman could be there with her celebrating her success.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Moltzan. "I’m a proud mom and big sister and I’m taking it all in.”

Hurt joined the podium with Vlhova in first and Lena Duerr of Germany in second.

The women’s alpine World Cup Tour moves over to a speed series this upcoming weekend in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, while the women’s tech team will take a brief competition break before heading into a night race in Flachau, Austria on Tuesday, January 16. 

Women’s slalom