Johnson Career-Best Top-10 at Val di Fassa Super-G Rife with Crashes
Under the sunshine on a perfectly-prepared track at Val di Fassa, Italy, Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Breezy Johnson had a career-best FIS Ski World Cup super-G result, landing in 10th.
After struggling throughout the season, Italy’s Federica Brignone—the 2020 World Cup Overall winner—skied like she had nothing to lose, winning her first World Cup of the season by a whopping .59 second margin. Switzerland’s Lara Gut, who had won all four super-G World Cup races as well as the World Championships super-G coming into Sunday, finished second. Swiss teammate Corinne Suter was third, .72 seconds off Brignone’s pace.
Johnson, whose previous best super-G result was 16th in Lake Louise, Canada in 2016, was thrilled with the top-10 result and her progression in the discipline. “I have been working really hard in super-G...it’s the event I want to improve at a lot, it’s the event I respect the most, but I also think it’s the hardest event,” Johnson said. “I’m starting to feel it click since Garmisch, basically, and it’s been getting better and better—that kind of race feeling in the racecourses, which is hard because when you train it’s not quite the same as the racecourses.”
Johnson, in part, credits the Land Rover U.S. Ski Team’s time spent training on the slope at San Pellegrino for her success. “Actually being able to train in San Pellegrino during the years - even last year, too - was so nice because it’s a much better training hill, and it lets you prepare a little more. I’m feeling better, and obviously running 2, I was pretty nervous because honestly in super-G bib 1 and 2 are kind of the forerunners A and B real-time. I wasn’t sure how everything was going to run, but I wanted to commit to my plan and arc things clean, even if I was a little bit rounder in some places. I think I did that pretty well, and I was happy.”
Sunday’s race was unfortunately rife with several long course holds due to horrific crashes, particularly by Norway’s Kajsa Vickhoff Lie and Austria’s Rosina Schneeberger, who were both airlifted by helicopter from the mountain. U.S. Ski and Snowboard extend our thoughts and best wishes to both. “I hope everyone who crashed today is OK, and things aren’t as bad as they seem,” Johnson commented. “I hope I can race super-G one more time at the Finals because it would be fun to get one more in.”
With her second-place result, Gut locked in the super-G Crystal Globe with 445 points. Gut also extended her lead on Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova in the race to the overall title, with 1,147 points to Vlhova’s 1040 points. Heading into next weekend’s tech series in Jasna, Slovakia, Gut is the favorite in giant slalom, having won the giant slalom world title in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and placing fourth and second, respectively, in the last two World Cup giant slaloms. Vlhova’s giant slalom results have been off the mark by her standards, with 10th- and 12th-place finishes in the previous two World Cup races, and 12th at World Championships. Of course, Vlhova has four opportunities left on the calendar in slalom, but Gut has ample opportunities in giant slalom, super-G, and downhill to hold her own. It will be a race right to the finish, and it will certainly keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Bella Wright and Tricia Mangan also started for the Americans, but both DNFed. They are thankfully OK.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Feb. 28
2:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Super-G - same-day broadcast, Val di Fassa, ITA, Broadcast NBCSN