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Moltzan Earns Personal Best Sixth Place Giant Slalom Result in Saalbach

By Megan Harrod
March, 17 2024
Paula Moltzan skis to sixth place in the World Cup Finals giant slalom. (Getty Images)

Paula Moltzan closed out the season on a high note with a personal best giant slalom result on Sunday, March 17, snagging sixth place at World Cup Finals in Saalbach, Austria. 

Heavy rain fell on the small Austrian ski town for much of the night, but the clouds cleared and the sun came out on Sunday morning for the final tech race of the 2023-24 World Cup season. The race organizers did their best to prepare the track for a fair race, though there was a definite advantage for the lower start numbers. 

Moltzan struggled on the first run to find her groove, landing in 13th, but she knew there was nothing to lose heading into the second run and was advised by her coaching staff via their course report to “FULL SEND!” She skied a clean and fast second run, coming across the finish line in the lead. Moltzan ended up with a personal best sixth place giant slalom finish to end the season with an exclamation mark—and was the second-fastest on the run. 

“Today was tough,” Moltzan reflected. “Soft GS isn’t really my cup of tea, but I’m really happy with how I performed my second run. First run was just a bit high, too early, and safe line. Second run I kind of knew it was balls to the walls and I was either going out or finding the finish and I’m happy I found the finish so I can forget about all of the bad skiing I had this year.”

Italy’s Federica Brignone won the race in a commanding fashion, finishing 1.36 seconds ahead of the field. New Zealand’s Alice Robinson followed in second, while Norway’s Thea Louise Stjernesund was third, 1.67 seconds out. Though Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami struggled on the first run, she was able to finish a solid 10th place to earn herself the giant slalom Crystal Globe. 

AJ Hurt, who had a breakthrough season with two podiums—one each in giant slalom and slalom—also started on Sunday, landing in 20th. Hurt ended the World Cup giant slalom season ranked 15th in the world. Moltzan ended up ranked 11th. 

“AJ and I are super competitive,” said Moltzan, “So when it comes to training, all we do is push, and it’s in a really healthy and respectful way. We send as hard as we can every day, and we’re starting to be able to see that on race day.” 

She added with a giggle, “Most of the time AJ is better than me, so I’m going to try to be more like her when I grow up.”

Teammate Mikaela Shiffrin sat out the giant slalom, opting instead to focus on slalom at World Cup Finals. Shiffrin ended up ranked fifth in the world in the discipline, despite missing the final three giant slalom races due to an injury sustained in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. 

World Cup Finals will continue with a speed weekend featuring downhill and super-G on Friday, March 22. 

Women’s giant slalom

Women’s giant slalom


March 22
5:00 a.m. - women’s super-G - Peacock
6:30 a.m. - men’s super-G - Peacock 

March 23
6:15 a.m. - women’s downhill - Peacock

March 24
6:15 a.m. - men’s downhill - Peacock