Moltzan Third in Soldeu Slalom
Paula Moltzan ensured the Stifel U.S. Ski Team ended the weekend with a bang in Soldeu, Andorra, taking third in the slalom on Sunday, Feb. 11.
Moltzan started the day off strong, crushing her first run and setting a precedent for the time to beat. She knew it when she came to the finish, exclaiming, "Now that's how I ski slalom."
Backed by a wave of motivation coming off of Saturday's giant slalom, where she finished 11th, and a solid understanding of the slope, having trained in Soldeu the week before, Moltzan was able to put it down confidently on the steep, final pitch, a section where most struggled. She was only surpassed by the day's winner, Sweden's Anna Swenn-Larsson, by a mere 0.14 seconds heading into the second run.
By the end of the race, Moltzan held onto her podium position, finishing third overall behind Swenn-Larsson and Croatia's Zrinka Ljutic. It was her best result this season and second career slalom podium.
"Thus far, it's been a season of really high highs and really low lows, so to finally take a step up on the podium feels really good, and a step in the right direction," said Moltzan.
"I know we're missing a lot of top competitors, but that doesn't discount anybody's skiing," she added. "Everyone gave it their all in challenging conditions, and it shows."
AJ Hurt also qualified for a second run, sitting in 13th after the first 1.57 seconds off Swenn Larsson's time. So, in classic AJ Hurt fashion, she held nothing back as she pushed out of the gate a second time, holding on to the green light one second faster than the girls that had skied before her through the third split. Sadly, her aggression pushed her line too low, and she could not hang on to the finish and straddled.
Lila Lapanja also started the race, but did not finish her first run.
Overall, the women had a solid weekend in Soldeu, Andorra, despite missing Mikaela Shiffrin, who is still tending to a knee injury incurred in Cortina. The women's tour now looks ahead to a speed series in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, where the speed crew will compete in two downhills and one super G.