Paerson wins Aspen slalom as US blanks


ASPEN (USST report) – Janica Kostelic grabbed her fourth straight World Cuppodium in North America Saturday, but it was Anja Paerson of Sweden – survivinga mid-race bobble – who won the slalom concluding the Chevy Truck AspenWinternational on Aspen Mountain as she edged the Croatian superstar by .41.None of the four U.S. skiers made it into the second run.

NBC will broadcast coverage of the race Dec. 22; check local listings.

Kostelic, who had been third in giant slalom and won the slalom at the ChevyTruck America’s Opening giant slalom in Park City a week earlier and then secondFriday in Aspen’s super G, took the first-run lead. However, Paerson, despitenearly springing off course midway through her second run, tore down Ruthie Runand won in 1:38.65. In the finish area, Paerson who won four slaloms a yearago and was the 2001 – tossed her skis to one side and did a belly-whopperacross the snow.

Kostelic, the 2001 overall and slalom World Cup champion, who won anunprecedented four Olympic medals (including gold in slalom) last February, wasrunnerup in 1:39.06 with Austrian Marlies Schild collecting her first podium inthird place.

“This is the worst in skiing if you don’t make a second run. It’s embarrassing,really,” said women’s Head Coach Marjan Cernigoj, pointing to possible problemsfrom pre-race course inspection. “I think the girls thought they could not makeit on this snow, on the upper part. They were afraid of the icy course, whichreally was not bad at all – which the other girls proved, that it was not aproblem.

“They should’ve done better than this. There’s no excuse,” the coach said.

The U.S. head next to Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, for two downhills anda super G Dec. 6-8 at the Winterstart World Cup.

Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational
Aspen, CO Nov. 30vWomen’s Slalom
1. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:38.65
2. Janica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:39.06
3. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:39.18
4. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 1:39.42
5. Christel Pascal, France, 1:40.04

Did not qualify for 2nd run: Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO; Julia Mancuso, OlympicValley, CA; Caroline Lalive, Steamboat Springs, CO
DNF: Kristina Koznick, Burnsville, MN