SESTRIERE, Italy, Mar. 10 2004 - Austrian Renate Goetschl clinched the women's downhill title Wednesday by winning the final DH as World Cup Finals opened. Bryna McCarty (Concord, VT) was the top U.S. skier, finishing 13th. Earlier, Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) won the men's final DH and finished the season in second place in downhill standings.
Goetschl, who said before the race her main focus was winning the downhill crown rather than the overall title, won with a time of 1:45.01 and picked up 100 points in her battle with Anja Paerson, Sweden's World Cup leader who did not race DH; it was her third downhill victory of the season, the 33rd win in Goetschl's stellar career. With three races left, Paerson leads with 1,381 points and Goetschl has 1,308. Second place in the downhill went to Swiss racer Sylviane Berthod (1:45.36).
McCarty finished in 1:46.63. Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), who led the final training run Monday, was leading through the first speed check but she ran into problems on a jump and crashed, heading into the mid-section of the 2.96K Kandahar course. Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 22nd and Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) 24th; at Finals, World Cup points go only to the top 15 skiers.
"It was all right. I had a lot of fun on this course," said McCarty, a Burke Mountain Academy graduate who posted her first top-5 this season in a downhill in Haus, Austria. "It was pretty smooth snow...'hero snow.'
A strong glider and the 2003 Nor Am DH champion (and newly crowned 2004 super G champion), she added, "I just kinda came into it for more experience, but also to have fun. I wanted to get more points, and it turned out to be a pretty good course for me." She tied Kildow for fifth place Sunday in the first training run but dropped back into the 20s Monday (while Kildow led the last training run). "Today, I kept it all together," McCarty said.
The women run super G Thursday. Lalive and Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) will be entered for the U.S. Ski Team.