Women’s World Cup heading to Aspen; Maze wins in Finland | AspenTimes.com

Women’s World Cup heading to Aspen; Maze wins in Finland

Matti Huuhtanen
The Associated Press

LEVI, Finland — Tina Maze of Slovenia won the women's World Cup slalom opener Saturday while defending Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin of Eagle-Vail finished 11th and said she had "lessons to learn."

Maze, who was fastest in the first run, beat Swede Frida Hansdotter by 0.34 after a second run in light snow as the Arctic sky darkened.

Austria's Kathrin Zettel had the day's fastest second run to finish third, ahead of Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner.

Shiffrin, 14th after the first run, improved slightly in the second to finish 11th overall.

The American had times of 59.83 and 57.39 for a 1:57.22 total, more than two seconds behind Maze.

The women's World Cup will head to Aspen for giant slalom and slalom races as part of Aspen Winternational 2014, scheduled for Nov. 29-30.

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The FIS World Cup events, with the giant slalom tentatively set for Saturday, Nov. 29, are scheduled for Aspen Mountain. The slalom in Aspen is planned for Sunday, Nov. 30. The races will be held on Strawpile on the Lift 1A side of Aspen Mountain.

Shiffrin leads the World Cup overall standings with 124 points, ahead of Zetel with 110.

Maze is third with 109.

The 19-year-old Shiffrin was keen to analyze her performance.

"It's easy to win when you're winning. I still need to learn how to come back in the second run if I have a slower first run," Shiffrin said. "I still need to learn how to race like a champion. I wasn't able to do that today."

Maze was fastest in the first run with 58.12 seconds, 0.39 faster than Frida Hansdotter.

Known as one of the toughest slalom slopes on the circuit, Levi had a hard, gritty base after days of cold temperatures.

"The base is not icy but it's quite aggressive, making it hard to let your skis go," Hansdotter said.

Shiffrin, who won Olympic gold in the slalom at Sochi, was unbeatable at Levi last year.

She skied a good first section in her first run but was slower on the steep part of the slope, trailing Maze by 1.71 before the second run.

The men's slalom takes place today at Levi, which is the world's northernmost World Cup venue, about 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle.