VAL D’ISERE, France — Lindsey Vonn powered down a shortened course to win a World Cup super-G race on Saturday and clinch her first victory of the season.
It was the 33-year-old American skier’s 78th World Cup race win, but her first since winning a downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in January.
“I just had some bad luck and things weren’t just lining up the first few races of the season,” Vonn said. “But I knew that my skiing was there, I just had to execute on race day. I’m exceptionally happy with today and back on track. My goal now is to continue to take this self-confidence and this momentum through to February.”
Her last super-G victory was at Cortina d’Ampezzo in January 2016.
The four-time World Cup winner clocked 1 minute, 4.86 seconds, with Italian Sofia Goggia second in 1:05.17 and Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel third in 1:05.25 for her first career podium. Her previous best was fourth in a giant slalom at Semmering, Austria, last December.
“Enjoy your first podium. You’ll never forget it,” Goggia shouted to Mowinckel as they crossed paths at a postrace news conference.
“I’m very happy about it, super excited,” the 25-year-old Mowinckel said. “It feels unreal.”
Heavy snowfall in the past two days meant that the Oreiller-Killy course was shorter than normal.
Vonn started sixth and gained significant time through the middle and bottom sections, although she almost lost balance near the end.
“It took courage to be able to push the line with the flat light and top snow,” Vonn said. “There was some loose snow so I tried to do everything I can to keep the line. I almost crashed at the finish but I didn’t.”
Her joy was evident as she raised both arms in the air. She then hugged U.S. teammate Laurenne Ross. Moments later, Vonn hugged her father, Alan Kildow. For the first time, he came to watch her at the French Alpine resort that has brought his daughter so much success.
Vonn has seven wins among her 10 podiums at Val d’Isere. Her first was a downhill win 12 years ago.
“I think I skied well,” Vonn said. “I’m really happy we had a race today, and my dad’s here. Hi, Dad.”
It was a welcome relief for Vonn, who last Saturday jarred her back early in a super-G at St. Moritz in Switzerland and completed the race in obvious pain in 24th place. She pulled out of the next day’s scheduled super-G, which was canceled.
Vonn said she was not unduly troubled by her back during Saturday’s win.
Saturday’s downhill at Val d’Isere was canceled and replaced by a super-G. There is another super-G scheduled for Sunday.
After seven racers had started, the race was briefly held up because of heavy fog at the top. It resumed after a few minutes.
Lara Gut, winner of 11 super-G races in her career, started from ninth but failed to challenge and drifted down to ninth place. Olympic super-G champion Anna Veith managed only 15th.
French hopes of a home podium were briefly raised when giant slalom specialist Tessa Worley — fourth in super-G at Lake Louise two weeks ago — led Vonn by .06 seconds on her first split time.
But like Gut, Veith and others, she lost considerable time in the middle and bottom sections and placed 27th.