Michael Schmid of Switzerland and Marion Josserand of France won the season-opening World Cup ski cross races on Monday.
The 24-year-old Schmid beat Andreas Matt of Austria in the final for his first World Cup title.
Tommy Eliasen of Sweden took third after defeating Casey Puckett of the US.
The 22-year-old Josserand defeated Austria’s Kathrin Gutensohn — a 42-year-old former Alpine skier — in the final for her first World Cup podium finish.
Kelsey Serwah of Canada took third after beating Ophelie David of France.
World champion Karin Huttary of Austria lost in the opening round.
The next World Cup ski cross races are held in Les Contamines, France, on Saturday.
■WHO WILL BE QUEEN?
The winner of yesterday’s World Cup night slalom on the Sljeme hill in Croatia was to receive the Snow Queen Trophy — even though it’s a men’s race.
The event has been part of the women’s World Cup calendar for many years and organizers added a men’s race for the first time last season, but didn’t change the name. Mario Matt of Austria won that first edition and is ready to repeat his success.
“I’ve been very fast in training,” Matt said on Monday after inspecting the course. “I hope to perform like I did in January last year.”
Last time, the 29-year-old Austrian slalom world champion also won in Adelboden, Switzerland, and in his native Schladming.
Yesterday’s slalom was only the third of the current season after Levi, Finland, and Alta Badia, Italy. A race in Val d’Isere, France, was canceled because of heavy winds.
The Zagreb race opened a month crammed with slaloms as Adelboden, Wengen, Kitzbuehel, Schladming and Garmisch-Partenkirchen are still coming up before the Alpine world championships in Val d’Isere next month.
“I am not thinking of the Worlds yet,” Matt said. “There are a lot of great races coming up and I want to concentrate on them first.”
Jean-Baptiste Grange won in Levi and finished second to Ivica Kostelic in Alta Badia to lead the standings after two races with 180 points. The Frenchman is 35 points ahead of Kostelic.
Overall World Cup champion Bode Miller is third with 80 points from his second-place showing in Levi, which means he has already gathered 12 slalom points more than in the entire previous season.
The 31-year-old Miller, starting with bib No. 17, will look to speed up things compared with last year, when he failed to qualify for the second run after nearly crashing out on the steep bottom part of the course.