Switzerland’s Sandro Viletta won his first career men’s alpine World Cup race, capturing the super-G at Beaver Creek on Saturday.
The 25-year-old surprise winner defied falling snow to cross the finish line on the 1,818m course in 1 minute, 18.71 seconds with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal second in 1 minute, 18.91 seconds and Swiss Beat Feuz finishing third in 1 minute, 18.97 seconds.
Viletta started 30th, 19 spots behind early pacesetter Svindal, but was able to dislodge the Olympic champion in the discipline from the top spot on the podium in cold, overcast and snowy conditions.
“It has been a long time since I have skied like that,” Viletta said. “Last year all my teammates made the podium, but not me because I was battling with back problems. It’s even more special this time because I climbed onto the podium with a friend [Feuz].”
Viletta’s best prior finish in a super-G had been seventh.
Svindal won last week’s season-opening super-G in Lake Louise, Canada, but could not pull off the double, although he maintained the lead in super-G points and moved from third to the top of the World Cup points list.
Svindal passed countryman Didier Cuche for the overall and super-G lead after Cuche settled for ninth on Saturday.
“I had a nice little run, but I didn’t have the good touch in this snow,” Cuche said. “Sandro made an incredible run down the mountain.”
Svindal leads the overall chase 265-238 with Feuz another seven points adrift. In the super-G points, Svindal leads Cuche 180-109 with Viletta third on 108.
Viletta continued a tradition for the Birds of Prey course to offer up strong showings to skiers who have not taken a World Cup triumph before.
He follows Norway’s Bjarne Solbakken in 2003 and Austrians Stephan Goergl in 2004 and Hannes Reichelt in 2005 as winners and first-time World Cup podium finishers. Last year, Austrian Georg Streitberger won his second career victory at the US super-G race.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
AP, LAKE LOUISE, CANADA
Lindsey Vonn of the US won a downhill for the second day in a row at Lake Louise on Saturday.
The US superstar also won Friday’s downhill. On Saturday, she finished in 1 minute, 51.35 seconds to beat Marie Marchand-Arvier of France and Elisabeth Goergl of Austria.
Vonn is considered the woman to beat in the super-G.
“In another world,” reigning overall World Cup champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch said of Vonn. “There’s definitely nobody that can keep up with her at the moment in the downhills.”
“She’s in her own league right now,” added world downhill champion Elisabeth Goergl of Austria, who finished third.
The last woman to sweep three races at Lake Louise was Katja Seizinger of Germany in 1997.
“A sweep is very difficult to do,” Vonn said. “I have to see what the course is like, but the snow conditions are fantastic. I just have to try to go out and do the same thing I did yesterday and today, which is ski aggressively, execute the line and try not to make any mistakes.”
Vonn increased her career victory total at Lake Louise to 10. The Olympic champion has more World Cup victories at this Alberta mountain resort than anywhere else.
“To come in here at Lake Louise and have back-to-back wins was great for my self-confidence,” Vonn said. “I hope I can keep the momentum going tomorrow and throughout the rest of the season.”
The US’ Laurenne Ross crashed hard and was taken to hospital with facial lacerations.