Lara Gut-Behrami wins 2nd straight World Cup GS; Shiffrin 3rd

KILLINGTON, Vt. -- Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami made it two giant slalom victories from two starts this season, winning a women's World Cup race Saturday in which Mikaela Shiffrin finished third.

The American improved from fifth position after the opening run and extended her lead in the World Cup overall standings.

"I am extremely happy, especially after last year here, I started to feel like it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that I couldn't ski my best here in Killington on the GS slope," said Shiffrin, who placed 13th a year ago but now has three podium results from six starts in her home GS.

"It's been an adventure today to kind of find my best feeling I can have with, you know, some compromised training the last weeks. And I felt some really amazing skiing, some glimpses from last season, so I'm really excited and thankful for my team for the work they've done the last weeks to get there."

Shiffrin won the GS season title last season while setting the record for most career wins in the discipline with 21. She finished sixth in the season opener four weeks ago.

On Saturday, Gut-Behrami was third after the tight opening run before posting the third-fastest time in the final leg to beat Alice Robinson by 0.62 seconds. The New Zealand skier, who was the 2019 junior world champion, led after the opening run and earned her first podium result since March 2021.

Shiffrin called Gut-Behrami's final run "spectacular."

"It wasn't perfect, but she has this mentality to keep the speed no matter what," Shiffrin said. "That's the level we all want to get to."

Gut-Behrami also won the season-opening GS in Austria last month. She became the first female skier from Switzerland to win back-to-back giant slaloms since Sonja Nef achieved the feat in 2001.

"For me, it's amazing," said Gut-Behrami, who won the world title in GS in 2021 and Olympic bronze the following year. "Two years ago, I won the world champs, like 20 years after Sonja. Now back-to-back (GS wins), like her, it's amazing for me."

The former overall champion, who won the title in 2016 before Shiffrin won it the next three years, gathered 31 of her 39 career wins in downhill and super-G, but has gained confidence in giant slalom in recent seasons.

"I'm skiing well in GS, I feel confident," she said. "I'm always trying to improve, to find new motivation."

Olympic champion Sara Hector dropped from second to fourth, more than a second behind Gut-Behrami's time.

Marta Bassino, who was just ahead of Shiffrin in fourth after the opening run, failed to finish after losing grip on her inside ski in a left turn and sliding off the course.

Shiffrin has yet to win the giant slalom of the annual race weekend on the East Coast, which has been part of the World Cup circuit since 2016. However, she has won five of the six slaloms.

The slalom is scheduled for Sunday.

Shiffrin was coming off her record-extending career win No. 89 at a slalom in Finland two weeks ago while dealing with a bruised knee after a training crash.

Shiffrin said she was finally able to train without pain again in the week building up to Saturday's race.

"It's really well. It's been over three weeks since the crash, so maybe it sometimes bothers me a little bit, maybe throughout the season, but it's not holding me back. I can push, so that's good," the 2018 Olympic GS champion added.

Shiffrin's result topped off a strong showing by the U.S. ski team.

Paula Moltzan finished eighth and AJ Hurt, who started 37th, ranked 12th after the opening run before dropping to 19th, leaving both racers one position short of their personal best in GS.

Saturday's GS was the first of 10 World Cup races in the U.S. this season - two for women in Killington, eight for men in Beaver Creek, Palisades Tahoe and Aspen - with a record prize fund for U.S. Ski and Snowboard Federation.

Prize money increased 30% from last season and is equal for both men and women, with $64,300 going to the winner, $30,000 to the runner-up, and $16,600 to the third-place racer.