Petra Vlhova in action on Golden Fox slalom Run. Photo: OC Golden Fox
Weather conditions were somewhat more forgiving for the competitors and numerous spectators who livened up their Sunday by watching the World Cup slalom race for the 60th Golden Fox in Kranjska Gora. The first run was marked by challenging conditions on the course, which received a generous amount of newly fallen snow overnight and throughout the morning.
Bad weather didn't stop spectators from visiting WC race in Kranjska Gora. Photo: OC Golden Fox
In the role of the first favorite, Slovakian Petra Vlhova justified her position in the first run with the starting number one. Even though she ventured into the unknown as the first competitor, nothing threw her off course, and her time of 51.30s was enough to keep her in the lead despite the fierce attacks from competitors before the second run. Spectacular runs added excitement under the Podkoren slope, including the performance of Croatian skier Leona Popović, who did a somersault over the finish line in the first run. Despite the fall, the 26-year-old competitor from Rijeka held the second position before the second run, sharing it with German skier Lena Duerr.
Spectacular finish of the 1st Run for Croatian Leona Popović. Photo: OC Golden Fox
Among the Slovenian representatives, Ana Bucik and Andreja Slokar secured their spots in the second run. Bucik skied decisively and earned the ninth starting position, while Slokar finished the first run in 17th place. Neja Dvornik narrowly missed the opportunity to present herself to the home crowd once again, finishing in 32nd place, while Nika Tomšič retired in the first run.
Ana Bucik was best slovenian skier after 1st Run. Photo: OC Golden Fox
The first run was marked by numerous retirements; there were thirteen, and three competitors were disqualified. Mikaela Shiffrin, the multiple-time overall winner of the Golden Fox, was one of them. She will want to forget her performance in the 60th edition of the biggest Slovenian women's skiing celebration as soon as possible. The popular American, even in slalom, did not have her day, retiring and bidding farewell to Kranjska Gora without a single point.
Another day to forget for American Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo: OC Golden Fox
Vlhova, rode a rodeo course to slalom and overall victory
The top thirty competitors were determined to achieve a good result in the second run and earn World Cup points. The American AJ Hurt excelled on the white Podkoren slope, where deep ski tracks began to form due to the relentless weather. She delivered an outstanding second performance, catapulting herself from 16th place to the lead, where she remained until the last two competitors from the first run took to the course. The Croatian Popović did not capitalize on her time advantage, but Duerr ultimately succeeded. However, she didn't stay in the lead for long, as Petra Vlhova became the slalom winner with an uncompromising run. Although the Slovakian recorded only the seventh time in the second run, the advantage from the first run was enough for her to claim the 1st place. After a season's break, Vlhova once again ascended to the throne in front of numerous Slovakian fans, becoming the overall winner for the third time in her career at the 60th edition of the Golden Fox.
Petra Vlhova is now three time overall winner of Golden Fox Trophy. Photo: OC Golden Fox
Andreja Slokar defended Slovenian honor by earning World Cup points. The skier from Ajdovščina finished in 14th place after a determined second run. Slokar described her performances on Sunday in the finish area: "I'm not really satisfied with the result; how can I be satisfied when I'm so far behind. The runs weren't the best either. In the second run, I really fought, even though I made a lot of stupid mistakes. Just the fact that I fought is one of the reasons for a little optimism. Since I returned to the snow, I haven't fought like this. I lack boldness, and I'm really happy that it was better today. I've been driving on the edge of risk to injury, and since I came back, I've really missed that. I never tried anything more; I was always very cautious. I have nothing to lose; sooner or later, there will be a turnaround."
New World Cup points for Andreja Slokar in Kranjska Gora. Photo: OC Golden Fox.
Ana Bucik encountered misfortune on the course again, hitting a pole on the last stretch after a solid run, bowing her head for the second time in front of the home crowd in the finish area: "I am disappointed and sad. Today, after a long time, I felt like I could attack. After the first run, I was in a position where I could do something. The second course was quite challenging, and I wouldn't have taken the lead otherwise, but the opportunity to achieve a good result, to get confirmation that I am on the right track, was here. The situation after this year's Golden Fox is really not good; it's even harder than two retirements to overcome poor skiing. I hope that it's over with this weekend."
Bitter farwell from slovenian fans for Ana Bucik. Photo: OC Golden Fox
3217 spectators watched the Sunday slalom event in Podkoren.