LEVI, Finland (AP) — Slovenia’s Tina Maze has won the slalom women’s World Cup opener with a total time of 1 minute 55.15, ahead of Frida Hansdotter.
Maze, who also had the fastest run in the first round, inched out the Swede by 0.34 seconds.
Austria’s Kathrin Zettel came third, after a second run in light snow as the Arctic sky darkened.
Defending world champion Mikaela Shiffrin, 14th after the first run, improved slightly in the second run finishing 11th overall. She leads the World Cup standings with 124 points, ahead of Zetel with 110. Maze is third with 109.
Maze was fastest in the first run of the slalom World Cup opener on Saturday with a time of 58.12 seconds, ahead of Frida Hansdotter.
Maze, who started 13th, edged out the Swede by 0.39 under gray skies in near windless conditions.
Hansdotter’s compatriot, Maria Pietilae-Holmner, was third.
Defending world champion Mikaela Shiffrin, fourth down the slope. The American had a time of 59.83.
“I worked hard this summer so I was not surprised how well I skied today but I was a bit surprised it got me in the lead,” Maze said. “But I’m like that sometimes, when I’m feeling good I can ski well and get ahead.”
Known as one of the toughest slalom slopes on the circuit, Levi had a hard, gritty base after days of cold temperatures.
“The base is not icy but it’s quite aggressive, making it hard to let your skis go,” Hansdotter said.
Shiffrin, who was unbeatable at Levi last year, skied a good first section but was slower on the steep part of the slope. She had trailed Maze by 1.71 seconds before the second run.