Elena Curtoni won the first women’s downhill race at St. Moritz on Friday with a winning time of 1:09.40 in atrocious conditions.
It was the Italian’s third World Cup race victory of her career following wins in the downhill and Super-G at Bansko and Cortina d'Ampezzo, but her ability to overcome the rancid weather would be particularly pleasing.
The weather was a key talking point before the action got underway, as the almost blizzard-like conditions saw the start of the course moved from the proposed height of 2745 metres to the Super-G start point of 2590 metres.
Suter wins Super G at Lake Louise with Goggia down in fifth
There were genuine fears that the race could be cancelled or abandoned, but the lack of wind on the course may have been what saved the event.
Curtoni was second on the start list and her time set the tone for the most of the race, which in the end proved to be unsurpassable.
The podium was completed by her compatriot and pre-race favourite Sofia Goggia, while Switzerland's Corinne Suter finished third on home snow.
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Speaking after the race, Curtoni said: “I really have fun on this slope; in Super-G especially, but also in the downhill.
“It’s my second podium here, so I’m very happy about that.
'I'm really satisfied!' - Curtoni delighted with St Moritz victory
“It will be the second downhill here tomorrow and it will be sunny, so we’re going to start from zero again.
“Everybody is going to push it and I’m going to push it too.”
'Yeah I broke it!' - Goggia confirms broken hand after clash with gate on downhill
Goggia was the among the stand-out stories from the day, after incredibly managing to finish second despite appearing to break her hand following a clash with the control gate.
The 30-year-old was forced to wait several minutes at the start gate after a course worker was injured attempting to clear the excess snow on the course.
Course workers had a seemingly thankless task to ensure the track was still fit for purpose as the conditions deteriorated, as the blue lines needed to be reapplied.
Goggia did remarkably well to not only complete the course, but to gain a place on the podium and revealed the large swelling on her left hand immediately after her run. She missed the post-race ceremony to head off to hospital for further tests.
Breezy Johnson was the highest place skiier from the US in fifth, and was pleased with her performance when reflecting on the race.
She said: “It was definitely a challenging day with the snowfall and the flat light, but it was a super fun course.
“It was hard to see all of the bumps today, but I went out there, tried to give it my all and felt I was really going for it.
“I perhaps made too many mistakes here and there, but overall, I'm happy with my attack and definitely didn't hold back in these conditions.”
Meanwhile, it was an impressive day’s work for Johnson's compatriot Tricia Mangan, who achieved a personal best with a 17th-place finish after being 50th on the start list.
'Challenging conditions!' - Shiffrin pleased with skiing in tough circumstances
Much better weather conditions are expected on Saturday when the second women’s downhill race takes place.
St Moritz downhill Top 3 - The best runs from Friday's action
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Goggia wins downhill again in Lake Louise
Goggia wins downhill World Cup event at Lake Louise, fractions ahead of Suter
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