Hölzl wins big as Olympics near

Germany's Kathrin Hölzl won the giant slalom race in Lienz, Austria on Monday after American World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn suffered a nasty fall.

Hölzl wins big as Olympics near
Photo: DPA

Hölzl, reigning world champion in the discipline, clocked 2min 16.61sec for the two legs to finish five-hundredths ahead of Italy’s Manuela Moelgg, with Taina Barioz of France in third at 0.11sec.

“Everything’s gone well since the start of the season: no injuries, great preparation and a lot of confidence since I won the world title,” said Hölzl.

The German, however, played down her hopes for next month’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver. “We have often 10 racers from the team lined up and we support each other,” she told reporters. “The Winter Olympics are still far off and I’ll take each race as it comes.”

The day’s racing was marred however by Vonn’s accident during the morning’s first leg, which saw the great American hope for Vancouver having to leave the piste with her left arm in a sling.

Vonn overcompensated after coming late out of a turn halfway down the course. She clipped the next gate and did the splits before her skis buckled underneath her and bounced her onto her hip and back.

The paramedics were called as the shaken 25-year-old remained sat on the slope for several minutes before getting unaided to her feet and skiing the rest of the way down the mountain, arm in sling.

The American told Austrian TV channel ORF that she felt a “sharp pain in her left hand and wrist”.

“I’ll go to hospital to have an x-ray. I hope it’s not too serious.”

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Austria avalanche kills three

An avalanche in the Salzburg region killed three people and injured two while they were skiing off-piste, Austria's Red Cross said Saturday.

Snow and avalanche protection fences seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria
Some mountains in Austria have snow and avalanche protection fences, like these seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria. ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP

The accident happened Saturday about 2,400 metres (7,800 feet) up in the Lungau district, soon after 1:45 pm local time, Red Cross spokesman Anton Schilcher told the APA agency.

The snow buried eight of the group up to 4.5 metres deep, local emergency response official Christoph Wiedl told local media.

Two of the victims were already dead when their bodies were recovered, while the third died after being airlifted to hospital in Klagenfurt.

The two injured skiers were taken to hospital in the town of Tamsweg.

The skiers caught in the avalanche were from a group from the regions of Salzburg and Upper Austria.

In recent years, an average of around 20 people a year have been killed annually by avalanches in Austria.

The last two seasons were less deadly as the coronavirus pandemic reduced the number of skiers overall.

Avalanches killed four people in western Austria’s Tyrol region last February.