ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Switzerland, that Alpine paradise of chocolate and money, is back in business in ski racing, too, after a sweet triumph for Nadia Styger in the super-G on Friday.

Styger’s victory, two days shy of her 27th birthday, was Switzerland’s first World Cup win in two years. She edged a trio of Austrians and surging U.S. veteran Kirsten Clark, whose fifth-place finish was her best in two years.

“After last year, it was not so easy for the whole team,” Styger said. “I’m very happy for the whole team that I can give Switzerland a victory.

The normally powerful Swiss didn’t have a top-three finish last year, but Styger’s teammate Sylviane Berthod proclaimed “Switzerland is back” after taking second in the downhill last week at Lake Louise.

Styger won in 1 minute, 13.77 seconds on a sunny morning, with the skiers darting in and out of the shadows on Aspen Mountain. Michaela Dorfmeister, a 21-time World Cup winner, was a tenth of a second back in second place. Twenty-year-old Austrian Andrea Fischbacher was third. Alexandra Meissnitzer, winner of the season’s first super-G last Sunday, was fourth.

Genevieve Simard of Canada was sixth, and American Lindsey Kildow seventh.

Styger’s World Cup victory was her second. She won the super-G in Sestriere, Italy, in 2004.

“For two years I had very good years,” Styger said. “I went with very high expectations in the last year. I had some little accidents in my back and my legs, and it was not so good for me. But I learned very much.”

Clark, at 28 the oldest on the U.S. women’s team, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and had a cyst removed from behind her knee on Sept. 1. A staph infection developed, setting her back in her training.

“I didn’t think I’d be where I am for sure,” Clark said. “I mean, I’m so excited. To be getting consecutive top 10s in the super-G is awesome.”

Clark has to hobble around because of her knee woes, but once she leaves the starting gate, the health problems disappear, she said.

“That’s unbelievable,” U.S. women’s coach Patrick Riml said of Clark’s performance. “It’s good to see her being up there, and Lindsey had a decent race. She made some mistakes and was not super-clean and over-skied a little bit, but she was still in there, and that”s quite positive.”

The steep course on Ruthie’s Run, overlooking the city, challenged the skiers with difficult gate placements that they had to negotiate at high speeds.

“I think it’s one of the most difficult courses in the World Cup,” Dorfmeister said. “The speed is very high in the middle and the lower part, and the timing is very important.”

Clark called it one of those things where you’ve got to risk just enough in order to be fast, but you can’t do too much or you’re going to end up scrubbing and being slow, so it’s a fine line.”

American Caroline Lalive clipped a ski on one of the trickier turns, crashing head over skis, then sliding down the hill. She injured her left knee and was questionable for today’s giant slalom.

“I tried to cut the line a little too much,” Lalive said, “and literally put my body inside the gate.”

Dorfmeister, retiring after this season, earned her fourth consecutive podium finish.

“At this moment, when I go in the start I know when I have a normal race and a normal run I am on the podium,” she said.

The 2-3-4 Austrian finish followed a 1-2-3 super-G sweep at Lake Louise five days earlier. In the Canadian race, Miessnitzer won, followed by Fischbacher and Dorfmeister.

Kildow, cheered on by a large contingent of friends and family, was satisfied but not thrilled with her performance.

“It’s fine,” she said. “I’m still good in the standings. I was a little bit tentative on the bottom. I think it was getting a little bit slick. I just didn’t let my skis run as much as I could have. But I think it was better for me in general from my skiing at Lake Louise.”


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