Courchevel hosted their first World Cup event in 31 years and there was plenty of drama to mark the occasion. Championship leaders Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch both failed to finish the course that had been bemoaned for it's difficulty.
There had been complaints that the gates were too tight for the gradient of Courchevel 1850's Stade piste, though the spectators who lined the race track weren't complaining. The drama started when 23 of the 69 entrants failed to make it through the first round, including Vonn, though this didn't perturb convincing race winner Austria's Schild Marlies.
After trailing Finnish Slalom specialist Tanja Poutiainen by 0.11 seconds in the first round Marlies stormed into the lead on her second run with an eventual time advantage of 0.78 seconds over the Finn, with Tina Maze finishing in the final podium spot. The result leaves Poutiainen and Marlies tied for first place in the Overall Slalom Championship.
Marlies said afterwards at the press conference, "It was a really good performance and a really good run. I'm so excited about the races after Christmas now." Third place Tina Maze reiterated this, "The Christmas break is welcome - I go home for a few days and rest, then the show must go on."
Though Vonn failed to finish the race she still goes into Christmas at the top of the World Cup leader board with the next race taking part in the Austrian resort of Semmering.
The 2010/11 season has so far been a real cracker, with Chemmy Alcott ranked 8th until her injury, and big name skiers crashing out in Val d'Isere and Courchevel. Let's hope there are no New Year hangovers and the season continues to be as drama filled and entertaining as the last few weeks.
Written by Charlie Hamilton-Beaufort