American Paula Moltzan grabbed her first Alpine skiing World Cup podium, placing second at a parallel event in Austria on Thursday.
Moltzan, a 26-year-old who has raced World Cup on and off since 2012, beat veteran World Cup race winners Marta Bassino of Italy and Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland before falling to Slovakian Petra Vlhova in the final of the bracket-style, head-to-head event.
Vlhova won by skiing .21 of a second faster in their opening duel. In the second, Moltzan made up the deficit but crashed a few gates from the finish line.
“I was really hoping for, like, a top-30 today,” Moltzan sheepishly said before the finals.
Vlhova, who won back-to-back slaloms last weekend, extended her World Cup overall standings lead.
Moltzan, bidding for her first Olympics in 2022, continued her sterling autumn after a summer training in a shed in the woods and working as a group rafting guide.
She opened the season with a career-best 10th-place finish in a giant slalom last month.
On Thursday, Moltzan became the first U.S. woman other than Mikaela Shiffrin to make the podium of a World Cup technical race since Lindsey Vonn on Dec. 12, 2015.
Shiffrin sat out Thursday’s event to gain training ahead of December races and following a back injury that hampered preseason training.
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