Zrinka Ljutic of Croatia started and finished bib 1 in the women’s junior world slalom. Winning by 0.84 seconds, the 18-year-old grasped her first junior world championship medal with gold.
Ljutic kicked out to perfect conditions on Tuesday at Panorama Resort and led the first run ahead of Germany’s Emma Aicher. Starting 30th in her second run, conditions had broken down and Ljutic was fighting to remain fast. Luckily her coach set the second run course, giving Ljutic the advantage and confidence to push through for the win.
“It was definitely an advantage I’m sure,” shared Ljutic in response to her coach setting the course. “Maybe there was some pressure along the way but it was mostly an advantage. I couldn’t believe it when I got into the finish. I kept pushing as hard as I could and I got here and it was green, I was so happy.”
After 0.03 seconds in striking distance of Ljutic, Aicher lost time in her second run but was able to hold on for silver.
“Yeah I’m really happy with my skiing and my performance today,” said Aicher. “I started better in the second run but the rest wasn’t that great. Zrinka was really fast today.”
Rounding out the podium was Sweden’s Moa Bostroem Mussener. She was sitting in seventh after the first run and had the fourth fastest second run time, moving her onto the podium for the bronze.
“I really pushed it, then I came down and saw the green light,” said Bostroem Mussener. “I really tried, and I think I did pretty good. It feels amazing.”
After her alpine combined win on Saturday, Marie Lamure of France slid into the fourth position, just 0.18 seconds off the podium.
The top U.S. skier was Ava Sunshine Jemison in ninth, 2.11 seconds out. Sarah Bennett was Canada’s top finisher in 12th.
The 41st FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships wrap up Wednesday with the men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom events.
Born and raised in Bonney Lake, Washington, Karina grew up ski racing for Crystal Mountain and PNSA. She competed for 14 years across the world until settling in Salt Lake City, where she attended the University of Utah and achieved degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. She currently resides in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.