The FIS Ski World Cup kicked off in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday with promise for U.S. men's skiiing. American Ted Ligety took first in the season-opening giant slalom for his third consecutive year, while American Bode Miller, who returns after spending last season on the mend for an injured knee, came in 19th despite starting outside the top 30.
Ligety, who last season won six of eight races, won this year's giant slalom at 1:59:50, 0.79 seconds over French Alexis Pinturault. Overall champion Austrian Marcel Hirscher took third, coming in 1.02 seconds behind.
“I’m super-psyched to win this today,” Ligety said. “It wasn’t easy conditions on the second run, it was dark and bumpy, but any day you win it’s a good day, so I can’t complain.”
Miller, coming in 19th, told the Los Angeles Times that his knee "feels better than it has since 2001," and that he is pleased with his expectation-defying performance.
Lara Gut of Switzerland won the women's World Cup giant slalom, with American Lindsey Vonn sitting out to recover from an injured knee. Vonn plans to start her season next month after knee surgery.