Leanne Smith - skiing with a fractured left arm - tied for 14th in a bumpy Val d'Isere downhill (Getty Images/AFP - Alain Grosclaude)
VAL D'ISERE, FRANCE (Dec. 21) - Leanne Smith (N. Conway, NH) survived a bumpy Val d'Isere downhill to lead the U.S. Ski Team with a tie for 14th on a track that bounced eight racers, including four Americans, off course. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), in her first race in two weeks, was among the non finishers. Vonn was rattled in the midsection of the course, pulled out and skied to the finish. Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) was in the podium hunt when the washboard snow sent her sailing into the nets. Cook skied away without injury. Swiss Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden won for the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup victory of her career.
Leanne Smith (N. Conway, NH) powered through a bumpy Val d'Isere downhill to lead the U.S. Ski Team with a tie for 14th. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) was 21st.
Smith raced with a minor fracture to her left arm, which she suffered in a training crash ealier this week.
Fresh snow covered the Oreiller-Killy speed track, canceling Friday's training run and creating a very rattling race surface in sections for Saturday's race.
The challenging course bounced eight racers off course, including Americans Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA), Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) and Julia Ford (Holderness, NH).
It was Vonn's first race since competeing two weeks ago in Lake Louise, AB.
The Olympic downhill champion was rattled in the midsection of the course, pulled up and skied to the finish after pausing on the side of the slope.
Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) had a podium run going before the bumps rocketed her into the nets at the fastest point of the course. Cook skied away without injury.
Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) skied conservatively in her first World Cup start since injuring her knee last March and was 43rd.
Swiss Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden won for the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup victory of her career. Reigning overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia was second ahead of Austrian Cornelia Huetter.
The race will air at 11 a.m. ET on Universal Sports Network.
A giant slalom, featuring Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) is on tap for Sunday in Val d'Isere.
QUOTES Lindsey Vonn I didn't hurt myself more than I'm already hurt. It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski. I had no chance of making that gate, unfortunately. I'm going to stick to a similar plan that I was on before. I just need to be more careful of how many races I do. So I'm going to play it safe and race really minimal races. Probably one or two before the Olympics.
Alex Hoedlmoser, women's alpine Head Coach They were going and they were charging. They wanted to make a statement. Today those girls were in the hunt again, Stacey, Laurenne and Leanne all the way until the bottom part. So the skiing was there and the splits were there sometimes. Stacey, Leanne and Laurenne after a minute were actually faster or as fast as the winner. At least we have speed. Now we just have to bring it all down the hill to the finish.
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