Sonja Nef has maintained an impressive showing by Switzerland's women on the final weekend of the skiing season, winning Saturday's slalom race by almost half a second.
Nef has won five giant slalom races this season, picking up the World Cup and world championship titles along the way, but Saturday's triumph marked only her second ever victory in the slalom. Her last slalom win came more than five years ago during a night-time race in Sestriere.
"This is probably my greatest victory of the season," Nef grinned on Saturday, "because it came in the slalom. This weekend I was looking for my tenth (career) win, but I had expected it to be in the giant slalom."
Nef's triumph ended an incredible run of results for Janica Kostelic, the Croatian teenager who had won all eight World Cup slalom races going into Saturday's race.
Kostelic, who has been hampered by a knee injury, could only manage 11th place in Are, more than a second behind Nef. However the Croatian's chances of winning the overall women's World Cup title were boosted by another poor performance by Austria's Renate Götschl, who crashed out in the first run.
With only Sunday's giant slalom race remaining, Götschl trails Kostelic by 65 points in the overall title race.
While the young Croatian had long since wrapped up the slalom title, Nef's latest victory lifted the Swiss skier into second place in the discipline's final standings.
A further win for Nef in Sunday's giant slalom would complete an impressive final weekend for Switzerland's women in Sweden. On Friday, Corinne Rey-Bellet marked the fourth World Cup victory of her career by winning the super-G race, while Sylviane Berthod finished third in the downhill to record a career best result in the discipline.
swissinfo with agencies