Team Canada's Valérie Grenier celebrates a win in Kranja Cora(AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
(AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

Valérie Grenier skis to World Cup gold in Slovenia for first win of the season

Valérie Grenier skied to the top of the podium in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday, earning the third podium of her FIS World Cup career and capturing her second title on the slope. 

The native of St. Isidore, Ontario, captured her first World Cup win on January 7, 2023 in the women’s giant slalom in Kranjska Gora. One year less a day later she did it again. The 27-year-old finished the two runs with a combined time of 1:50.51, crossing the podium threshold that had eluded her through the fall portion of the 2023-24 season. 

Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland finished second, 0.37 seconds behind Grenier, while Italian skier Federica Brignone grabbed the podium’s final step, 0.51 seconds behind the Canadian. 

“I’m so extremely happy and proud, I don’t really have words,” Grenier said after the race. “I’ve been close to the podium so many times this season it feels great to stand on it today. Coming off last season’s win here, I felt a little more pressure this morning. I had a big mistake in the first run, and I was very determined in the second run to really go for it, so it’s very rewarding to get the win.”

“You’re always hoping for a podium, and it’s just the best feeling ever when you win. It’s very similar to last season, standing on the podium with “Oh Canada” playing and seeing my teammates celebrating with me.”

Grenier posted the fourth fastest time on the opening run, led by Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova. However, a blistering second run of 53.61 seconds saw Grenier take the lead. She then watched Vlhova, Brignone and Gut-Behrami make some slight mistakes, keeping the Canadian in top spot.

Heading into the race, Grenier had finished in the top five twice during the 2023-24 season, posting a fourth-place finish in the giant slalom in Lienz, Austria on December 28 after finishing fifth in the event in Killington, Vermont in late November. She finished sixth and eighth in giant slalom races on her home course in Mont Tremblant. 

With the victory, Grenier now sits fourth in the discipline rankings, while Brignone maintains her lead atop the standings. Gut-Behrami and American Mikaela Shiffrin rank second and third, respectively. 

Fellow Canadian Britt Richardson posted her second-best career result on the World Cup circuit, finishing 19th, marking the second time the Canmore, Alberta native has placed in the top 20 this season.

The Canadian women’s tech skiers now look towards Sunday’s slalom, which will likely feature Ali Nullmeyer and Amelia Smart. The next giant slalom race takes place in Jasna, Slovakia, on January 20.