Lena Dürr takes lead after 1st run of opening WCup slalom

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LEVI, Finland (AP) — Lena Dürr dominated the first run of the season-opening women’s World Cup race on Saturday.

The German skier started first in the slalom event in Finnish Lapland to clock 54.48 seconds and build a .45 second lead over Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden. The 31-year-old Dürr made four slalom podiums last season to finish third in the discipline.

The overall World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States was third to have .55 seconds to make up in the second round.

Last season’s World Cup slalom champion Petra Vlhová of Slovakia was another two hundredths of a second back in fourth.

Vlhová and Shiffrin have dominated the field in this Finnish resort in recent years.

No skier other than Vlhová or Shiffrin has won the traditional season-opening slalom since then-overall champion Tina Maze triumphed in 2014.

Vlhová has won five times here; Shiffrin four times.

Slovenia’s Ana Bucik and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener were tied for fifth, .61 second behind the leader.

American skiers Paula Moltzan and AJ Hurt were among 13 skiers who didn’t finish the opening round.

Unusually warm weather had prompted all four previously scheduled women’s World Cup races to be canceled.

Only a giant slalom that was slated to open the season in Sölden, Austria, on Oct. 22, was rescheduled for Semmering, Austria, in late December.

The organizers in Levi, which is located 110 miles north of the Arctic Circle, stored almost 60,000 cubic meters (almost 78,500 cubic yards) of snow on the resort’s Black slope in the spring to make sure the races take place.

Another slalom in Levi is scheduled for Sunday.

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