Stuhec stays in skiing hunt, keeps Shiffrin waiting

1 / 2
Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia competes in the Ladies' Downhill for the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Final at Aspen Mountain on March 15, 2017 in Aspen, Colorado

Reigning world downhill champion Ilka Stuhec stayed in the hunt for the overall season ski title Wednesday by winning the World Cup Final downhill to clinch the discipline's points crown.

US star Mikaela Shiffrin, who has already sealed her fourth series slalom crown in five years, could have clinched the overall season World Cup trophy had Stuhec faltered.

But the 26-year-old Slovenian, the opening racer on the course, won in 1:36.95, trimming Shiffrin's edge in the overall standings to 1,523-1,245 with three races and 300 possible points remaining.

"It's different from the world championships -- to win the downhill World Cup, it's the whole season," Stuhec said. "I'm very happy to keep this level the whole winter."

Another of Stuhec's specialities, the Super-G, is on tap for Thursday, with the Slovenian leading those standings also. Shiffrin's top disciplines, the slalom and giant slalom, are at the weekend.

"We will see how it goes for racing slalom and giant," Stuhec said. "It has been a long season. I'll be ready for tomorrow's race and we will see. I never thought really about the overall."

Shiffrin, who turned 22 on Monday and lives in nearby Vail, would be the youngest World Cup overall champion since Croatia's Janica Kostelic in 2003.

Stuhec led Italy's Sofia Goggia by 97 points entering the downhill finale. With American Lindsey Vonn second in the race in 1:37.61 and Goggia third in 1:37.98, Stuhec's final points margin was 597-460.

"If someone had told me I would have won seven (overall) races, I would have said you are totally crazy," Stuhec said. "My goal for the season was to be top-10, top-seven."

- Fill remains downhill king -

Earlier, Italy's Peter Fill overtook Norway's Kjetil Jansrud to win a second consecutive men's season downhill title by finishing second to countryman Dominik Paris.

Paris captured the final race of the campaign in 1:33.07 to edge Fill by .08 of a second with Swiss Carlo Janka third on 1:33.25 and Jansrud a distant 11th.

"That's was a very special day for me," Fill said. "I did a great race."

Jansrud led Fill by 33 points in the downhill title chase entering the final race, but with 80 points for his runner-up effort, Fill finished on 454 with the Norwegian ending on 431.

Fill last year became the first Italian to win the discipline, edging Aksel Lund Svindal by 26 points.

Paris, the first racer down the course, set the top mark with Fill runner-up after starting third.

Jansrud, the World Cup Super-G winner who was fifth on the start list, could have clinched the crown by finishing ahead of Fill, was instead last to that point on 1:33.61, leaving both unsure of their fate as other skiers tested the piste.

"It was a long wait to know if I had won the globe," Fill said.

While rivals pushed Jansrud's place down the points list, none overtook the Italians from atop the podium, sealing Fill's back-to-back World Cup downhill titles.

"Winning the globe for the second year is great," Fill said. "It didn't all go as I hoped but it's a nice, happy end."

Jansrud, the reigning Olympic Super-G champion who took a 2014 downhill bronze medal at Sochi, was the 2015 World Cup downhill and Super-G champion.