Local legends Tonazzi, Koznick claim Korbel American Ski Classic giant slalom titles in Vail
Vail Mountain's Golden Peak provided just enough of a home field advantage Thursday evening for Vail Valley locals Marco Tonazzi and Kristina Koznick as the duo claimed victories in the Volvo Legends Giant Slalom, held in conjunction with the 2011 Korbel American Ski Classic.
“We witnessed an incredible display of racing action with the Volvo Legends of Skiing Giant Slalom,” explained Michael Imhof, Vice President of Sales and Operations for the Vail Valley Foundation, “and we couldn't be happier for Marco and Kristina. It is fascinating to see the history that the Volvo Legends Giant Slalom brings to the Korbel American Ski Classic each year and we feel very privileged to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of all of our Volvo Legends racers.”
Tonazzi, a former member of the Italian World Cup technical team bested American Steve Mahre to earn the top step of the podium while Koznick, a former U.S. Ski Team slalom ace, knocked off defending Volvo Legends Giant Slalom champion Isolde Kostner of Italy.
Mahre, one half of the Legends of Honor for the 2011 Ski Classic with twin brother Phil, had the advantage out of the start over the Italian and looked to be on his way to taking the gold when he got high-sided two gates from the finish and exited the course
Ironically, Kostner was one race win away from making history as only the third racer in the Korbel American Ski Classic's 29-year history to claim back-to-back Legends Giant Slalom crowns. However, Koznick led the gold medal race wire-to-wire to deprive the Italian of the distinction.
In the battle for the bronze medals, Sweden's Ylva Nowen outdistanced American Pam Fletcher, while rookie Legend Killian Albrecht of Austria knocked out Norway's Finn Christian Jagge.
En route to the gold, Koznick also dispatched of Norway's Toril Forland in the quarterfinals and Fletcher in the semifinals, while Tonazzi worked his way through Phil Mahre in the quarters and Albrecht in the semis.
During the course of their World Cup careers, Koznick laid claim to six Slalom wins and finished second in the 2002 World Cup Slalom standings, while Tonazzi was the Italian National Slalom champion and a gold medalist in the 1985 World University Games.
The 2011 Korbel American Ski Classic continues Friday and Saturday with the Korbel Ford Cup celebrity team races at Golden Peak, while off course activities include the Hold ‘Em for Hope benefit dinner and auction on Friday evening and the Legends of Skiing Banquet on Saturday. All races are contested at Golden Peak and are free to the public.
The 2011 Korbel American Ski Classic is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For additional information on the Ski Classic or the Foundation, visit www.vvf.org.
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