Annemarie Moser-Proell, Austria's perennial ski queen of the World Cup, turned in another effortless performance on Whiteface Mountain today.
She raced down the 2,700-meter downhill course here in 1:43.07, onetenth of a second faster than Marie-Theres Nadig of Switzerland, to take first place in the only women's event scheduled this World Cup weekend.
It was a performance that demonstrated, in the words of the top U.S. woman (in eithth place), Cindy Nelson, "that she (Moser-Proell) can do it all."
Moser-Proell and Nelson are much alike, the American said, in that they both thrive on blue ice. The faster the racing surface, the better they like it.
But a light, overnight snowfall put a soft, slower cover on what had been a speedy surface.
That snow severely damaged Nelson's chances. But Moser-Proell managed to adjust for her 57th World Cup race victory.
The Austrian skied the turns at the top with smooth grace. She made the transition to the flats at the bottom without loss of speed and finished more than a second ahead of Nelson, who had high hopes for this race.
It marked the sixth victory for the Austrian in seven races this year. Her only failure was last month in Pfronten, West Germany. She fell in that race and Nelson won.
Yesterday, after her disappointing loss, Nelson Spoke frankly of a bitter defeat.
"When you have a chance, as I did today to pick up enough points to make third place in the overall downhill standings and you don't make it, it's a burn," she said.
Nelson provided the small crowd at the finish line with its best reason to cheer when she soared through the early gates and finished the first third of the course faster than anyone, including Moser-Proell.
But her elapsed time (1:44.25) fell to third best at the second intermediate mark and by the finish she was only fifth best. Her placing dropped still further as later competitors improved on her time.
"The mountain just sort of ran out," she said. "There's nothing you can do about it."
"I knew I lost it at the end. I could hear myself talking to myself and saying, 'Oh my God, I'm going so show.'
"The new snow got me. With my number today (13), I thought I'd be lucky..."
The United States got one pleasant surprise when Roxanne Toly, an unknown 16-year-old in her fourth World Cup race ever, came in 12th overall. Toly was the 48th racer down the course, finishing long after the favorites had made their marks and left the snow chopped and channeled.
Toly was a troubled teen-ager after her final practice run Thursday.
"If I could just get my top turns right," she said. "I'm sliding up there. I'm losing so much time at the top."
She fouled up the top again yesterday, running 33rd at the first check station. But she made up time down below.
It was a jump and a half. The best she'd finished in her first three races had been 32nd.