MOUNT ALLAN, ALBERTA, FEB. 21 -- While Italy's Alberto Tomba remarked that talking was not so good for racing, and Switzerland's Pirmin Zurbriggen stoically contemplated another medal he had not won, Franck Piccard of France became the leading Alpine skier at the Winter Olympics today.

The 23-year-old Piccard won his second medal, and first gold, when he was among the few lead skiers to reach the bottom of the super giant slalom course at the Nakiska ski area.

A total of 37 of 94 competitors, and four of the first nine, did not finish a route that more resembled a hardwood floor than a ski slope.

Anita Wachter of Austria won the gold in the newly added women's Alpine combined event that includes both downhill and slalom, to give her country four Alpine medals. But Brigitte Oertli and Maria Walliser gave Switzerland the overall lead in Alpine medals with six, when they won the silver and bronze, respectively, in the slalom heats that ended the two-day competition.

The men's course was faster than the chatter of Tomba, who fell, and icier than the look on Zurbriggen's face after he finished tied for fifth.

A testament to the unmanageable course was that all of the medalists at first thought they had skied it poorly and were out of contention.

Piccard, with a time of 1:39.66, glowered at the finish line. Then came silver medalist Helmut Mayer of Austria, who just made the Super G team two days ago, and also sulked over his 1:40.96. Lars-Boerje Eriksson of Sweden was the most unexpected arrival with the bronze in 1:41.08.

"I thought, 'You can't keep a good time,' " Piccard said. "I wasn't expecting a gold at all."

The course, transformed from the women's downhill, was harrowingly steep at the top, with tight turns that more resembled a giant slalom. It should have favored technicians like Zurbriggen and Tomba, and was designed by one of Tomba's coaches, Tino Pietrogiovanna.

But a raw wind and inconsistent conditions have regularly produced unexpected winners in the Olympic Alpine events so far, save for Zurbriggen's beauteous victory in the downhill last Monday. On that day Piccard quietly took the bronze, and today's acquisition made him the only skier to have two medals.

This was despite the predictions of multiple medals for Zurbriggen, who today was troubled and cautious on the top, then was held up by the breeze as he glided through the bottom of the course to finish in 1:41.96. He at first complained that the "race was not regular," and that the wind added a full two seconds to his time, but later amended that more graciously.

"The wind took the silver medal," he said. "But Piccard was the best today. Even with no wind I would not have won."

Zurbriggen's opportunities for medals are growing fewer and fewer. The World Cup leader was at first given a chance at an unprecedented five, but has now failed to medal in two; he fell in the slalom portion of men's combined on Thursday.

With only the giant slalom and slalom remaining, Zurbriggen also does not seem likely to equal the record three golds won by Jean Claude Killy in 1968. He has not skied the slaloms well in the World Cup, and must face the imposing Tomba in both of them.

But Tomba, in his opening race of these Olympics, was among the first to fall off the course today as he skied in the 11th position. He careened down the steep part on an uncertain line, and then slid out from under his right ski in the third turn.

He looked more like a trick skier than a slalomist as he did a one-legged 360 off the course. That was a disappointing debut here for the vociferous, sensational Italian who has won seven of the 15 World Cup races he has entered this season, and trails Zurbriggen by just four points.

"I'm not exactly sure what happened," he said. "It was stupid mistakes, I can't say anything. The next time I hope to arrive at the bottom with a result. Only speaking {and not racing} is not useful."

Piccard, who likes Pink Floyd and soccer, has been inevitably compared to Killy in France. But he never demonstrated similarities to the great French skier before now, perhaps because of the lofty expectations.

He had his problems early today, too. "The first part was steep, I was a little bit afraid," said Piccard, whose hometown of Albertville is the site of the 1992 Winter Games. "I was very wide on every gate, and I was very angry with me."

Oertli, currently third in the World Cup, became the first woman to win two medals here, adding to the silver she won in the downhill on Friday. But the Swiss have just one gold, won by Zurbriggen in the downhill, while Austria has two with Wachter's victory. Hubert Stroltz won the men's combined event when Zurbriggen fell.

The Americans were once again far removed from the medals, but Beth Madsen of Aspen, Colo., had a 12th in the combined -- the best U.S. result yet. Kristin Krone of Truckee, Calif., was 17th, and Tiger Shaw of Stowe, Vt., delivered a third Top 20 finish for the day, an 18th in the Super G.