Vail hosted the second Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup of the season with two giant slalom races for the women, and some of the women competing in Wednesday’s race are getting ready to join the World Cup circuit later this month.

Taking to the podium for the GS races were names like Federica Brignone, from Italy, who placed second in last season’s GS at the FIS World Ski Championships, and Denise Karbon, from France, who consistently finishes on the first page (top 15) of World Cup ski races, and who took the overall World Cup giant slalom title in 2008.

“The field was amazing,” said SSCV’s Grace Merriman.  “It was such a great opportunity for the younger racers here to score some awesome points thanks to the girls here from other countries.  Watching these women ski was like watching World Cup racing on TV.”

For the SSCV women, Merriman placed fourth for the J2s in both races, while Greta Byrne placed 17th overall in the second race on Wednesday.

“The Italians are here now doing time trials getting ready for the World Cup, and they’re skiing really well,” said coach Dan Stripp.  “It’s a unique opportunity for our women to race next to these great skiers and to get a sense of where they really are.”

Other SSCV women taking advantage of the field in Wednesday’s race were Kelly Balfanz, Montana Marzario, Genevieve Soden, and Katie Talbot.