Valérie Grenier took advantage of the very last Giant Slalom World Cup of 2023 to sign her best result since the start of the campaign with a fourth place (0.63 seconds) in Lienz, Austria.

After a first run that fell short of her expectations where she placed eighth, the 27-year-old opened up the machine on the second run of the day, finishing with a cumulative time of 2 min 6.61 sec, which who was good for provisional first place at that time.

“My first run wasn’t very good. The snow was weird at the start of the day and I think I lacked a bit of confidence. It really felt better on the second descent, I felt like myself. I was happy to be first after my descent and to have been able to move up a few places afterwards,” Grenier said in an interview with Sportcom.

The Italian Federica Brignone and the Swede Sara Hector then obtained times faster than that of Grenier. A place on the third step of the podium was still possible with only one skier left: Mikaela Shiffrin.

Shiffrin played cautiously during the second round, having built up a comfortable lead at the start of the day. The strategy paid off for the American who won a first gold medal this season in giant slalom.

She was accompanied on the podium by Brignone (0.38 seconds) and Hector (0.45 seconds).

“It’s really good to finish fourth, but it’s hard to accept because it’s so close to the podium. I’m very consistent this year and that’s encouraging. I was third and only Shiffrin remained to pass, I suspected it would be almost impossible to finish on the podium. I am still proud to have moved up to fourth place after a more difficult first descent,” added Grenier.

Also in action in Lienz, Sarah Bennett was unable to complete the first round.

The year 2023 will have been a very special one for Valérie Grenier who began it with the very first victory of her career in the World Cup at the Kranjska Gora event, in Slovenia. She also added a World Championship bronze medal to her collection in the parallel team event.

The Franco-Ontarian hopes that the success she has experienced over the past 365 days is just the tip of the iceberg and that she can continue this momentum in 2024.

“It’s been a pretty amazing year! Of course, the highlight was the gold medal in Kranjska Gora. It’s a dream that came true. You never really know what to expect, but I wanted to do well in 2023 and it clearly lived up to my expectations,” she mentioned.

“I think there will always be room for improvement and I will be able to improve again and again. I always want more: to be stronger, more consistent and to ski better and better. I have big goals for 2024.”

It is once again at Kranjska Gora that the action will resume for Grenier in 2024, on January 6 and 7. She will want to take advantage of this track that she knows very well to get on the podium for the first time this season.

“I always enjoy skiing in Kranjska Gora and what’s more, I often have good results there. I head to Slovenia with a lot of confidence, especially with my fourth place today. I know what I have to do, my expectations are high, even if I don’t want to put too much pressure on my shoulders,” she concluded.