Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz won the first of three International Ski Federation Women’s World Cup events in Zao this week after high winds and snowfall forced the postponement of yesterday’s qualifying.
In better, but still difficult, conditions the 35-year-old posted two jumps of 93.5 metres and 92.5m to score 205.2 points.
She finished ahead of home favourite Sara Takanashi and Germany’s current World Cup leader Katharina Althaus in a close competition.
Takanashi managed two jumps of 92m and 94m to finish less than two points behind on 203.5, while Althaus set marks of 89m and 94.5m to score 203.2, meaning only two points separated first and third.
“I’m very happy about the result today,” said Iraschko-Stolz, who won Olympic silver at Sochi 2014.
“My first jump was pretty awesome, I jumped much further than in yesterday’s training round.
“The conditions were not easy, usually there’s a lot of headwind in Zao but today there was a lot of side wind right after take-off.”
Despite just missing out on gold, Takanashi said she was “satisfied” with silver on home snow.
“In Zao it has been getting better and better with each jump,” she said.
“The conditions were not easy today, but I just tried to focus on my jumps.”
Norway’s Olympic champion Maren Lundby finished fourth but managed the best individual jump of the competition when she flew out to 99.5m with her second attempt.
The result means Althaus maintains her World Cup lead on 590 points, while Lundby sits second on 488 and today’s winner Iraschko-Stolz is third on 414.
A team competition will go ahead tomorrow in Zao, before the event ends with another individual competition on Sunday (January 20).
On the men's circuit qualifying action went ahead today in Zakopane in Poland ahead of a team competition tomorrow.
Setting the best mark was Norway’s Johann Andrre Forgang who managed a jump of 138.5m.
He came in ahead of his compatriot Robert Johansson, who leapt out to 135.5m, while Slovenia’s Timi Zajc finished qualifying in third with a jump of 134.5m.
This year’s dominant force Ryoyu Kobayashi, who had won six events in a row before finally losing last time out, only managed a jump of 120m today, which saw him place 31st.