Roswitha Steiner of Austria won her third World Cup slalom event of the season Sunday at St. Gervais, France, finishing more than half a second ahead of France's Perrine Pelen and Mateja Svet of Yugoslavia.
World Cup leader Erika Hess and Brigitte Oertli, both of Switzerland, finished 1-2 in the first run through the course, but suffered mishaps in the second run and were eliminated.
Steiner was fourth after the first run with a time of 45.66 seconds. She lowered that to 45.38 in the second run for a combined winning time of 1:31.04--56/100ths of a second ahead of Pelen, who was fifth after the first heat.
Pelen's total time was 1:31.60, followed by Svet in 1:31.64, Monika Hess of Switzerland in 1:31.77, and Malgorzata Tlalka-Mogore, a Polish skier racing for France, in 1:31.79.
The 22-year-old Steiner, who won slaloms at Sestrieres, Italy, on Dec. 8 and Maribor, Yugoslavia, on Jan. 5, said she knew she was going to do well.
"On this very steep course, I did the gates well and I skied very calmly," she said. "I was not nervous today. I knew that I would do something good. I am a little upset for Erika Hess, but that's the race."
Hess and Oertli both fell in the second run, Hess at the mid-point of the course and Oertli two gates from the finish. Oertli broke into tears.
Oertli said: "I never won a single victory in World Cup apart from a combined. Today, I really wanted to ski to win. I didn't have any choice. I had to attack on the second run in order to win the first slalom of my career."
Pelen's second place was a shot in the arm for French skiing and marked the first time this season a skier from France has made it to the podium.
"I thought that I could win, but I did not take enough risks," Pelen said. "Hess and Oertli undoubtedly took too many, and fell."
The race was run under good conditions, with partly cloudy skies and soft snow on a hard base, much better that Saturday's super giant slalom at Megeve, conducted under bleak skies and continuous snowfall.
Monika Hess placed fourth to win a combined event. She scored her first career World Cup victory in taking the combined event by finishing fourth at 1:31.77 in the slalom and 18th in Saturday's super giant slalom.
Switzerland's Corinne Schmidhauser was second in the combined event, Austria's Anita Wachter was third and American Eva Twardokens was fourth.
Four straight days of heavy snow forced cancellation of the men's World Cup Arlberg-Kandahar downhill at St. Anton, Austria--the first time in nine years that the event has been scrapped.
"We will try and hold two downhills next weekend in Wengen, Switzerland," said a resigned Serge Lang, founder of the World Cup who has been struggling to keep the races on schedule in this difficult winter.
The wipeout was announced four hours before the planned starting time. The race had been delayed to provide time for clearing excess snow from the run, which drops 969 meters.
High winds at the top of the 3.5-kilometer course and snow which has fallen in accumulations of between one and two meters made even feeble attempts at slope grooming futile.
The wipeout is only the latest in a string that has plagued the World Cup men's and women's calendars this winter.