Steamboat Springs The ringing of a telephone jarred Steamboat Springs resident Frances Lalive from a restful sleep at about 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Lalive, who was anticipating the call, lurched from her bed and reached for the receiver. She wasn't really sure what to expect from the voice on the other end.
"Mom, you'll never guess what I just got," a familiar voice chimed. "The silver."
The news was good for both mom and daughter. Caroline Lalive had come out of a tough late starting position to record the best downhill finish of her career Wednesday in the FIS World Cup finals in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria.
Lalive, the top American finisher in the race, placed second behind Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister, who finished the race in a time of 1 minute, 40.09 seconds.
Lalive completed the course in a time of 1:40.28 to edge France's Melanie Suchet who took third at 1:40.29.
The finish was a huge boost for Lalive, who was still stinging from the disappointment of the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
"After the Olympics, I was really disappointed and I asked myself, 'Why do I ski race?'" Lalive said. "But I love it, that's why. I'm blessed to be able to do it, so I might as well go out there and have fun. Through all the hard times I'm learning a lot of myself. It's a credit to my entire support team, my coaches, my technicians, the whole staff I credit them a lot for my success today."
Lalive said she went into these races with an open mind and without expectations.
"I just wanted to ski well. That's something that got away from me at the Olympics focusing too much on results. Today, I focused just on execution and the results came."
In fact, the results came for the entire U.S. Ski Team.
Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley, Calif., was fifth and Kirsten Clark of Maine was eighth.
"I could just hear the excitement and the joy in her voice," Frances said. "She was totally psyched about the finish."
Lalive will compete in the super-G today in Austria. If she places well in that event she may earn enough World Cup points for a shot at the giant slalom and slalom races, which will be held later in the week.
In other skiing action, Bill Demong was the top American in a one-jump, 7.5-kilometer Nordic combined sprint event Sunday in Lahti, Finland.
Samppa Lajunen of Finland won the event. Lajunen, who won three gold medals at the Olympic Games, has won the past two World Cup events.
Demong jumped to 15th and was able to move up in the cross country race.
Lodwick was a disappointing 30th in the jumping, but recorded the fifth fastest cross country time to finish 21st overall. Johnny Spillane was 24th and Matt Dayton was 28th.
The World Cup tour will now move to the Swedish Ski Games for a mass-start event on Saturday.