BORMIO, Italy — Aksel Lund Svindal is skiing as if he’s on cruise control.
Hard or soft, sunny or dark, the Norwegian just keeps on winning.
For Bode Miller and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team, however, this World Cup season has been a different story in downhill.
While Miller’s form has improved in recent weeks, he took a step backward Sunday when he finished 35th in a race won with a perfect run from Svindal.
“This wasn’t good for my confidence,” Miller said. “But my skiing was fine.”
Miller was an early starter and attributed his troubles to snowfall during the first half of his run.
“I couldn’t see anything,” the two-time overall winner said. “Not seeing makes the bumps much worse. But I’ve been skiing well. I skied well in the training runs, so we just got to stay focused.”
Svindal mastered the fresh snow conditions on the Stelvio course for his fourth victory of the Olympic season, with just 40 days to go to the Sochi Games.
The Norwegian clocked 1 minute, 54.08 seconds to finish 0.39 seconds ahead of Hannes Reichelt of Austria.
Erik Guay of Canada placed third, 0.51 back, for a strong follow-up to his downhill victory in Val Gardena a week ago.
Svindal trailed Guay at every checkpoint but then gained 0.65 seconds over the last few gates, where Guay made a slight but costly error, lifting up his left ski to regain his balance after cutting off a turn too sharply.
The Stelvio is known for its knee-jarring bumps, making fatigue a big factor.
“You win Bormio in the last part, because everyone is tired. It’s a mix of you’re tired and it’s a bit scary,” Svindal said. “The last 30 seconds is where you win or lose the race. I had a good plan and was pretty determined to make it happen on the last part.”