Aspen ski racer Julia Mueller-Ristine finishes 12th at Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck

By Real Aspen
Real AspenJanuary 20, 2012
INNSBRUCK, Austria — Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club racer Julia Mueller-Ristine capped her 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games with 12th in slalom, less than 24 hours after meeting Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn.
Julia Mueller-Ristine poses with Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn on the eve of her final Youth Olympic Games race.
Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team

Vonn was in Innsbruck for a few hours to meet with all Youth Olympic athletes, but spent some time talking privately with Mueller-Ristine.

"Oh my gosh, she’s an amazing speaker and athlete," Mueller-Ristine said. "At one point, she was where I am now, and I‘m trying to work my way up in my sport to get where she is today. I think everyone on the U.S. Ski Team is amazing, but Lindsey definitely stands out."

Friday's finish was Mueller-Ristine's best performance of the Games. She moved up six spots in the second run after finishing the opening run in 18th. Mueller-Ristine was 17th in super combined and 24th in giant slalom at Innsbruck. Slovakian Petra Vlhova won Friday's slalom.

"I could ski a lot better. I feel like I should be able to ski with these girls," Mueller-Ristine said. "Just being here, it really makes me think about my training, and how badly I want it. The top girls, they’re racing Europa Cup, they’re on the national team for their country. So it’s definitely something I need to work on for myself. It’s really fun to watch them and know that I need to work to get to that level."

Alpine competition closes Sunday at the Youth Olympics with men's slalom, which will feature Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Alex Leever.

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