Pretty Putzi Frandl is typical of the steady, hard-driving skiers Austria puts out. In traditional round of important prechampionship races she has captured one first place, one second and two thirds in five starts, now ranks as favorite to take women's combined title at world championships in Bad Gastein, Austria, Feb. 1-9.
Jolly Josl Rieder, No. 3 man on the Austrian team behind Molterer and Sailer, won slalom at prechampionship races in Wengen, Switzerland. Rieder teammates Ernst Hinterseer, Hias Leitner, Karl Schranz, Christian Pravda and Egon Zimmermann have all scored high in biggest European races this year, will give team depth to make it the strongest entry in coming world championship.
Happy Hilde Hofherr won downhill race at Kitzb�hel, took two second places in other prechampionship races, rates No. 2 in world. But women's competitions are wide open. Hofherr will have strong opposition in new Norwegian star Berit Stuve, who won Kitzb�hel combined title; Berit's teammate, Astrid Sandvik, third in Kitzb�hel downhill; plus Swiss, U.S. and Italian girls and Canadian ace Lucille Wheeler, who took fifth in Kitzb�hel downhill, giant slalom.