SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) — Frida Hansdotter of Sweden held a slim lead after the opening run of the slalom Saturday, the final women's event of the skiing world championships.

Hansdotter went down the Streicher course in 50.41 seconds. The top four finished within one-fifth of a second of each other.

Tanja Poutiainen of Finland was 0.17 back, World Cup discipline leader Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States trailed by 0.18, and Olympic slalom champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who won the super-combined world title last week, has 0.20 to make up in the final run.

"I tried to do a good run," said Hansdotter, who is yet to win a World Cup slalom, coming second in four races this season. "It was fun coming down with a lead but it's close in behind, so I need to go for it."

Tina Maze of Slovenia, chasing her fourth medal of the worlds, was 0.47 back. Defending champion Marlies Schild of Austria, who has returned from a two-month injury break, finished 1.43 behind.

After a night of light snowfall and mild temperatures, the course was softer and less icy than in previous races.

Hansdotter was the fastest starter and carried her speed into the steeper middle section. Poutiainen came closest to the leader.

"It was a good, relaxed run," Poutiainen said. "I did what I can do, nothing special. This is good enough."

Shiffrin wasn't clean at the top and trailed Hansdotter by more than half a second halfway down the American teen's run before reducing the deficit at the flat finish.

"It's a good spot," said Shriffrin, who finished a career-best sixth in Thursday's GS. "(In the second run) I'm going to try to ski a little closer to the gates at the top. I was a little bit off balance. I missed a couple of the gates and hit them with my face."

Shiffrin said the crowd of 30,000 "helped give me some momentum for the bottom."

The fans cheered loudly for Schild on her return less than two months after picking up what initially appeared to be a season-ending injuring knee in December. The World Cup champion hadn't raced since the slalom 83 days ago in Aspen, Colorado.

Schild was 0.22 behind at the first intermediate time before losing further ground to the favorites.

"I didn't feel very secure at the start, that affected my run," Schild said. "But it's nothing to be disappointed about. The main thing is being here. The knee is causing me no problems at all."