Former Alpine star Daron Rahlves took an important step toward making the U.S. Olympic team by finishing runner-up Tuesday night in a World Cup ski cross race won by Germany's Simon Stickl.

Ophelie David of France defeated teammate Meryll Boulangeat to capture the women's race.

Ski cross, which features a mass start and head-to-head racing on a course with turns and rolls, will make its Olympic debut in Vancouver. Rahlves strengthened his chance of competing there with his performance in this key qualifying event. He won the 2008 Winter X Games title in ski cross.

Stickl won for the first time in his career. Duncan David of Canada was third. Michael Schmid of Switzerland, who won both season-opening races in San Candido, Italy, in December, finished fourth.

Schmid leads the overall standings with 250 points, followed by Audun Groenvold of Norway with 166.

Among the women, David won for the 21st time in her career. Julia Murray of Canada finished third.

David leads the standings with 240 points. Sweden's Anna Holmlund, who won the first two events of the season, is second, 40 points behind.

The next World Cup ski cross races is Saturday in Les Contamines, France.