Verena "Vreni" Schneider (born 26 November 1964) is a retired ski racer from Switzerland. She is the most successful alpine ski racer of her country, the third most successful female ski racer ever (after Lindsey Vonn and Annemarie Moser-Pröll) and was voted "Swiss Sportswoman of the Century".
Schneider was born in Elm, the daughter of a shoemaker. Her mother died of cancer when Schneider was a teenager: as a result she put her ski career on hold and dropped out of school to look after the family home.
Schneider made her World Cup debut at the age of 20. Schneider won the overall alpine skiing World Cup three times and eleven discipline World Cups in Slalom and Giant Slalom, along with 55 World Cup races (number three all-time among women to Moser-Pröll and Vonn). She also won five medals at the Winter Olympics including 3 golds (Slalom and Giant Slalom at Calgary in 1988 and Slalom at Lillehammer in 1994), and six medals at the World Championships including 3 more golds (Giant Slalom at Crans-Montana in 1987 and Vail in 1989; Slalom at Saalbach in 1991).
During the 1988–89 season she won 14 World Cup races. Nobody had ever achieved this before (the Swede Ingemar Stenmark once won 13 races), and her record has yet to be beaten since then.
In April 1995, after eleven successful seasons, she announced her retirement. Today she runs a ski and snowboard school in her home village of Elm as well as a sport equipment shop in Glarus.
Vreni Schneider is praised in the Half Man Half Biscuit song 'Uffington Wassail' thus: "Vreni Schneider – you’re my downhill lady! Vreni Schneider – you’re the queen of the slopes!" The song is on the album 'Trouble Over Bridgwater' from the year 2000.
World Cup victories
Vreni Schneider won a total of 55 World Cup races: 20 Giant Slalom, 34 Slalom and one Combined.