The Superstar slope continues to be home, sweet home for skiing’s biggest superstar.
After Sunday’s commanding 0.33-second victory, Mikaela Shiffrin has won six of the seven World Cup slaloms held at Killington Resort.
“It’s amazing to do this, especially here, with the home crowd,” said the Edwards skier, who honed her skills nearby at the Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.
“It’s just such a good vibe and there’s a little extra intensity because we want this to be good for you guys to watch. I hope it was a good show.”
The World Cup’s all-time winningest Alpine skier nabbed career-victory No. 90 on the second day of the Killington World Cup weekend — she was third in the giant slalom on Saturday. It was also her 55th-career World Cup slalom win and second victory of the 2023-24 season. Shiffrin was handed the Nov. 12 slalom in Levi, Finland, when Petra Vlhova threw away a one-second lead by straddling a gate and posting a second-run DNF. On Sunday, Vlhova finished second, but Shiffrin — who had the fastest first and second runs — didn’t need any good fortune to claim the top step this time. The American’s two-run time on the 200-meter drop was 1 minute, 42.02 seconds.
“It’s a tough battle,” Shiffrin said of the dual with Vlhova. “I think it will be all season, but it’s amazing to be able to have this performance over these last two days here — especially here, with all these people.”
After the first run, Shiffrin had a 0.19-second lead on Lena Duerr of Germany and 0.28-second advantage on Vlhova.
“I feel like I’m not playing with it as much as I want to, but it’s really good, solid technique, it’s really solid power,” the American said after the first run.
“There’s somehow another percentage that I’m trying to push and trying to get back, but I think that was a really, really good first run.”
An aggressive second run from Vlhova, the defending Olympic champion in the event, put pressure on Shiffrin, the last athlete left in the starting gate.
“I did not feel good (on the first run),” Vlhova stated. “Second run, I needed to push.”
As she waited to go, Shiffrin said she could hear her opponents’ support staffs erupt after Wendy Holdener and Vlhova’s scintillating performances.
“You’re like, ‘I don’t know how fast it was, but I know it was good,'” Shiffrin said. “Then Petra (went), I heard it and it was like, ‘oh, I hope I can hang on for this.’ Every time I heard somebody cheer for their athlete, it was like, ‘OK bring more intensity, more intensity.'”
The 28-year-old lost half of her first-run lead by the first split, but gradually gained it back throughout the course.
“In the end, second place again here, so you know when I crossed the finish line I thought ‘OK, maybe it can be enough,’ but Mikaela was stronger and she shows really good skiing,” said Vlhova, who also finished second in the slalom at Killington in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. The Slovak, who was relatively quiet last season but has looked sharp in three slaloms this year, is looking forward to going head-to-head with Shiffrin throughout the 2023-24 season.
“It’s going to be a tough season,” she said.
On Sunday, the rivals were once again well clear of the rest of the field. Holdener would round out the podium, but finished a full 1.04 seconds back from Vlhova, who was 0.33 off of Shiffrin’s pace.
“I was more nervous the second run than the first, but happy I made it,” the 30-year-old Swiss skier said.
For the second day in a row, Paula Moltzan finished in eighth place as the second American.
“I pulled out some resilient skiing after that mistake but the crowd is what pulled me through. I could hear them from the top,” Moltzan told U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Sierra Ryder. “Although eighth isn’t really what I wanted, it’s a great result to end the weekend.”
Ski and Snowboard Club Vail alumna Allie Resnick finished 49th in the first run, failing to qualify for a second.
Shiffrin leads both the slalom and overall cup standings and is fourth in the giant slalom. She’ll have a chance to move up in the latter category next weekend, as the World Cup continues with a pair of giant slaloms in Tremblant, Canada on Dec. 2-3.
- Mikaela Shiffrin, United States – 350
- Petra Vlhova, Slovakia – 266
- Sara Hector, Sweden – 224
- Lara Gut-Behrami, Switzerland – 200
- Lena Duerr, Germany – 190
- Wendy Holdener, Switzerland – 131
- Katharina Liensberger, Austria – 124
- Federica Brignone, Italy – 120
- Zrinka Ljutic, Croatia, 119
- Alice Robinson, New Zealand – 109
Other Americans: 12th, Paula Moltzan – 104
- Mikaela Shiffrin, United States – 250
- Lena Duerr, Germany – 190
- Petra Vlhova, Slovakia – 180
- Sara Hector, Sweden – 124
- Wendy Holdener, Switzerland – 114
Other Americans: 15th, Paula Moltzan – 48