Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin ties World Cup record with 35th win in slalom
COURCHEVEL, France — Mikaela Shiffrin wrote more World Cup history Saturday, winning a slalom for a women’s record-equaling 35th career victory in the discipline and 50th win overall.
Shiffrin extended her first-run lead of 0.04 seconds to finish 0.29 clear of Petra Vlhova, who has been runner-up to the American star in all three traditional slaloms this season.
Shiffrin tied her childhood idol Marlies Schild of Austria with 35 slalom wins on the World Cup circuit. Schild’s final slalom victory, in December 2013, was achieved at the age of 32. Shiffrin turns 24 in March.
Shiffrin is also the youngest of the eight skiers, four men and four women, to win 50 World Cup races across all disciplines. Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s 86 wins is the record.
“It’s so distracting that they give out those numbers for me,” Shiffrin said in a post-race interview. “I was trying as hard as I could not to focus on that today.”
Olympic slalom champion Frida Hansdotter was third Saturday, trailing Shiffrin by 0.37.
‘A bit lucky today’
Shiffrin has won every slalom race since her surprise fourth-placed finish at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.
She said she was “maybe a bit lucky today” after overcoming a rare error early in her first run. Shiffrin lost speed through a combination of gates, but made up time lower down the Courchevel course to edge ahead of Vlhova.
“I don’t know how I snuck away with the lead in the first run. Petra skied better than I did,” Shiffrin said.
Shiffrin’s seventh win this season, from just 11 races started, earned 100 World Cup points. It extended her lead in the overall standings to a massive 501 points over second-placed Vlhova.
In the World Cup prize money table, Shiffrin’s $352,000 is more than three times any other woman racer.
Shiffrin and Schild are joined in the record book for at least one week before the next slalom at Semmering, Austria.
Though now-retired Schild was a pure slalom specialist — gaining only two World Cup race wins in other disciplines — Shiffrin has already won in every discipline.
Shiffrin is also the two-time defending overall champion while Schild never won a giant crystal globe for the season-long title.
Their careers overlapped for a couple of seasons, and Shiffrin beat Schild into the silver-medal position when she won Olympic slalom gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Shiffrin’s reward over a brief holiday break is to spend time with her French boyfriend, Mathieu Faivre, who competes in giant slalom.
“I’m going to see Mat tomorrow (Sunday), hopefully,” she said. “We might be able to ski together a little bit.”