Mikaela Shiffrin takes 2nd World Cup GS win in 2 days
SEMMERING, Austria — After waiting 26 months for her second career World Cup giant slalom win, Mikaela Shiffrin needed just one more day to add the third.
On Wednesday, the American earned her second GS win in two days. Her only previous victory in the discipline was in October 2014 — at the season-opening race in another Austrian resort, Soelden.
The victory raised her total of World Cup wins to 25, with 22 coming in her favorite slalom discipline. Among active skiers, only American teammate Lindsey Vonn, who is currently recovering from a broken arm, has won more races — 76.
In dense snowfall, Shiffrin built on a narrow first-run lead to beat 2013 world champion Tessa Worley of France by 0.15 seconds, while 2010 Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was 0.18 back in third for her first podium finish of the season.
“It was a really big fight,” Shiffrin said. “It was tough because you could feel your skis like stopping and going, stopping and going. And I thought, ‘This is slow, it has to be.’”
Shiffrin and Worley also finished 1-2 in Tuesday’s GS on the same course. Worley won the previous two GS races in Killington, Vermont, and Sestriere, Italy, and now leads Shiffrin by 35 points in the discipline standings.
Shiffrin extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings to 115 points over defending champion Lara Gut of Switzerland, who finished sixth in Wednesday’s race.
The three-day event in Austria ends with a floodlit slalom race on Thursday, giving Shiffrin an opportunity to further strengthen her lead. The Olympic champion has won all 11 slaloms she competed in since February 2015, while Gut usually sits out slaloms.
The opening run in the morning hours was hampered by strong winds and snowfall, but conditions even got worse in the afternoon.
“It was so tough. I didn’t think I was going to see the green light at the end,” said Worley, who briefly led the competition before Shiffrin had her final run. “It was so bumpy and you couldn’t see anything.”
Worley’s French teammate Taina Barioz had a nasty crash and appeared to have hurt her left lower leg, but Shiffrin said conditions were still suitable for a GS race.
“Outside the track it might have been pretty dangerous because there is so much snow but in the track it is OK,” Shiffrin said.
Rebensburg, who injured her knee in the off-season, dropped from second after the first run to third but said she was still satisfied with getting her first top-three finish since winning the season-ending GS in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in March.
“Basically I am very happy to be on the podium but I am also a bit angry with myself as I didn’t ski the final part too well,” the German said. “It was brutally difficult and I held back a bit.”
Just like at the race the day before, Shiffrin took a slim lead in the opening run.
“It was fun again,” said Shiffrin, who wore bib No. 6 after Tuesday’s win had earned her a place among the seven highest-ranked GS skiers, who get the favorable start numbers one to seven.
“It was a good day to get into the top seven. I had a nice track so it wasn’t too bad. Actually they did a really good job cleaning up the track,” said Shiffrin, referring to a legion of course workers who moved fresh snow off the race line in the hours before the start, and again before the final run.
Talk about perfect timing. Beaver Creek Resort made the big announcement earlier in the week that it would open Saturday, four days ahead of schedule, and then the flakes started flying.