Shiffrin uses blazing final run to win World Cup slalom
AP Sports Writer
ASPEN, Colo. — Mikaela Shiffrin shook off the disappointment of a fall the day before and turned in two blistering runs to win a World Cup slalom by 3.07 seconds Saturday, the largest margin of victory in the history of the women’s discipline.
The reigning Olympic and world champion flew through the course and finished in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 39.81 seconds. Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia wound up a distant second and Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter was third.
Shiffrin surpassed the previous slalom record for margin of victory held by France’s Florence Steurer. She won by three seconds during a slalom race in 1968, according to information provided by the International Ski Federation.
On the podium after the race, Shiffrin called it a “special day.”
And it certainly made up for Friday. Shiffrin was in command of a giant slalom race when she crashed near the finish. She buried her face in the snow as the crowd went silent.
This time, fans roared for the 20-year-old from nearby Eagle-Vail. She was rather subdued in her celebration despite becoming the first American woman to win a World Cup slalom race at Aspen.
“Sometimes that disappointment can hurt your or drive you,” Shiffrin said of her fall. “I let it fuel me.”
Shiffrin has won four straight World Cup slalom events dating to last season. It’s the longest streak in slalom by a female skier since Marlies Schild of Austria captured five straight in 2011-12.
The retired Schild also happens to be one of Shiffrin’s childhood idols.
No surprise Shiffrin races a lot like Schild. The resemblance is easy to see for Bernadette Schild, the younger sister of Marlies.
“She skis similar to the way my sister used to ski when she was really good,” said Bernadette Schild, who went out early in her first run, ending her day. “She’s just sending it.”
It was a tough day for the typically strong Austrian contingent as the nation’s top three racers veered off course. Schild was at a loss to explain why.
“The course wasn’t that hard, actually,” she said. “Things like that happen.”
This race was scheduled to be held in Levi, Finland, but was relocated because of warm weather there. Aspen will host another slalom race Sunday and Shiffrin will be the overwhelming favorite.
“I know this hill really well now,” Shiffrin said. “I think I have an advantage. A lot of these girls aren’t used to the terrain and the surface.
“Sometimes, it’s tricky to get your mind around the toughness and just hammer anyway.”
Vail Valley ranch takes a European approach to promoting welfare of this keystone species