Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin rings up her 40th World Cup slalom win | VailDaily.com

Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin rings up her 40th World Cup slalom win

And that's No. 16 this season for Mikaela

Welcome to the 40 Club, Mikaela.

Mikaela Shiffrin put an exclamation point on her slalom season at Saturday’s World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra, winning the 40th slalom of her career. Only the 24-year-old American and Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark have won 40 slaloms in their careers.

It took Stenmark 13 seasons to accumulate 40 slalom victories, part of his World Cup record 86 wins. Shiffrin is in her ninth season.

“The dream is achieved, but that doesn’t mean the dream stops,” Shiffrin said via the International Ski Federation Soundcloud web page, regarding her accomplishments this season. “It’s the same dream. I mean, I’m not here just for records or race wins or just to win a globe and then I’m done. I still have passion. I still have the motivation and so I keep on going. As long as I still have those things then if I have the fire, I’m going to keep going because I love this sport.”

She continued her historic pillaging of the World Cup with her 16th win on tour in this season — which doesn’t include two more victories at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in February — coming in ahead of  Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener with a time of 1 minute, 48.15 seconds., 7-hundredths of a second ahead of Holdener and 1.2 ticks in front of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova.

The previous record for wins in a World Cup season was 14, held by Switzerland’s Vreni Scheider in 1988-89, and Shiffrin took care of that last weekend, with a slalom triumph in Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic.

Saturday was her 16th win of the season, extending her new record. Perhaps even more startling is that Shiffrin won her 59th World Cup. Only Stenmark (86), Lindsey Vonn (82) and Austria’s Marcel Hirscher (67) have won more races.

Shiffrin trailed Holdener by 0.28 seconds after the first run but flagged down the Swiss racer with a second run that was the only to come in fewer than 55 seconds.

“I had an extra push,” Shiffrin said. via FIS Soundcloud. “Sometimes, if I’m behind after the first run, it’s like, ‘I have to risk everything.’ I was taking risk in the second run. I had some small mistakes here and there in that second run because I was skiing aggressive and taking that risk, but I was able to make some recoveries. One of the turns on the pitch, I don’t know where my hands were, but I had to take the gate on my neck. That’s the way it goes.”

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Slalom dominance

And with Saturday’s win, she officially received her World Cup slalom globe, her sixth in seven years. Shiffrin locked up the slalom title back on Feb. 19 as part of a slalom season for the ages in the discipline.

• She earned 1,160 points out of a possible 1,200 in the discipline. That’s 10 wins (eight traditional slalom victories and two parallel slaloms) in 12 outings with two second-place finishes. Those seconds came in Oslo on New Year’s Day and in Flachau, Austria, on Jan. 8.

• Her eight traditional slalom-format wins in one season ties a World Cup record with Croatia’s Janica Kostlelic from the 2000-2001 season.

• Shiffrin and Vlhova have won the last 19 World Cup slaloms — Shiffrin leads, 15-4. The last person not named Shiffrin or Vlhova to win a World Cup slalom is Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, who won on Jan. 10, 2017. By the way, Hansdotter is retiring from the World Cup this weekend. Along those lines, Switzerland’s Holdener continues her frustrating streak of slalom podiums in her career without a win at 22.

“I have a lot of respect for Wendy. I know it’s really frustrating,” Shiffrin said, according to the FIS Soundcloud page. “I don’t know how to say this so it doesn’t sound like a bad thing. I can see the frustration in her eyes. Today, 7-hundredths is like nothing. I was pushing and every single day, I am pushing to do my very best and see if it’s possible today. I know she was, too. We both had some mistakes. At the end, her mistake was a little bigger than mine.”

• Shiffrin has been on the podium in 21 of her last 22 starts in World Cup slaloms. The only blip there was a DNF in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Jan. 28, 2018.

• None of this includes that Shiffrin is the four-time reigning worlds gold medalist in the discipline (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019).

The finale

Shiffrin wraps the World Cup finals and the season with Sunday’s giant slalom. There is still business on the table as she has the formality of clinching the giant-slalom World Cup championship. She leads by 97 points, and only Vlhova can catch her by winning with the American finishing outside of the top 15. (A reminder: At World Cup finals only the top 25 in points in the discipline from the season start and just 15 score.)

Were Shiffrin to finish 15th, she would score 16 points and win the GS globe, one of the few things she hasn’t done in her career. Ironically, her first World Cup GS points came in Soldeu back in 2012.

From FIS’ Soundcloud, she said, “It feels like 2012 was quite some time ago, but in many ways, it feels like yesterday.”

Given that Shiffrin hasn’t finished “worse” than fifth in giant slalom (Semmering, Austria, on Dec. 28) this season, does she ski conservatively to get the points or go full throttle for the win or the podium?

In other news and notes from Soldeu, Vail’s River Radamaus started in the men’s GS and was a DNF in the first run. France’s Alexis Pinturault won the race, followed by Austria’s Marco Odermatt and Croatia’s Zan Kranjec. Hirscher finished sixth, but has already clinched the overall, the giant slalom and slalom World Cup championships.

While the women race GS on Sunday, the men race slalom.