Mikaela Shiffrin crushes Killington slalom … again
Mikaela wins by 2.29 seconds
Mikaela Shiffrin is 2-for-2, 4-for-4 and tied for fourth.
The Vail racer put on a command performance during Sunday’s World Cup slalom blowing away the field by 2.29 seconds in Killington, Vermont.
Slovakia’s Petra Vhlova was second and Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson was third.
That’s Shiffrin’s second slalom win in as many events this season, coming on the heels of her win last weekend in Levi, Finland.
She clearly likes Killington as she’s won all four slaloms held there dating back to 2016 when World Cup racing returned to the Northeast.
“Oh man, that was just a really big fight,” Shiffrin said to NBC after her win. ” … I was like, ‘All right, I have a big lead, but I really have to fight. It was a big fight. I was on the edge.”
And with the win, the 62nd of her career, she tied Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Proell for fourth place on the all-time World Cup victory list behind Ingemar Stenmark (86), Lindsey Vonn (82), and Marcel Hirscher (67). That’s some nice company.
Shiffrin, skiing third during the morning run, built a 1.13-second lead over Vlhova and a 1.74-second advantage over Switzerland’s Holdener.
“I’m pretty excited,” Shiffrin told NBC between runs. “I had a good time skiing. During inspection I saw how really hard the course was. It’s icy, bullet-proof, but I was really pleased with how I skied.”
Barring a hole opening up on the mountain and swallowing her whole, Shiffrin wasn’t surrendering a lead like that.
On another level
The simple athletic analysis of Shiffrin on Sunday is that of a great athlete on the top of her game. During the opening run, Slovakia’s Vlhova was the first out of the house and she appeared to make some mistakes on a cold, but less windy day in Vermont.
Yet, the Slovakian was, indeed, fast. Shiffrin, coming off a third-place finish in Saturday’s giant slalom, however, had a gear of her own. The three-time World Cup champion was 0.76 seconds ahead of Vlhova by the first split and really didn’t take her foot off the gas pedal.
“Slalom is like my baby,” Shiffrin told NBC. “This is where I had my first real success. … It feels nice to get back to it.”
Shiffrin did not nurse her lead, despite an increasing wind which gave other racers trouble. While Holdener skied out after three gates, allowing Svenn Larsson to jump up into the third position, Vlhova put up a solid second run, which under most conditions would put her in contention.
In the final run of the day, Shiffrin came out charging and building her green numbers. Midway through the course, she had a little bobble which might have caused hearts to drop, but she came out of that split with a 1.78-second advantage.
As she has done for the last four years, she continued to increase her lead on the lower portion of the piste, on her way to an easy triumph.
News and notes
• Shiffrin won this race last season by 0.57 seconds last season over Vlhova, who shook off her second-run DNF with the lead from last week.
• Sunday was Shiffrin’s eighth World Cup win on American snow (Killington four times, Aspen and Squaw Valley, California, twice each), tying Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider for the women’s record. Stenmark, not surprisingly holds the overall record with 10 wins in the states.
• In 21 of her last 22 World Cup slalom starts, Shiffrin has placed either first or second. The only exception was Shiffrin’s DNF back in Leenzerheide, Switzerland, on Jan. 28, 2018.
• Shiffrin seems to be an equal opportunity employer in winning around the tour. She has four wins in Killington, Levi, Finland, Zagreb, Croatia, and Are, Sweden.
• Points watch: With four tech races to start the season, Shiffrin has earned 340 of a possible 400. She leads the overall list with 340 points, well ahead of Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin (148), Vlhova (138), and Holdener (128). In the slalom, Shiffrin (200) is on top of Swenn Larsson (110), Norway’s Nina Haver-Loeseth (90) and Vlhova (80).
• Shiffrin’s next stop is Lake Louise, Alberta, for the annual speed opener next weekend.
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We just have to ask, is there anything Shiffrin can’t do?