Vail’s Shiffrin given Golden Ski Award for top female skier |

Vail’s Shiffrin given Golden Ski Award for top female skier

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

FRANCONIA, N.H. – The Eastern Ski Writers Association (ESWA) has awarded 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin (East Burke, Vt., via Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt), 19, with the 2011 Don A. Metivier Golden Ski Award.

This is Shiffrin’s first Golden Ski Award and second consecutive win for Cochran-Siegle.

The winners will be officially recognized on June 3 at the New England Ski Museum in Franconia, N.H.

The Golden Ski Award has been presented to the top male and female skiers in the East since the 1960s. In 1975, the ski was “lost,” until four years ago, when the New England Ski Museum was given some artifacts. Within the donation was the original Golden Ski. ESWA revitalized the honor in 2008 and began recognizing the top junior athletes from the East in memory of long-time snowsports journalist Don A. Metivier.

A sophomore at Burke Mountain Academy, Shiffrin, who turned 16 in March, had a remarkable year. She took control of the Nor-Am standings in December, winning a super combined. She then stood on the Nor-Am podium three more times over three days and, in January, won two Nor-Am slaloms.

At the 2011 Junior World Championships, Shiffrin earned a bronze medal in slalom, despite competing with a heavy cold. U.S. Ski Team coaches took notice and offered her a World Cup start in March, where she missed qualifying for a second run of slalom by five-hundredths of a second.

By mid-month, she had sealed the NorAm slalom title and took third overall. But Shiffrin saved her best for last. At the Putnam Investments U.S. Alpine Championships in Winter Park, she won her first national title, taking the slalom crown ahead of four-time Olympian Sarah Schleper and Resi Stiegler. At the awards banquet that night, Shiffrin was named Ski Racing Magazine’s Junior of the Year.

“I guess anything is possible,” said Shiffrin after the slalom win in Winter Park. “Sarah (Schleper) and Resi (Stiegler) have been so supportive of me; beating them today is a crazy feeling, but the better part about it was that they were still supportive of it. This is the best end to a season ever.”

A former member of the Ford Sayre program and Lebanon Outing Club, Shiffrin splits her time between East Burke and Vail. As for her long-term goals, her dad, Jeff Shiffrin, said she “keeps them under wraps.”