On Friday, she finished ninth. On Saturday, she finished fourth. On Sunday, Mikaela Shiffrin finally found the podium and earned her first ever super-G victory in Lake Louise. Shiffrin’s win means that she has now won in all disciplines, including the parallel slalom. According to the FIS, Shiffrin is the first athlete, male or female, to win in all six disciplines currently contested on the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup circuit.
Her run was near perfect. With few to no mistakes, Shiffrin skied clean and fast, putting herself 0.77 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel.
“My run felt so good, my set up felt absolutely perfect, I could do exactly what I wanted to do and I was going really aggressive, especially over the pitch, and I was just thinking ‘okay, just close your eyes, make the turn and see what happens’ and it worked.”
In the finish, Shiffrin was surprised at just how fast she had skied. In other events such as her specialty, slalom, Shiffrin has seen many wins where her time is over a half a second faster than the top of the field. But the speed she found Sunday was unexpected, after having not skied on her super-G skis since training in Chile over the summer. The morning of the race, Shiffrin got out on the hill early to take a few free runs to feel her skis out. After a few turns, she knew her set up was feeling good and she could take her skiing to the next level on the track.
“From the start, I just tried to skate as hard as I could and take a lot of speed in the top section. I felt like not everybody was tucking up there as much as they could so I tried to be really aggressive from the start. From the jump, I was thinking ‘okay if I can just get this next section then I can go straight for the rest of the course and that worked out…The surface was perfect, it was like hero snow. I could do whatever I wanted. And then not having expectations, I didn’t feel the pressure of ‘oh I have to win this race’… It’s amazing. I’ve never felt a super-G run like that.”
Mowinckel was also pleasantly surprised by the success of her run. Her second place podium is the best result she’s had in Lake Louise, a track that she finds challenges her time and time again, particularly after having a few tech races under her belt. Mowinckel had finished in 24th and 28th in her downhill races over the weekend, keeping her speed on the conservative side.
“Coming from the GS side, you’re not used to that much speed again and it’s quite a transition because this one is probably the fastest we have on the World Cup so the contrast is pretty huge,” she explained. “So I think I needed the downhill days to kind of just get used to that again…Today was the first day [this weekend] that I really wanted to charge and go faster. The other days I kind of felt like, ‘okay, this is fast enough’.”
Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, who was first out of the start gate, skied a run just fast enough to hang on to the podium. Austrian Ramona Siebenhofer was close behind, just one-hundredth of a second slower, putting her in fourth. Her third place finish is Rebensburg first podium of the winter.
“The super-G in Lake Louise, I think it always looks tougher when you inspect versus when you ski it. You just have to charge from top to bottom, and that’s what I tried,” Rebensburg said in an interview with FIS.
Word on the street from coaches and athletes was that Sunday’s course was very open and direct which may have catered to skiers who specialize in giant slalom. Rebensburg and Mowinckel noticed that many skiers who typically see success in the giant slalom performed well in the rankings today.
“The GS girls know how to make those turns and I think that’s why they are all there,” explained Rebensburg.
“Today was a bit more of a GS speed course, which I liked. I thought that it was a nicer chance to try and go for it. I felt way more comfortable today since the speeds are also lower than it was yesterday” Mowinckel added.
Valerie Grenier of Canada represented well on home soil, charging from the back of the pack in bib 32 to squeeze into fifth, four-hundreths behind Siebenhofer and two-hundreths ahead of Frenchwoman Romane Miradoli. A fifth place in the Lake Louise super-G is a career-best for 22-year-old Grenier, who had yet to break into the top 10 in any discipline. Miradoli hasn’t seen the top 10 in a super-G since Soldeu in Andorra back in 2016.
While neither of those racers has seen excessive success on the tech circuit, the course seemed to provide for those who were willing to be aggressive and attack a straighter line.
The American athletes did not have as strong of a showing during the super-G as they did in the downhill. After breaking into the top 30 on both downhill days, Alice Merryweather settled for 38th in super-G. Tricia Mangan finished 46th and Laurenne Ross did not finish.
The next race for the women of the World Cup will be in St.Mortiz, Switzerland, where they will compete in super-G on December 8th and parallel slalom on December 9th.
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA): 1.19.41 – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR): +0.77 – Head/Head/Head
3. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER): +0.83 – Stoeckli/Lange
4. Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT): +0.84 – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5. Valerie Grenier (CAN): +0.88 – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
6. Romane Miradoli (FRA): +0.90 – Dynastar/Lange
6. Anna Vieth (AUT): +0.90 – Head/Head/Head
8. Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI): +0.98 – Head/Head/Head
9. Stephanie Venier (AUT): +1.00 – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10. Ilka Stuhec (SLO): +1.07 – Stoeckli/Stoeckli
For full results, click here.