Mikaela Shiffrin and slalom go together like peanut butter and jelly; spaghetti and bolognese; or President Donald Trump and Twitter. Some things just go hand in hand. The American has won 26 World Cup slalom races, roughly 50 percent of the races she has entered in that discipline. She knows how to knife a tight turn and wiggle gracefully through a flush. Watching her is a lot like watching a dancer–an aggressive, badass dancer.

It seems the athlete, who has been referred to as a child prodigy, continues to get better with age. Shiffrin is taking her 22 years of experience into downhill and super-G, and at Lake Louise, Canada, she proved she has got the chops to podium in the speed disciplines–in tough conditions no less.

On Friday, officials, coaches and athletes did not expect the snowfall to start until 2 p.m. local time, which would have been the end of the race. Instead Mother Nature brought the storm in early with the snow starting just as the first forerunner was kicking out of the start gate. Shiffrin had the benefit of an early bib, number 10, which resulted in a third place finish.

“I mean, I’m definitely really excited,” she shared modestly after her first podium result. “I feel like I skied really well. I’m certainly one of the lucky ones being on the right side of the snow today. I think the track slowed down a lot, so I’m thankful for that. I capitalized on it, so that’s a good thing. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow” turned into a big deal. On Saturday, Shiffrin carried her momentum into the second downhill despite the fact that Lake Louise Ski Area came to a screeching halt when a fire at a power substation knocked out electricity to the entire venue. Shiffrin was one of many athletes that were caught on the chairlift as they headed to inspection around 10 a.m. local time. People were stranded for more than a half hour before the resort was able to draw on a reserve power source to run the chairlift just long enough to evacuate everyone. For the race, athletes were towed behind a snowcat up to the lowered start while essentials technology like timing ran on generators.

Fans would have never known that Shiffrin’s race-day plan had been disrupted. The American took her first World Cup downhill win ever, proving that Friday’s race was not just luck. However, Shiffrin did feel that the shortened course, which began at the men’s super-G start, played to her advantage.

“Shortening the distance was definitely an advantage towards me,” she shared. “The top section is flat. I’m not as good up there, but from where we started, most of the way down, it’s fairly technical, and I felt really good about that yesterday, so I took even a little bit more risk today, and it paid off just barely and that was really cool. I also had really good light. Some of those other girls had fog. It was really dark as well, so I definitely know that I was lucky yesterday and today, but I skied well and I took some risk and it was really fun.”

Her mother, Eileen, who famously straddles the role of coach and parent, was still stunned in the minutes after the race.

“It’s really surreal,” Eileen shared excitedly. “I’m actually still in shock in a way. In another way, I’m not. Even Conny Huetter was just saying, ‘Why are you so surprised?’ because we were all training in Copper a week ago, and she was very fast there. I’m not totally surprised, but somehow, doing it on a race day makes it more definite, more confirmed, and I’m still a little bit shocked actually.”

Eileen admitted she was nervous during Saturday’s race, saying she had a bad feeling when their usual race day routine got thrown out of whack due to the power outage.

“I was nervous today about it, and I just wanted her to get down safely,” she continued. “I get nervous at the slalom and the GS’s, and I’m probably less nervous at the downhills because I know Mikaela’s a very good governor, and she’ll take her foot off the gas in a safe way if she feels like she’s in over her head. Pretty sure she’ll be safe for quite a long time for that reason.”

The wild moments in Shiffrin’s run gave Eileen a little bit more to be nervous about.

“I had a pretty close, almost run in, with the fence on Fish Net,” Shiffrin calmly recalled. “I kept thinking yesterday I did it pretty well there. I just had one spot that I wanted to clean up today, and I went into it like, I almost closed my eyes like ‘Wait for one more second and now go,’ and I was just a tiny bit too late and hit a bit of a bump and high fived the fence and got back into the course, but actually I don’t think I lost a ton of speed there.”

Even if Shiffrin lost some speed, she walked away with a win. She was joined by Germany’s giant slalom powerhouse Viktoria Rebensburg in second place and Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin in third, an interesting podium for a downhill race.

“It’s a crazy podium,” said Gisin after the race. “It’s insane that Mikaela won her first downhill after the podium already yesterday. And I was sure that Vicky Rebensburg will do fine this weekend…but my podium right here, I’m actually very surprised. I thought maybe it could happen in Val d’Isere, but it’s the first time for me in Lake Louise. I got not so lucky with the visibility on top, so I’m just happy I got so lucky on the bottom and could ski that well.”

Success like Shiffrin’s could go to anyone’s head, but it doesn’t and that’s what her mom loves about her.

“I am the most proud of Mikaela because I think she’s grounded,” Eileen gushed. “She’s very compassionate. She’s aware of what’s going on around her, and I think that she’s very selfless. She cares about other people and what’s going on. She cares about the team, her teammates, and you know, she could be otherwise, but she’s not. I don’t consider her a diva, and I love that about her. I really respect that about her.”

Shiffrin, who now has the red bib in this discipline, does not have plans to race any other downhills this season. And why mess up her new stat: 0n the podium in 50 percent of all downhill races?  However, she hasn’t entirely discounted the idea of racing in the event at the Olympic Winter Games–even if, according to her, it’s fifth on the priority list of events for her to compete in.

The American will have another shot at the podium on Sunday in the women’s super-G at Lake Louise.


Top 10 (Dec. 1)

  1. Cornelia Huetter (AUT) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
  2. Tina Weirather (LIE) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  3. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) –  Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  4. Elena Fanchini (ITA) – Dynastar / Lange / Look
  5. Jacqueline Wiles (USA) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  6. Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  7. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
  8. Michelle Gisin (SUI) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  9. Lara Gut (SUI) –  Head / Head / Head
  10. Breezy Johnson (USA) –  Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

Top 10 (Dec. 2)

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) –  Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
  3. Michelle Gisin (SUI) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  4. Cornelia Huetter (AUT) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
  5. Tina Weirather (LIE) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  6. Stacey Cook (USA) – Stoeckli / Atomic / Lange
  7. Ester Ledecka (CZE) –  Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  8. Kira Weidle (GER) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  9. Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  10. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) – Head / Head / Head

Official Results (Dec. 1)

 1  15  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT  1:48.53  0.00  100.00
 2  13  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:48.62  +0.09  1.04  80.00
 3  10  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:48.83  +0.30  3.46  60.00
 4  6  296472 FANCHINI Elena 1985 ITA  1:49.17  +0.64  7.37  50.00
 5  4  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  1:49.28  +0.75  8.64  45.00
 6  7  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:49.29  +0.76  8.75  40.00
 7  3  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:49.42  +0.89  10.25  36.00
 8  28  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  1:49.50  +0.97  11.17  32.00
 9  9  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:49.60  +1.07  12.32  29.00
 10  29  6535455 JOHNSON Breezy 1996 USA  1:49.76  +1.23  14.17  26.00
 11  14  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:49.86  +1.33  15.32  24.00
 12  1  56198 SCHEYER Christine 1994 AUT  1:49.91  +1.38  15.89  22.00
 13  23  155763 LEDECKA Ester 1995 CZE  1:50.06  +1.53  17.62  20.00
 13  2  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:50.06  +1.53  17.62  20.00
 15  11  56177 VENIER Stephanie 1993 AUT  1:50.19  +1.66  19.12  16.00
 16  8  516319 SUTER Corinne 1994 SUI  1:50.26  +1.73  19.93  15.00
 17  25  516248 FLURY Jasmine 1993 SUI  1:50.35  +1.82  20.96  14.00
 18  19  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA  1:50.49  +1.96  22.57  13.00
 19  26  296431 STUFFER Verena 1984 ITA  1:50.58  +2.05  23.61  12.00
 20  30  299466 DELAGO Nicol 1996 ITA  1:50.59  +2.06  23.73  11.00
 21  16  55947 VEITH Anna 1989 AUT  1:50.64  +2.11  24.30  10.00
 22  20  55970 SCHMIDHOFER Nicole 1989 AUT  1:50.71  +2.18  25.11  9.00
 23  44  206668 WEIDLE Kira 1996 GER  1:50.78  +2.25  25.91  8.00
 24  21  538685 MCKENNIS Alice 1989 USA  1:50.91  +2.38  27.41  7.00
 25  34  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  1:50.94  +2.41  27.76  6.00
 26  22  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:50.97  +2.44  28.10  5.00
 27  32  206460 WENIG Michaela 1992 GER  1:51.16  +2.63  30.29  4.00
 28  50  197641 GAUCHE Laura 1995 FRA  1:51.22  +2.69  30.98  3.00
 29  24  56088 TIPPLER Tamara 1991 AUT  1:51.31  +2.78  32.02  2.00
 30  27  516219 NUFER Priska 1992 SUI  1:51.41  +2.88  33.17  1.00
 31  36  197383 GAUTHIER Tiffany 1993 FRA  1:51.48  +2.95  33.98
 32  42  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN  1:51.56  +3.03  34.90
 33  31  56258 AGER Christina 1995 AUT  1:51.63  +3.10  35.70
 34  38  206652 PFISTER Meike 1996 GER  1:51.78  +3.25  37.43
 35  39  516185 HAEHLEN Joana 1992 SUI  1:51.81  +3.28  37.78
 36  35  56336 DENGSCHERZ Dajana 1996 AUT  1:51.82  +3.29  37.89
 37  33  197497 MIRADOLI Romane 1994 FRA  1:52.02  +3.49  40.20
 38  12  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:52.26  +3.73  42.96
 39  37  6535600 MERRYWEATHER Alice 1996 USA  1:52.48  +3.95  45.49
 40  48  426257 LIE Kajsa Vickhoff 1998 NOR  1:52.62  +4.09  47.11
 41  43  56328 ORTLIEB Nina 1996 AUT  1:52.71  +4.18  48.14
 42  40  197295 PIOT Jennifer 1992 FRA  1:52.74  +4.21  48.49
 43  52  107697 FLECKENSTEIN Stefanie 1997 CAN  1:52.80  +4.27  49.18
 44  18  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN  1:52.90  +4.37  50.33
 45  41  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:52.98  +4.45  51.25
 46  53  107583 REMME Roni 1996 CAN  1:53.02  +4.49  51.71
 47  47  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON  1:53.03  +4.50  51.83
 48  46  297195 HOFER Anna 1988 ITA  1:53.21  +4.68  53.90
 49  55  107532 TOMMY Mikaela 1995 CAN  1:54.04  +5.51  63.46
 50  51  45331 SMALL Greta 1995 AUS  1:54.68  +6.15  70.83
 51  45  298767 SOSIO Federica 1994 ITA  1:54.99  +6.46  74.40
 52  54  415213 WILLINGER Georgia 1997 NZL  1:55.13  +6.60  76.02
Did not finish 1st run
 17  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA
Did not start 1st run
 56  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO
 49  155563 KRIZOVA Klara 1989 CZE
 5  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA

Official Results (Dec. 2)

 1  8  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:27.55  0.00  100.00
 2  7  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:27.68  +0.13  1.86  80.00
 3  27  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  1:27.72  +0.17  2.43  60.00
 4  19  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT  1:27.74  +0.19  2.71  50.00
 5  15  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:27.86  +0.31  4.43  45.00
 6  20  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:28.16  +0.61  8.71  40.00
 7  24  155763 LEDECKA Ester 1995 CZE  1:28.17  +0.62  8.85  36.00
 8  43  206668 WEIDLE Kira 1996 GER  1:28.18  +0.63  8.99  32.00
 9  17  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:28.24  +0.69  9.85  29.00
 10  21  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:28.27  +0.72  10.28  26.00
 11  23  516185 HAEHLEN Joana 1992 SUI  1:28.43  +0.88  12.56  24.00
 12  22  296431 STUFFER Verena 1984 ITA  1:28.48  +0.93  13.28  22.00
 12  13  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  1:28.48  +0.93  13.28  22.00
 14  18  245066 MIKLOS Edit 1988 HUN  1:28.57  +1.02  14.56  18.00
 15  9  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:28.65  +1.10  15.71  16.00
 15  1  55947 VEITH Anna 1989 AUT  1:28.65  +1.10  15.71  16.00
 17  32  206460 WENIG Michaela 1992 GER  1:28.76  +1.21  17.28  14.00
 18  4  55970 SCHMIDHOFER Nicole 1989 AUT  1:28.78  +1.23  17.56  13.00
 19  36  197383 GAUTHIER Tiffany 1993 FRA  1:28.87  +1.32  18.85  12.00
 20  2  296472 FANCHINI Elena 1985 ITA  1:28.95  +1.40  19.99  11.00
 21  11  56198 SCHEYER Christine 1994 AUT  1:28.96  +1.41  20.13  10.00
 22  6  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:28.97  +1.42  20.27  9.00
 23  12  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  1:29.00  +1.45  20.70  8.00
 24  30  516248 FLURY Jasmine 1993 SUI  1:29.02  +1.47  20.99  7.00
 25  16  516319 SUTER Corinne 1994 SUI  1:29.04  +1.49  21.27  6.00
 25  3  56177 VENIER Stephanie 1993 AUT  1:29.04  +1.49  21.27  6.00
 27  5  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA  1:29.05  +1.50  21.42  4.00
 28  42  56328 ORTLIEB Nina 1996 AUT  1:29.10  +1.55  22.13  3.00
 29  25  299466 DELAGO Nicol 1996 ITA  1:29.15  +1.60  22.84  2.00
 30  45  426257 LIE Kajsa Vickhoff 1998 NOR  1:29.25  +1.70  24.27  1.00
 30  35  56336 DENGSCHERZ Dajana 1996 AUT  1:29.25  +1.70  24.27  1.00
 32  10  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:29.37  +1.82  25.99
 33  46  197641 GAUCHE Laura 1995 FRA  1:29.43  +1.88  26.84
 34  34  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  1:29.51  +1.96  27.98
 35  28  538685 MCKENNIS Alice 1989 USA  1:29.57  +2.02  28.84
 36  26  56088 TIPPLER Tamara 1991 AUT  1:29.68  +2.13  30.41
 37  39  197295 PIOT Jennifer 1992 FRA  1:29.75  +2.20  31.41
 37  37  6535600 MERRYWEATHER Alice 1996 USA  1:29.75  +2.20  31.41
 39  31  56258 AGER Christina 1995 AUT  1:29.81  +2.26  32.27
 40  33  197497 MIRADOLI Romane 1994 FRA  1:29.87  +2.32  33.12
 41  29  516219 NUFER Priska 1992 SUI  1:30.10  +2.55  36.41
 42  49  107583 REMME Roni 1996 CAN  1:30.41  +2.86  40.83
 43  47  45331 SMALL Greta 1995 AUS  1:30.56  +3.01  42.98
 44  44  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON  1:30.69  +3.14  44.83
 45  40  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  1:30.70  +3.15  44.97
 46  48  107697 FLECKENSTEIN Stefanie 1997 CAN  1:30.80  +3.25  46.40
 47  51  107532 TOMMY Mikaela 1995 CAN  1:31.78  +4.23  60.39
 48  50  415213 WILLINGER Georgia 1997 NZL  1:32.07  +4.52  64.53
Did not finish 1st run
 41  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN
 38  206652 PFISTER Meike 1996 GER
 14  6535455 JOHNSON Breezy 1996 USA
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Gabbi Hall
Digital Content Editor
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A California native, Gabbi moved to Vermont to ski on the NCAA circuit for St. Michael’s College, where she served as team captain and studied journalism. Before joining Ski Racing, she worked as a broadcast TV producer and social media manager in higher education. She can be reached via email at gabbi@skiracing.com
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