In the age of Mikaela Shiffrin, it’s no small task for other women to win a slalom World Cup. Winning back-to-back slaloms is almost unheard of unless you’re Slovakian. On Saturday, Petra Vlhova won the first slalom race of the season in Levi, Finland, after closing out the 2016-17 season with a win in Aspen, Colo., back in March.

She is the first woman, other than Shiffrin, to win back-to-back World Cup slalom races since her fellow countrywoman Veronika Velez-Zuzulova did so in January 2016 at Flachau, Austria, when the American was off the slopes while recovering from a knee injury. Vlhova not only takes home the satisfaction of knowing she’ll wear the red bib at Killington, but also has a new reindeer friend to call her own.

“It’s amazing,” she said breathlessly after the race. “Like I tell Mikaela, she’s really strong, fast, so for me, it’s best day today.”

Shiffrin, Vlhova and Holdener on the podium at the 2017 Levi World Cup. Image Credit: GEPA / Christian Walgram

The early season victory not only bodes well for an exciting rivalry between Vlhova and Shiffrin in slalom, but also for the Olympic Winter Games. In the last three Olympic seasons, the winner of the first slalom World Cup went on to win Olympic slalom gold – in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Of course, Shiffrin hopes to put a stop to that trend and defend her 2014 Olympic gold in PyeongChang, South Korea, this February.

The American joined Vlhova on the podium in second place after losing her 0.21-second lead from the first run.

“First, I want to say I’m always grateful to be on the podium, but it’s definitely tough especially when it’s so close,” said Shiffrin, “One-tenth is not much time, and I know exactly the places where I lost that time and it’s always a bit disappointing to look back on the run and say, ‘I wish that here I would have done this, or here I would have done that.’”

Despite the fact that the American has been so dominant in the discipline, she was not surprised that Vlhova walked away with the victory.

“I was training with Petra a little bit in the last few days before this race, and I knew that she’s been fast, so I expected that she would be strong and fast today,” Shiffrin shared. “She’s also really mentally tough. Everybody knows that from her performances last year as well, so I expect that it’s going to be a really cool fight with her this year and that’s exciting.”

Swiss skier Wendy Holdener, known affectionately on tour as “Sendy Wendy,” rounded out the podium in third place, 1.35 seconds off the winning pace. Did that podium give fans a little deja vu? It’s because the top three graced the podium last year in a slightly different order.

Off the podium, it was a big day for four ladies who attacked from the back to earn top-30 finishes. Austria’s Stephanie Brunner made a massive jump from bib 53 to an impressive eighth-place result. It marked her first top-10 finish in the discipline just a couple weeks after her fourth-place result in the GS at Soelden.

Brunner skis to a top 10 finish. Image Credit: GEPA / Christian Walgram

Brunner’s teammate Katharina Huber also made waves with a 12th-place result, moving up from bib 42. Mina Fuerst Holtmann of Norway was hot on her heels in 13th place, coming up from bib 51. The Attacking Viking is returning after two years away from racing due to back and knee injuries, and she is clearly in attack mode. Laurence St. Germain of Canada also logged a career-best result moving up 30 spots to a 17th-place result.

World Cup veterans Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames were the only other Americans on the start list. Stiegler kicked off the season with a 21st-place result while McJames did not qualify for the second run.

The ladies will leave the Arctic Circle and head to the U.S. for the next World Cup races at Killington, Vt. World Cup racing action continues on Sunday with the first men’s slalom of the season.


Top 10

  1. Petra Vlhova (SVK) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) –  Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
  3. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
  4. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  5. Melanie Meillard (SUI) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  6. Lena Duerr (GER) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
  7. Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  8. Stephanie Brunner (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
  9. Ana Bucik (SLO) – Stoeckli / Salomon / Head
  10. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  7  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  55.87  54.11  1:49.98  0.00  100.00
 2  3  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  55.66  54.42  1:50.08  +0.10  0.65  80.00
 3  4  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  56.86  54.47  1:51.33  +1.35  8.84  60.00
 4  1  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  56.39  55.76  1:52.15  +2.17  14.21  50.00
 5  14  516528 MEILLARD Melanie 1998 SUI  57.61  54.95  1:52.56  +2.58  16.89  45.00
 6  16  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER  57.23  55.53  1:52.76  +2.78  18.20  40.00
 7  34  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna 1991 SWE  57.48  55.68  1:53.16  +3.18  20.82  36.00
 8  53  56217 BRUNNER Stephanie 1994 AUT  58.38  54.80  1:53.18  +3.20  20.95  32.00
 9  13  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO  57.46  55.78  1:53.24  +3.26  21.34  29.00
 10  17  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  57.41  56.05  1:53.46  +3.48  22.78  26.00
 11  19  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT  58.09  55.41  1:53.50  +3.52  23.04  24.00
 12  42  56253 HUBER Katharina 1995 AUT  58.02  55.53  1:53.55  +3.57  23.37  22.00
 13  51  426100 HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst 1995 NOR  58.68  55.05  1:53.73  +3.75  24.55  20.00
 14  5  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE  57.32  56.44  1:53.76  +3.78  24.75  18.00
 15  15  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  58.36  55.57  1:53.93  +3.95  25.86  16.00
 16  21  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  58.86  55.08  1:53.94  +3.96  25.92  15.00
 17  47  107427 ST-GERMAIN Laurence 1994 CAN  58.31  55.65  1:53.96  +3.98  26.06  14.00
 17  25  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO  57.89  56.07  1:53.96  +3.98  26.06  14.00
 17  12  425981 SKJOELD Maren 1993 NOR  58.25  55.71  1:53.96  +3.98  26.06  14.00
 20  27  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER  57.94  56.03  1:53.97  +3.99  26.12  11.00
 21  11  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA  58.67  55.46  1:54.13  +4.15  27.17  10.00
 22  23  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  58.72  55.49  1:54.21  +4.23  27.69  9.00
 23  28  56367 GALLHUBER Katharina 1997 AUT  58.57  55.68  1:54.25  +4.27  27.95  8.00
 24  18  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT  58.50  55.87  1:54.37  +4.39  28.74  7.00
 25  36  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 SWE  58.31  56.08  1:54.39  +4.41  28.87  6.00
 26  30  196806 NOENS Nastasia 1988 FRA  58.41  56.06  1:54.47  +4.49  29.39  5.00
 27  22  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN  58.45  56.06  1:54.51  +4.53  29.66  4.00
 28  9  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara 1984 ITA  58.41  56.12  1:54.53  +4.55  29.79  3.00
 29  37  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE  58.15  56.46  1:54.61  +4.63  30.31  2.00
Did not finish 2nd run
 2  425771 HAVER-LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  57.03
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 70  555035 BONDARE Liene 1996 LAT  1:04.11
 68  298723 MIDALI Roberta 1994 ITA  1:01.22
 66  65117 VANREUSEL Kim 1998 BEL  1:00.39
 65  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  1:00.38
 63  225518 GUEST Charlie 1993 GBR  1:00.48
 60  185430 HONKANEN Riikka 1998 FIN  59.36
 58  405138 JELINKOVA Adriana 1995 NED  1:00.55
 57  298767 SOSIO Federica 1994 ITA  1:00.15
 56  305944 KIYOSAWA Emiko 1983 JPN  1:01.30
 55  516437 BISSIG Carole 1996 SUI  59.97
 54  506350 EKLUND Nathalie 1992 SWE  59.75
 52  665009 SHKANOVA Maria 1989 BLR  1:00.36
 50  155727 CAPOVA Gabriela 1993 CZE  1:00.39
 49  565403 LIVK Klara 1994 SLO  59.64
 48  307493 ANDO Asa 1996 JPN  1:00.50
 46  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE  1:00.06
 45  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND  59.53
 41  56388 LIENSBERGER Katharina 1997 AUT  58.89
 40  516426 STOFFEL Elena 1996 SUI  59.23
 39  355061 HILZINGER Jessica 1997 GER  59.86
 35  485802 TKACHENKO Ekaterina 1995 RUS  59.73
 33  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN  1:00.30
 32  506348 STAALNACKE Ylva 1992 SWE  58.98
 29  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  59.07
 26  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA  59.64
 24  56143 GRUENWALD Julia 1991 AUT  59.25
Did not finish 1st run
 71  185435 HAKALA Kia-Emilia 1998 FIN
 69  185437 HANNOLA Hilla 1998 FIN
 67  197808 BOEUF Johanna 1997 FRA
 64  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT
 62  197540 FORNI Josephine 1994 FRA
 61  426187 LYSDAHL Kristin 1996 NOR
 59  565471 HROVAT Meta 1998 SLO
 44  225525 TILLEY Alex 1993 GBR
 43  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE
 38  485637 ALOPINA Ksenia 1992 RUS
 31  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB
 20  206536 WALLNER Marina 1994 GER
 8  56315 TRUPPE Katharina 1996 AUT
 6  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT
Did not start 1st run
 10  296509 CURTONI Irene 1985 ITA
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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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