ASPEN, Colo. – As the snow fell early during the second run of giant slalom, Mikaela Shiffrin looked poised to take the first American victory in the women’s Aspen races since Tamara McKinney won the GS in March of 1981. Swiss spark plug Lara Gut sat in third after the completion of the first run, a distant 0.96 seconds behind Shiffrin’s opening pace.

Undaunted by the increasing snowfall, Gut took to the course and executed a fearless and aggressive second run, coming through the finish with a slim 0.10-second lead over last year’s GS winner, Eva Maria Brem of Austria. After Italian Frederica Brignone was unable to hold her leading margin from the start, slipping to third, one racer stood between Gut and another World Cup win.

Even with a commanding 0.96-second lead after run one, Shiffrin wasn’t about to hold back. Her lead was cut to 0.68 seconds at the final interval, but she appeared destined for the win by a respectable margin with the finish line in sight and just a few gates across the flat left to navigate.

Shiffrin, however, never made it across the finish line on her run. Getting caught going too straight on the final gates and trapped with her weight too far inside, her feet were swept out from beneath her as she slid downhill on her side. Shiffrin’s crash just before the finish effectively handed the victory to Gut with Brem finishing second and Brignone third.

Gut’s victory, her second in GS and 13th overall, puts her only two shy of Sonja Nef’s 15 victories for seventh place all-time among Swiss women.

“Aspen is a tough course. There are never two gates in a row that are easy to ski. You have to push hard from start to finish,” said Gut of the challenging slope. “I’m happy, I’ve been fourth and fifth here, so it’s good to be on the podium.”

For Gut, the victory signals her return to the elite ranks of World Cup GS, as she saw her world rank slip to 24th last season from fourth the year before.

“Two years ago I had a really nice season, it was my best season in GS and last year nothing worked,” she said. “It wasn’t easy and the problem is when you’re doing all events and racing race after race. I had no chance to fix my mistakes last year to improve my GS, but from March on, then I have time and it looks like it worked.”

Gut started the season off on the right foot with a fourth-place finish in the opening GS in Soelden, Austria. “In Soelden I was fourth. I would have loved to have been on the podium, for sure, but it was a really good start for me. I realized there that I was able to compete again with the best in GS. And today in the start gate, I thought, ‘You can ski, do what you can and not fight like last year, enjoy your run.’ And this is what happened.”

For Brem, frustration with her performance in the first run was motivation enough to propel her from eighth position onto the podium.

“I had really good training days the last few weeks so I was pretty disappointed after the first run,” said Brem. “After the last training days I was sure that I could fight for a victory. I was 1.30 behind after first run, and it just didn’t feel good. I didn’t have the confidence.”

“In the second run I had the same feeling on the first 10 gates and I don’t know why then I thought, ‘That’s not me, that’s not my skiing,’ and I just let go. The last half of the second run were more like my runs from last year,” Brem explained.

Brignone is off to a hot start as well this season after claiming victory last month in Soelden and her third-place finish today.

“I’m really happy. My goal for today was to be on the podium and I got it. With all of the mistakes I made second run I never thought I was going to be in the top three again,” admitted Brignone. “Mikaela was skiing so good and she was the best today and then she fell three gates from the finish. That’s the sport and everyone makes mistakes and it’s so difficult.”

After her uncharacteristic exit, Shiffrin was understandably disappointed yet also optimistic.

“I felt kind of scrappy that run. I definitely didn’t feel great, but I was fighting really hard and I’m proud of that. Two gates from the finish, I was like ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I made it this far!’ You should never, ever think that because immediately something bad will happen.”

Speaking of Shiffrin’s performance, Brignone had some kind words for her rival. “I think she’s really focused always. She knows how to ski, she knows how she has to improve, she knows everything. Today really surprised me. When I finished I thought for sure I was fourth because Mikaela isn’t going to make a mistake. She never falls, she’s really consistent,” the Italian said. “She’s perfect with her upper body – not like me. I’m always turning too much and going too fast for a few gates and she’s always online and in the right position. I have to try to be like her.”

Brignone clearly led the strongest team performance of the day as eight Italian women qualified for the second run, with six finishing in the top 16.

“It’s good to have a good group. Everyone is pushing each other and for them I am skiing good in the race so they know they can be on the top because we are skiing all together always,” said Brignone. “I’m not always in front in training. I’m often one of the last ones. They watch me and they know they can be good and this is great, everyone is pushing, everyone wants to be the best, it’s a great atmosphere. Everyone’s happy and we’re strong.”

The women will contest the make-up slalom from Levi tomorrow at Aspen with the first run starting at 10:15 a.m. local time. U.S. fans can tune into NBCSN to watch the second run live starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.

View more photos from today’s race here.


The Scoop

By Hank McKee

  1. Gut, Head/Head/Head
  2. Brem, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
  3. Brignone, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
  4. Moelgg, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
  5. Worley, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  6. Loeseth, Volkl/Lange/Marker
  7. Rebensburg, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  8. Hector, Head/Head/Head
  9. Hansdotter, Rossignnol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  10. Baud Mugnier, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  • Women’s World Cup giant slalom, Aspen, USA, Nov. 27, 2015. … The race was originally slated for Nov. 28 but shifted up a day when Aspen accepted the make-up slalom from Levi. … It is the third race of 87 on the World Cup schedule. … The second of 41 women’s races and the second of nine scheduled women’s giant slaloms. … It is the 73rd World Cup race hosted by Aspen … the 23rd GS. … Eva-Maria Brem won the last World Cup GS at the site Nov. 29, 2014. Last American to win a World Cup GS at Aspen is Phil Mahre in 1983.
  • It is the 13th career World Cup win for Lara Gut. … Just her second in GS, the previous coming in the 2013 season opener at Soelden Oct. 26. … She had previously been fourth (Nov. 24, 2013) and fifth (Nov. 26, 2011) at Aspen. … It is the first Swiss podium of the season.
  • It is the eighth career World Cup podium for Eva-Maria Brem, all of them coming in GS. … Her only World Cup win came at Aspen Nov. 29, 2014. … It is the best Austrian placing of this season so far, bettering Marcel Hirscher’s third at Soelden.
  • It is the ninth career World Cup podium placing for Federica Brignone and her second of the season also winning at Soelden Oct. 24. … It is her third podium at Aspen having finished third Nov. 29, 2014 and Nov. 27, 2015.
  • The top five skiers were all within the same second.
  • American Mikaela Shiffrin was the first run leader but fell victim in the final section of the second run. She was the only American skier to qualify for a second run. …
  • Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon finished 16th as the lone North American on the results sheet.
  • Brignone leads the overall and GS standings with 160pts. … Gut sits second with 150 and Brem third with 112. … Shiffrin is top American in sixth with 80pts. … Gagnon is the top Canadian in 18th with 21pts.
  • Italy leads the women’s Nations Cup standings 393-170 over Sweden. … France and Switzerland are third with 166pts each. … The U..S sits eighth with 80pts, Canada 10th with 37pts.

Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  13  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:00.00  1:02.51  2:02.51  0.00
 2  5  55898 BREM Eva-Maria 1988 AUT  1:00.41  1:02.20  2:02.61  +0.10  0.80
 3  1  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  59.15  1:03.70  2:02.85  +0.34  2.72
 4  12  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  1:00.42  1:03.03  2:03.45  +0.94  7.52
 5  9  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA  1:00.04  1:03.45  2:03.49  +0.98  7.84
 6  17  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  1:01.05  1:02.84  2:03.89  +1.38  11.04
 7  2  205218 REBENSBURG Viktoria 1989 GER  1:01.03  1:03.12  2:04.15  +1.64  13.12
 8  3  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  1:00.11  1:04.20  2:04.31  +1.80  14.40
 9  15  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  1:00.86  1:03.78  2:04.64  +2.13  17.04
 10  21  197319 BAUD MUGNIER Adeline 1992 FRA  1:01.71  1:02.98  2:04.69  +2.18  17.44
 11  6  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:00.28  1:04.48  2:04.76  +2.25  18.00
 12  7  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:00.37  1:04.46  2:04.83  +2.32  18.56
 13  25  297910 CURTONI Elena 1991 ITA  1:01.01  1:03.87  2:04.88  +2.37  18.96
 14  19  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA  1:01.71  1:03.42  2:05.13  +2.62  20.96
 15  27  505886 KLING Kajsa 1988 SWE  1:02.76  1:02.63  2:05.39  +2.88  23.04
 16  43  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:02.57  1:03.08  2:05.65  +3.14  25.12
 16  28  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  1:01.59  1:04.06  2:05.65  +3.14  25.12
 18  40  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER  1:02.42  1:03.39  2:05.81  +3.30  26.40
 19  8  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria 1986 SWE  1:01.66  1:04.28  2:05.94  +3.43  27.44
 20  42  56217 BRUNNER Stephanie 1994 AUT  1:01.82  1:04.60  2:06.42  +3.91  31.28
 21  57  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 FRA  1:02.68  1:03.77  2:06.45  +3.94  31.52
 22  20  565268 DREV Ana 1985 SLO  1:02.65  1:04.24  2:06.89  +4.38  35.04
 23  37  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN  1:02.16  1:04.81  2:06.97  +4.46  35.68
 24  32  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  1:02.55  1:04.45  2:07.00  +4.49  35.92
 25  29  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA  1:02.09  1:06.23  2:08.32  +5.81  46.48
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 65  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE
 64  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO
 62  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER
 61  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT
 60  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE
 59  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah 1979 MEX
 58  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI
 53  506350 EKLUND Nathalie 1992 SWE
 50  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA
 49  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT
 48  516394 SUTER Jasmina 1995 SUI
 47  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE
 46  206444 HOESL Simona 1992 GER
 45  516268 WILD Simone 1993 SUI
 41  56328 ORTLIEB Nina 1996 AUT
 35  298694 PICHLER Karoline 1994 ITA
 34  107387 CRAWFORD Candace 1994 CAN
 18  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR
Did not finish 2nd run
 51  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI
 24  297702 MARSAGLIA Francesca 1990 ITA
 23  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone 1988 FRA
 11  296509 CURTONI Irene 1985 ITA
 4  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA
Did not finish 1st run
 66  415205 HUDSON Piera 1996 NZL
 63  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB
 56  56367 GALLHUBER Katharina 1997 AUT
 55  565373 ROBNIK Tina 1991 SLO
 54  56315 TRUPPE Katharina 1996 AUT
 52  197651 DIREZ Clara 1995 FRA
 44  197124 FRASSE SOMBET Coralie 1991 FRA
 39  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN
 38  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE
 36  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI
 33  225525 TILLEY Alexandra 1993 GBR
 31  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT
 30  565331 LAVTAR Katarina 1988 SLO
 26  298124 AGNELLI Nicole 1992 ITA
 22  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA
 16  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA
 14  106825 PREFONTAINE Marie-Pier 1988 CAN
 10  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT

 

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Rotator , Top Story

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Sean Higgins
Senior Editor
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A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American status in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
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