There’s a new Snow Queen in the house, and she appears to be skiing off with the slalom title.

Mikaela Shiffrin earned the second World Cup win of her young career, skiing a very smooth, relaxed race under soft, rutty conditions at the slalom night race in Zagreb, Croatia Friday.

Unlike her first victory in Are two weeks ago, which seemed to require a Herculean effort and extraordinary exertion on the part of the 17-year-old, Friday’s event appeared to be more of a layup — which must be a scary development for the slalom field that Shiffrin bested by 1.19 seconds.

Shiffrin dedicated her win Austrian Marlies Schild, who has won the Croatian race four times, but is sitting out the rest of the season with an injury. “I was thinking about Marlies and how much she would crush the second run. She did last year, and I channeled that energy and it worked,” said Shiffrin.

Under conditions that gave many racers trouble, Shiffrin, who led after the first run for the first time in her career, was light on her skis and appeared unfazed by the rutty course. In the second run, she increased her lead at the first split, and then lost a bit of time in the midsection before charging toward the finish to blow way the next best time set by Frida Hansdotter (who also finished runner up to Shiffrin in Are).

With the win, Shiffrin took home a 26-point lead in the slalom standings and nearly enough prize money to pay for a modest college education (roughly $55,000, the largest single-race payout on the women’s tour). And she became the first American to win two World Cup races before the age of 18.

It was a great day all around for North America, as Erin Mielzynski of Canada rounded out the top three for the second podium result of her career. (The other came in the form of a victory in Germany last March.) In the second run, Mielzynski, a good rut skier who knows how to handle the soft snow, lost time at every interval to then-leader Nina Loeseth but held on in the final turns to solidify the result. Loeseth, who had smoked the second run, finished fourth, her career best result.

There was more good news for the North Americans and Team USA in particular, as Resi Stiegler seems to be getting stronger and faster with every appearance. Stiegler is in the process of working her way back from a knee injury last season. She was ninth after the first run and skied a nice midsection in the second, but lost some steam toward the bottom to finish ninth on the day.  

Meanwhile, the Slovenian fans were out in full force in support of current World Cup Overall leader Tina Maze, who despite not having a win in the discipline also led the slalom standings coming into the race. She finished the first run in second behind Shiffrin and skied the top part of the second smoothly with no signs of nerves. But she just barley straddled a gate roughly 20 seconds into her second effort to relinquish the slalom lead. 

Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by GEPA

The SCOOP
by Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup (night) Slalom, Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 4, 2013
Equipment

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Loeseth, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
5 Mougel, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
7 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Stiegler, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
10 Phelan, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

Women’s World Cup (night) Slalom, Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 4, 2013. … The VIP Snow Queen Trophy race. … It is the 34th of 73 races scheduled on the 2013 World Cup season. … the 19th of 38 scheduled women’s races (18th held) and the fifth of nine scheduled slaloms. … It is the 14th World Cup race hosted by Zagreb, all slaloms.

It is the second career World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin and the second of the season having also won at Are Dec. 20. … It is her second win and third podium of the season all in slalom. … She has not finished a race ranked outside of the top 10 this season. … It is the 251st World Cup US win. … the 60th in slalom. … She is the only American to win at Zagreb.

It is the fourth career World Cup podium placing for Frida Hansdotter. … All of them second place slalom finishes. … and two of them this season. … She has finished second to Shiffrin twice. … It is her first podium at Zagreb in five career results scored.

It is the second career World Cup podium for Erin Mielzynski, the first a win at Ofterschwang last March 4. … It is the second podium of the season for Canada including Erik Guay’s third in the Val Gardena downhill.

It is the 15th career World Cup top 10 for Marie-Michele Gagnon and her fourth of the season. … It is the 18th career World Cup top 10 for Resi Stiegler and her second since 2007. … It is her third score of the season. … It is the first career World Cup top 10 for Brittany Phelan in five scoring races. … All five of them coming this season.

Fourth was a career best finish for Nina Loeseth and fifth was a career best finish for Laurie Mougel. … Loeseth started 42nd and Mougel 40th.

Tina Maze (DNF 2nd) retains the lead of the women’s World Cup overall standings 1139-697 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (sixth in race). … Kathrin Zettel (DNF 1st) is third overall with 597pts. … Shiffrin is sixth overall with 426, Lindsey Vonn (did not race) seventh with 414pts. … and Julia Mancuso (did not race) eighth with 391pts. … Gagnon is top Canadian in 18th overall with 225pts. … Shiffrin regains control of the women’s slalom standings 336-310 over Maze. …Veronika Velez Zuzulova (24th in race with no pts) is third with 305pts. … Mielzynski is ninth with 151pts. … Austria maintains lead of the Women’s Nations Cup 2519-1734 over the US. … Germany is third with 1559pts. … Canada is ninth with 491pts.

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Zagreb (CRO)

FIS World Cup
Ladies’ Slalom
Jan. 4, 2013

Rank     Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time
 1 SHIFFRIN Mikaela  1995  USA   59.26  1:02.47  2:01.73
 2 HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE   1:00.02  1:02.90  2:02.92
 3 MIELZYNSKI Erin  1990  CAN   1:00.07  1:03.42  2:03.49
 4 LOESETH Nina  1989  NOR   1:01.28  1:02.54  2:03.82
 5 MOUGEL Laurie  1988  FRA   1:00.71  1:03.71  2:04.42
 6 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   1:00.20  1:04.70  2:04.90
 7 SCHILD Bernadette  1990  AUT   1:01.73  1:03.28  2:05.01
 8 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN   1:01.82  1:03.26  2:05.08
 9 STIEGLER Resi  1985  USA   1:00.74  1:04.37  2:05.11
 10 PHELAN Brittany  1991  CAN   1:01.10  1:04.19  2:05.29
 11 HOSP Nicole  1983  AUT   1:02.10  1:03.52  2:05.62
 12 THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT   1:01.17  1:04.48  2:05.65
 13 EKLUND Nathalie  1992  SWE   1:02.67  1:03.18  2:05.85
 14 WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA   1:02.37  1:03.50  2:05.87
 15 HOLDENER Wendy  1993  SUI   1:02.01  1:03.97  2:05.98
 16 MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA   1:01.39  1:04.61  2:06.00
 17 NOENS Nastasia  1988  FRA   1:02.18  1:03.94  2:06.12
 18 DAUM Alexandra  1986  AUT   1:02.49  1:03.96  2:06.45
 19 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA   1:00.53  1:06.27  2:06.80
 20 WIKSTROEM Emelie  1992  SWE   1:02.89  1:04.05  2:06.94
 21 CHMELAR Fanny  1985  GER   1:02.25  1:04.90  2:07.15
 22 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE   1:02.33  1:04.85  2:07.18
 23 HASEGAWA Emi  1986  JPN   1:02.94  1:05.53  2:08.47
 24 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK   1:00.80  1:13.46  2:14.26
 25 KIYOSAWA Emiko  1983  JPN   1:02.90  1:21.87  2:24.77
Disqualified 1st run
  POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN       
Did not start 1st run
  DUKE Hailey  1985  USA       
  STABER Veronika  1987  GER       
Did not qualify for 2nd run
  KOMSIC Andrea  1996  CRO       
  SHKANOVA Maria  1989  BLR       
  SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena  1984  ARG       
  STUHEC Ilka  1990  SLO       
  GUTIERREZ Mireia  1988  AND       
  SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen  1982  ARG       
  CURTONI Elena  1991  ITA       
  HECTOR Sara  1992  SWE       
  DUBOVSKA Martina  1992  CZE       
  BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT       
  FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena  1995  SWE       
  IGNJATOVIC Nevena  1990  SRB       
  WIRTH Barbara  1989  GER       
  SMEDH Veronica  1988  SWE       
  NIGG Marina  1984  LIE       
  ROUTHIER Eve  1988  CAN       
  SIEBENHOFER Ramona  1991  AUT       
  GISIN Michelle  1993  SUI       
  AUBERT Sandrine  1982  FRA       
Did not finish 2nd run
  DEPAULI Jessica  1991  AUT       
  BARTHET Anne-Sophie  1988  FRA       
  DUERR Lena  1991  GER       
  PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE       
  MAZE Tina  1983  SLO       
Did not finish 1st run
  NOVAKOVIC Zana  1985  BIH       
  NOVOSELIC Sofija  1990  CRO       
  KLUS Aleksandra  1986  POL       
  LOESETH Mona  1991  NOR       
  PERSYN Karen  1983  BEL       
  SOPPELA Merle  1991  FIN       
  SAEFVENBERG Charlotta  1994  SWE       
  GIUS Nicole  1980  ITA       
  TERWIEL Elli  1989  CAN       
  HOSHI Mizue  1985  JPN       
  VLHOVA Petra  1995  SVK       
  AZZOLA Michela  1991  ITA       
  COSTAZZA Chiara  1984  ITA       
  MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA       
  SWENN-LARSSON Anna  1991  SWE       
  GEIGER Christina  1990  GER       
  BORSSEN Therese  1984  SWE       
  KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT       
  ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT       

Article Tags: Alpine, Story, Top Story

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Geoff Mintz
- Geoff Mintz is a former alpine ski racer who cut his teeth at Ragged Mountain and Waterville Valley, N.H. After graduating from Holderness and UVM, he relocated to Colorado, where he worked as an instructor at Beaver Creek prior to pursuing a career in journalism.
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