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
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup (night) Slalom, Zagreb, Croatia, Jan. 4, 2013
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.
FIS World Cup
Jan. 4, 2013
|Rank||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|24||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||1:00.80||1:13.46||2:14.26|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|