On a wet and dreary day in Maribor, Slovenia, Mikaela Shiffrin skied through the rain to win her third World Cup slalom of the season, besting Veronika Velez Zuzulova by a large margin of 1.03 seconds. World Championship bronze medalist, Sarka Strachova, rounded out the podium in third, 1.05 second behind.

Shiffrin, fresh off the successful defense of her World Championship slalom title in Colorado last week, carried her momentum into the return to the World Cup. She kept her characteristic quick feet moving and did not let the rain slow her down one bit. Shiffrin, who lives in Vail, Colo., grew up racing primarily in Vermont and claims to enjoy skiing in the rain, and it certainly gave her no trouble today.

“It was really nice rain. I have good goggles, I have to say, so the rain doesn’t bother me so much,” said Shiffrin. “I grew up skiing in the rain.”

Leading by a significant advantage after a clean and crisp first run, Shiffrin expected the course to be rough when starting 30th on run two, but was surprised by how well it held up. She was able to stay loose and athletic in the sections where ruts were forming and stayed ahead of the course in areas where other athletes faltered. She stood strong on her skis and charged aggressively in the challenging conditions to take a commanding win yet again.

“Maribor did an amazing job preparing the hill, and it held up (during second run),” said Shiffrin. “I’m thankful for that. … There’s always little technical things that I can do better, so I was trying to think about that a little this run because I know if I get on my inside ski then it’s easy to ski out on the ruts. I stayed on my outside ski and that’s good.”

Zuzulova has battled to get back into the top group of slalom skiers for most of the year after injuring her knee at the start of the 2014 season. She stormed back from eighth after run one to sneak in front of Strachova by a mere two-hundredths of a second to take second place. It is the second race in a row that she has skied a flawless second run to move up the leaderboard. Last week in Beaver Creek she won the second run but just missed out on a podium, finishing fourth. This time around the clock was on her side.

“For sure the weather was not the best, but I think the conditions were actually really good,” commented Zuzulova. “That helped me get a good result in the first run, starting 23 (second run). It’s a great day for me. Being back on the podium makes me really happy.”

“I was watching Zuzulova’s run,” admitted Shiffrin. “She just keeps killing it the second time and I don’t understand – she (makes it) look so easy.”

Strachova continues to find her speed week after week in slalom this season. After finishing the first run with the second fastest time, Strachova was unable to match the speed of Zuzulova on the bottom portion of the course. After holding close to a three-tenths lead at the final interval, Strachova dropped time to finish on the third step of the podium. Still, it was a result she will gladly take, giving her a second World Cup podium of the year and third podium of the season after earning the bronze medal at World Championships.

“It was a tough race,” said Strachova. “The first run was good and the second, in such conditions, was actually also really good. I made a mistake in the middle part of my second run. But once in the finish and knowing I was going to be on the podium again was a great feeling. I am in a good shape now and the self-confidence is back again.”

The race past first position was incredibly tight. Second through eighth place was separated by only 0.37 seconds. Norwegian Nina Loeseth, who finished on the podium for the first time in her career earlier this season in Zagreb, just missed out on her second by finishing fourth. Erin Mielzynski and Bernadette Schild were sitting in third and fourth, respectively, after run one, but both encountered some trouble in the second runs and dropped back to 13th and 8th. That opened the door for Zuzulova, Loeseth, and Lena Duerr. Duerr finished fifth for the best World Cup slalom result of her career (outside of her victory at a 2013 city event).

Frida Hansdotter came into the race leading the discipline standings over Shiffrin, but had her worst slalom result of the season in ninth. Shiffrin now leads the standings 479-439. Tina Maze is third with 374 points.

“I felt like I really had to attack. I feel best after my races when I put two really good runs down and each run is trying to be better than the last. I did know that I had a little bit of time, so I could be smart and not go crazy because my overall goal is to get the globe this season,” said Shiffrin. “I think it was a little bit smart second run, but I was still pushing it so I could be proud of the overall effort.”

Maze had another disappointing day in front of her hometown fans. Sitting sixth after run one, she looked poised to take the lead away from then-leader Zuzulova with a fast top section. But she struggled on the pitch and crashed on her side after straddling a gate. It was her second DNF in a row.

Despite the back break, Maze still leads the overall standing over Anna Fenninger (did not race) 985-901 as the women head to Bansko, Bulgaria, next weekend for two super G’s and a super combined.

See more photos from this race in our gallery here.

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

  1. Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  3. Strachova, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  4. Loeseth, Volkl/Lange/Marker
  5. Duerr, Volkl/Fischer
  6. Holdener, Head/Head/Head
  7. Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  8. Schild, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
  9. Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  10. Saefvenberg, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s World Cup slalom, Maribor, Slovenia, Feb. 22, 2015:

  • It is the 24th of 34 races on the women’s World Cup schedule. … The ninth of 11 scheduled slaloms with one cancellation. … It is the 65th World Cup race hosted by Maribor … the 36th slalom. … Tina Maze won the most recent on Jan. 27, 2013.
  • It is the 13th career World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin. … The 282nd U.S. World Cup win. … It is Shiffrin’s 12th slalom win, a U.S. record. … It is her fifth win of the season including a gold in slalom at the World Championships. … The winning margin is 1.03 seconds. … Top 12 within two seconds. … It is Shiffrin’s first win at Maribor.
  • It is the 17th World Cup podium for Veronika Velez Zuzulova (15 in slalom and two in city event parallel slaloms). … It is her first podium of the season.
  • It is the 11th career World Cup podium for Sarka Strachova. … her third podium of the season including a bronze medal in slalom at World Championships.
  • Erin Mielzynski matches her ninth best career World Cup finish. … It is her fourth best finish of the season. … It is the eighth score of the season for Marie-Michele Gagnon.
  • Tina Maze (DNF 2nd in race) leads the World Cup overall standings 985-901 over Anna Fenninger (did not race). … Mikaela Shiffrin is third overall with 750pts. … Lindsey Vonn (did not race) is fourth with 646pts. … Larisa Yurkiw is the top Canadian overall in 30th with 189pts.
  • Shiffrin leads the slalom standings 479-449 over Frida Hansdotter (ninth in race). … Maze is third in the slalom standings with 374pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon is 12th with 141pts.

 

Results

 1  3  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  48.58  50.54  1:39.12  0.00
 2  12  705287 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika 1984 SVK  49.90  50.25  1:40.15  +1.03  7.48
 3  6  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  49.26  50.91  1:40.17  +1.05  7.63
 4  9  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  50.14  50.15  1:40.29  +1.17  8.50
 5  27  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER  49.91  50.43  1:40.34  +1.22  8.86
 6  8  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  50.33  50.04  1:40.37  +1.25  9.08
 7  7  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin 1986 AUT  50.59  49.86  1:40.45  +1.33  9.66
 8  11  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT  49.46  51.06  1:40.52  +1.40  10.17
 9  1  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  49.50  51.17  1:40.67  +1.55  11.26
 10  25  506583 SAEFVENBERG Charlotta 1994 SWE  50.78  50.06  1:40.84  +1.72  12.49
 11  43  516334 CHABLE Charlotte 1994 SUI  50.61  50.48  1:41.09  +1.97  14.31
 12  40  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER  50.03  51.08  1:41.11  +1.99  14.46
 13  17  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN  49.39  51.76  1:41.15  +2.03  14.75
 14  28  296509 CURTONI Irene 1985 ITA  51.03  50.13  1:41.16  +2.04  14.82
 15  22  196803 MOUGEL Laurie 1988 FRA  50.69  50.54  1:41.23  +2.11  15.33
 16  16  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara 1984 ITA  49.84  51.44  1:41.28  +2.16  15.69
 17  20  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE  50.72  50.73  1:41.45  +2.33  16.92
 18  36  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA  51.17  50.32  1:41.49  +2.37  17.22
 19  30  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  51.14  50.36  1:41.50  +2.38  17.29
 20  5  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria 1986 SWE  50.39  51.23  1:41.62  +2.50  18.16
 21  29  197319 BAUD Adeline 1992 FRA  51.16  50.50  1:41.66  +2.54  18.45
 22  10  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  50.78  50.97  1:41.75  +2.63  19.10
 23  15  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT  50.85  51.02  1:41.87  +2.75  19.98
 24  33  506350 EKLUND Nathalie 1992 SWE  51.16  50.75  1:41.91  +2.79  20.27
 25  39  55898 BREM Eva-Maria 1988 AUT  51.18  50.89  1:42.07  +2.95  21.43
 26  14  196806 NOENS Nastasia 1988 FRA  50.62  51.50  1:42.12  +3.00  21.79
 27  19  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  51.28  52.18  1:43.46  +4.34  31.53
Disqualified 2nd run
 31  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK
Did not start 1st run
 44  196179 BERTRAND Marion 1984 FRA
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 68  106825 PREFONTAINE Marie-Pier 1988 CAN
 66  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT
 65  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE
 63  565417 PLUT Eli 1994 SLO
 62  197616 ALPHAND Estelle 1995 FRA
 59  565428 BREZOVNIK Sasa 1995 SLO
 56  298767 SOSIO Federica 1994 ITA
 55  506348 STAALNACKE Ylva 1992 SWE
 53  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI
 52  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB
 51  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO
 50  297171 FANCHINI Sabrina 1988 ITA
 47  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA
 46  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE
 45  185317 SOPPELA Merle 1991 FIN
 38  206532 SCHMOTZ Marlene 1994 GER
 37  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA
 32  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN
 26  206279 GEIGER Christina 1990 GER
 24  55807 DAUM Alexandra 1986 AUT
 23  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI
 21  205239 WIRTH Barbara 1989 GER
Did not finish 2nd run
 18  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna 1991 SWE
 4  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO
Did not finish 1st run
 67  415205 HUDSON Piera 1996 NZL
 64  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND
 61  565373 ROBNIK Tina 1991 SLO
 60  65038 PERSYN Karen 1983 BEL
 58  485637 ALOPINA Ksenia 1992 RUS
 57  225525 TILLEY Alexandra 1993 GBR
 54  298124 AGNELLI Nicole 1992 ITA
 49  206408 WEINBUCHNER Susanne 1991 GER
 48  537792 DUKE Hailey 1985 USA
 42  516109 VOGEL Nadja 1990 SUI
 41  56126 ZELLER Lisa-Maria 1992 AUT
 35  565331 LAVTAR Katarina 1988 SLO
 34  56315 TRUPPE Katharina 1996 AUT
 13  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT
 2  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT

 

Article Tags: Alpine, Top Rotator, Top Story

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Jessica Kelley
Contributor
- A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Ski Team, Kelley collected three NorAm titles, won GS silver at the 2002 World Junior Championships, and was a member of the 2007 World Championships team during her professional career. She resides in Park City, Utah, with her husband, Adam Cole.
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