Memo to the world: When Mikaela Shiffrin skis to within 0.15 seconds of the lead in her first run, it’s bad news for everyone else in the second.

The 17-year-old earned her remarkable first World Cup victory under the lights in Are, Sweden Thursday. Her previous best results were a couple thirds in Lienz and Levi. She became the youngest American to win a World Cup slalom since Kiki Cutter did it in 1968.

In her second run, Shiffrin kept calm under what must have been extraordinary pressure from the likes of Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Tina Maze and Frida Hansdotter, the host-nation favorite and leader after the first run.

Shiffrin, who was second earlier in the evening and started second-to-last in the final, dropped in just moments after Tina Maze threw down a brutally aggressive second run, which set the pace over the previous Erin Mielzynski of Canada.

But it wasn’t enough to hold off Shiffrin, who ultimately increased her lead over Maze by a quarter-second before the end of the race. Per usual, the American was light on her feet on the upper part of course. She got a little late just before the second split, but was able to quickly regain her rhythm and explode toward the finish, generating a half-second lead over the World Cup Overall leader Maze.

But the race didn’t end there. With the home crowd pulling for her at the base, Sweden’s Hansdotter, running 30th, was also looking for her first career World Cup victory — and no better place to achieve it than on home snow.

Hansdotter kicked out of the second run with a 0.15 advantage over the American. She made a couple small mistakes, but otherwise skied an excellent run. At the first split Hansdotter’s lead had slipped back to 0.06, but she was able to regain a little time at the third split for a 0.12 advantage going into the final stretch of gates.

Shiffrin must have really let it rip down below, because when Hansdotter crossed the finish line, her third-split lead had evaporated into a .29 deficit. She finished second on the day. 

“I was just trying to fly,” said an emotional Shiffrin after the win. “I’m going to probably hug my mom a lot. She’s going to be here for Christmas and my dad comes over the next day. I imagine we’ll just try to calm down and regroup and keep training for Semmering.”

With the win, Shiffrin takes the lead in the World Cup slalom standings.

Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by GEPA

by Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup slalom, Are, Sweden, Dec. 20, 2012

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Eklund, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Holdener, Head/Head/Head

Women’s World Cup slalom, Are, Sweden, Dec. 20, 2012. … It is the 28th of 73 races on the 2012-13 World Cup schedule. … The 15th of 38 on the women’s schedule and the 14th held. … It is the third of nine women’s slaloms scheduled, plus two city event parallel events which will score as slaloms. … It is the 86th World Cup race hosted by Are…. the 25th slalom.

It is the first career World Cup victory for Mikaela Shiffrin. … At 17 years and nine months she becomes the second youngest US Cup race winner behind Kiki Cutter (17 years, one month) in slalom at Oslo, Feb. 25, 1968. … It is Shiffrin’s third career podium result and second of the season having placed third at Levi Nov. 10. … It is her second Cup race at Are, having placed ninth at the site, in slalom, last March 10. … It is her fifth score of the season, all top 10 placings. … It is the 251st US Cup win. … and the ninth of the season. … The last four have each come from different athletes.

Frida Hansdotter matches her career best Cup result, having also placed second in slalom at Ofterschwang March 7, 2009 and at Soldeu-Grandvalira Feb. 11, 2012. … It is her sixth score of the season and third top 10 having gained a pair of fifth place results in GS.

It is the 47th career World Cup podium for Tina Maze. … her tenth in slalom. … It is her sixth career podium finish at Are and second in two days. … It is her ninth podium of the season including five wins, and matches her best finish of the season in slalom.

It is the second best career result for Erin Mielzynski. … and her second top 10 placing. … She won in slalom at Ofterschwang last March 4. … It is her second score of the season. … It is the second best of three career scoring results for Brittany Phelan, all three coming this season in slalom. … It is the first scoring result of the season for Resi Stiegler and the 53rd of her career. … Her last three scores have all come at Are.

Maze maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 919-532 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (11th in race). … Kathrin Zettel (DNF 1st) sits third with 466pts. … Lindsey Vonn (did not race) is fourth with 414 and Julia Mancuso (did not race) seventh with 345. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF 1st) is top Canadian in 18th with 164pts. … Shiffrin takes over the lead of the slalom standings 196-174 over Hoefl-Riesch. … Maze is third with 170pts. … Mielzynski is top Canadian in 12th with 63pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1976-1482 for the US. … Germany is third with 1245. … Canada ninth with 293.

Are (SWE)

FIS World Cup
Ladies’ Slalom
Dec. 20, 2012

Rank     Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time
 1 SHIFFRIN Mikaela  1995  USA   54.03  51.33  1:45.36
 2 HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE   53.88  51.77  1:45.65
 3 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   54.17  51.71  1:45.88
 4 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE   54.12  52.45  1:46.57
 5 MIELZYNSKI Erin  1990  CAN   54.35  52.36  1:46.71
 6 EKLUND Nathalie  1992  SWE   54.99  51.76  1:46.75
 7 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK   55.10  51.80  1:46.90
 8 POUTIAINEN Tanja  1980  FIN   54.44  52.68  1:47.12
 9 KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT   55.09  52.10  1:47.19
 10 HOLDENER Wendy  1993  SUI   55.58  51.70  1:47.28
 11 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   54.61  53.14  1:47.75
 12 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA   55.61  52.19  1:47.80
 13 SWENN-LARSSON Anna  1991  SWE   55.19  52.66  1:47.85
 14 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE   55.36  52.77  1:48.13
 15 AUBERT Sandrine  1982  FRA   56.20  52.04  1:48.24
 16 HOSP Nicole  1983  AUT   56.15  52.49  1:48.64
 17 DUERR Lena  1991  GER   55.77  52.96  1:48.73
 18 BORSSEN Therese  1984  SWE   56.25  52.50  1:48.75
 19 COSTAZZA Chiara  1984  ITA   56.43  52.41  1:48.84
 20 BARTHET Anne-Sophie  1988  FRA   55.70  53.21  1:48.91
 21 LOESETH Nina  1989  NOR   56.55  52.41  1:48.96
 22 PHELAN Brittany  1991  CAN   56.60  52.47  1:49.07
 23 MARMOTTAN Anemone  1988  FRA   56.57  52.70  1:49.27
 24 DAUM Alexandra  1986  AUT   56.28  53.05  1:49.33
 24 NOENS Nastasia  1988  FRA   55.99  53.34  1:49.33
 26 WORLEY Tessa  1989  FRA   55.86  53.98  1:49.84
 27 STIEGLER Resi  1985  USA   56.46  53.50  1:49.96
Did not start 1st run
  SCHILD Marlies  1981  AUT       
Did not qualify for 2nd run
  LEMGART Charlotte Techen  1993  DAN       
  AGERER Lisa Magdalena  1991  ITA       
  GUTIERREZ Mireia  1988  AND       
  CURTONI Elena  1991  ITA       
  BARIOZ Taina  1988  FRA       
  HECTOR Sara  1992  SWE       
  MUKOUGAWA Sakurako  1992  JPN       
  PERSYN Karen  1983  BEL       
  HANGL Celina  1989  SUI       
  WIRTH Barbara  1989  GER       
  SMEDH Veronica  1988  SWE       
  GIUS Nicole  1980  ITA       
  ROUTHIER Eve  1988  CAN       
  TERWIEL Elli  1989  CAN       
  HOSHI Mizue  1985  JPN       
  MOUGEL Laurie  1988  FRA       
  STABER Veronika  1987  GER       
  GISIN Dominique  1985  SUI       
  SCHILD Bernadette  1990  AUT       
  CHMELAR Fanny  1985  GER       
Did not finish 2nd run
  DEPAULI Jessica  1991  AUT       
  THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT       
  GEIGER Christina  1990  GER       
Did not finish 1st run
  DREV Ana  1985  SLO       
  BAUD Adeline  1992  FRA       
  BREM Eva-Maria  1988  AUT       
  NIGG Marina  1984  LIE       
  DUKE Hailey  1985  USA       
  WIKSTROEM Emelie  1992  SWE       
  MOELGG Manuela  1983  ITA       
  GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN       
  ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT       

Article Tags: Alpine, 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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