ASPEN, Colo. – Mikaela Shiffrin made it two-for-two today, winning her second slalom this winter and fifth in a row stretching back to last season. Her winning margin of 2.65 seconds over Swede Frida Hansdotter in second and the Czech Republic’s Sarka Strachova in third proved that yesterday’s record-breaking 3.07 second victory was no fluke.
This streak makes Shiffrin the first racer since Marlies Schild to win five slaloms in a row, an accomplishment the Austrian achieved during the 2011-2012 season. However, Shiffrin will have to win the next seven slaloms in order to eclipse Swiss legend Vreni Schneider’s all-time record of 12 sequential slalom wins stretching from 1988-1990.
With the way things have been going for Shiffrin lately, that record may not stand much longer.
“I just tried to kind of do a replay of yesterday,” Shiffrin said of her performance. “I’m like, ‘Forget that yesterday happened, just do the same exact thing.’ It was actually funny, a lot of the day today felt like some of the exact same stuff happened, and I just did the same things and it worked, so that was good.”
The margins of victory over the last two days have been nothing short of spectacular, but Shiffrin feels that she has yet to see the full potential of her competitors. “Sometimes I’m surprised at the times, but I think that’s how I’m skiing. I think that probably the other girls, maybe there were some things that were tricky for them these past two days. So I think actually their level is probably higher than what they showed. It’s a little bit scary, actually, because there’s a little target painted on my back now. Nobody likes to get beat by three seconds, and I would hate to be in that position.”
After being asked whether she demonstrated her best skiing this weekend, Shiffrin’s response may strike fear into the hearts of those hoping to steal a slalom victory of their own this season. “It takes me like eight runs to get into it (in training), so I don’t know if you’ll ever see my very best skiing in a race.”
Hansdotter leaves Aspen with two podiums of her own, a runner-up performance today added to her third-place result from yesterday.
“It felt good, really good on the top and then on the bottom sort of not, but I take some good parts with me and I know what to do. For me it’s really good and really fun to have a good start of the slalom season, to have podiums here. I’m looking forward to the next race.”
She also explained what makes Aspen such a unique and challenging venue for the women’s World Cup.
“I really like it here – I love the hill. But it’s both challenging with the terrain and also with the snow. It’s different from the top and to the bottom. I would say it’s more dry the closer you come to the finish,” reasoned the Swede.
For Strachova, who has won the slalom twice in Aspen (2008 and 2009), returning to the podium at a venue where she’s had previous success is a welcome start to her 2015-16 campaign.
“This podium is really important for me because it’s at the beginning of the season and it gives me a lot of self-confidence. I’m all the time really quite nervous before the season starts, and this is a great start to the season. And I think that I can now build on these results,” concluded Strachova.
For Canada’s Erin Mielzynski, her fourth-place finish marks the first time she’s found herself inside of the top five since a podium result in Zagreb, Croatia, in January of 2013.
“It feels good, I think it’s been almost three years since I’ve had a top five. It feels really good and I think you learn a lot from your struggles, it’s hard to overcome them sometimes,” said Mielzynski. “You learn from it and you can only get stronger.”
Mielzynski’s lone World Cup victory came in 2012 when she was victorious in the slalom in Ofterschwang, Germany. For her, a return to that form isn’t very far away. “What’s exciting is that I’m not satisfied with the skiing that happened today. I just wasn’t satisfied, it wasn’t the way I’ve been training. There were moments of it that were amazing and really fun, but I have to get that top-to-bottom.”
American Resi Stiegler proved her resilience once more in just her second race returning from injury, finishing in a tie for 10th with France’s Anne-Sophie Barthet. This was Stiegler’s best World Cup finish since a ninth-place result in the same Zagreb slalom as Mielzynski’s podium.
“It was awesome, actually. I was pretty nervous and getting a little bit tired, you know,” said Stiegler. “I just got in the gate and I was like, ‘You are working that ski as hard as you can all the way to the bottom, you don’t have to go crazy, you just have to push harder.’ I’m pretty happy with how it ended, I would have liked to come down with the green light, but I thought, ‘OK, that’s good enough, hopefully we can move up.'”
Looking forward towards the next slalom in Are, Sweden, on Dec. 13, Shiffrin downplayed her dominance this weekend, perhaps taking some pressure off before her anticipated World Cup speed debut this week in Canada. “I think that there are plenty of races left this season and yesterday and today were pretty incredible, definitely for me and for the U.S. Ski Team. But I don’t expect that to happen in the next races. In Are, the Swedish girls crush in Are. It’s a different slope, not so much terrain all over the place so I think there will be a lot less of a time gap.”
The ladies’ tour now moves to Lake Louise, Canada, for downhill and super G races from Dec. 4-6.
By Hank McKee
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Strachova, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4 Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Thalmann, Head/Head/Head
6 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Vlhova, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Loeseth, Volkl/Lange/Marker
9 Chable, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10 Barthet, Head/Head/Head
10 Stiegler, Rosssignol/Lange/Rossignol
- Women’s World Cup slalom, Aspen, USA, Nov. 29, 2015. … It is the fourth of 41 races on the women’s World Cup schedule, the second of 10 scheduled slaloms. … It is the originally scheduled Aspen slalom. … It is the 75th World Cup race hosted by Aspen … the 23rd slalom. … Mikaela Shiffrin won the last slalom (yesterday) by a record margin of 3.07 seconds. … It is the third and final Aspen race this season and the last in the U.S. for the women.
- It is the 17th career World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin, her 16th in slalom and her second of the weekend. … It is the 290th U.S. World Cup win and the 74th in slalom. … The last U.S. win in slalom not gained by Shiffrin came from Lindsey Vonn in 2009.
- It is the 18th career World Cup podium placing for Frida Hansdotter, all of them in slalom. … It is her third podium at Aspen, the last of those coming yesterday.
- It is the 13th career World Cup podium for Sarka Strachova, her third at Aspen and first since 2009.
- It is the third best career World Cup placing for Erin Mielzynski and best since 2013. … It is the 19th career World Cup top 10 for Resi Stiegler. … It is her best placing since 2013. … It is the fourth scoring result of the season for Marie-Michele Gagnon in four chances.
- Shiffrin has command of the World Cup overall standings 280-195 over Hansdotter. … Federica Brignone (first run DNF) is third with 160pts. … Mielzynski leads the Canadian team in 14th with 76pts.
- Sweden leads the women’s Nations Cup 455-429 over Italy. … The US is third with 322pts. … Canada is seventh with 161pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|20||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|1||705287||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK|