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Shiffrin claims slalom globe with scrappy Squaw Valley win

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March 11, 2017, 5:25 pm
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Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom victory in Squaw Valley, California (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin swept at Squaw Valley on Saturday, winning a World Cup slalom after claiming the giant slalom on Friday. The 21-year-old also wrapped up her fourth World Cup slalom title in the last five years.

Even though she’s focused on racing in the moment, the records just keep falling for Shiffrin, who turns 22 on Monday. She tied retired Swiss great Erika Hess for 9th on the career victory list with 31.

Shiffrin tied four other racers, including Vonn and Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell, for the third most wins in a single season with 11. One more and she’ll tie Vonn for the second most wins in a season at 12. The all-time record is 14 wins in one season by Swiss legend Vreni Scheider.

Shiffrin has a shot at surpassing Vonn and setting the single-season American record at Aspen, where she’ll race in the slalom and GS at the World Cup Finals. Shiffrin has won the last four slalom races on U.S. snow, including two regular-season World Cup slaloms at Aspen last season.

And Shiffrin has built a seemingly insurmountable 378-point lead in the overall chase heading into the final races at Aspen.

Here’s a press release from the U.S. Ski Team on Shiffrin’s slalom win Saturday:

SQUAW VALLEY, CA – (March 11, 2017) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) did it again! A day after winning the giant slalom, Shiffrin won again, this time in slalom at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in front of 12,000 fans on a sunny California day.

“I love the crowd,” Shiffrin said. “They cheered so hard! It’s just awesome that 12,000 people today came to watch. In the U.S., that’s so big, and we loved hearing them!”

Saturday’s victory was Shiffrin’s 25th World Cup slalom win and puts her squarely in the driver’s seat to win her first overall World Cup title next week in Aspen, Colorado.

“It definitely takes some pressure off in Aspen,” said Shiffrin, who now leads Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec by 378 points with four races remaining. “I feel like I can go in and just try to enjoy the races a bit having secured the slalom globe and having such a big lead in the overall. But at the same time, the overall isn’t totally secure yet, and I really want to have a solid performance in front of the home-state crowd there.”

Shiffrin also won her fourth career slalom crystal globe, after Slovenia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova skied out on the first run, becoming the first skier in history to win the World Championships slalom title and the World Cup overall slalom title in the same year for the third time.

But it wasn’t easy. Skiing on a steep, relentless and fast course, Shiffrin finished second to Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener on the first run. In the second run, just two gates in, Shiffrin got twisted on the steep pitch. But she took the next few gates to find her rhythm, and in characteristic Shiffrin style, drilled the bottom third of the course to take the lead by 1.03 from Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic.

Now it was up to Holdener, who skied the top of the course well, but had to gas the bottom to unseat the American. After the third interval, Holdener held a slim 0.12 advantage, but disaster struck with a few gates remaining as she hooked a tip and skied out.

Strachova finished second, followed by Austria’s Bernadette Schild in third. Megan McJames (Park City, UT) did not qualify for the second run. Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) and Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV) did not finish the first run.

Up next, the World Cup Finals take place in Aspen, Colorado, March 13-19. Downhill training is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, with the downhill race scheduled for Wednesday.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mikaela Shiffrin won her 31st career Audi FIS Ski World Cup race Saturday, winning the slalom at Squaw Valley.
  • Shiffrin won her fourth slalom crystal globe after Slovenia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova skied out on the first run.
  • Shiffrin also became the first skier in history to win the World Championships slalom title and the World Cup overall slalom title in the same year.
  • An estimated crowd of 12,000 was on hand to watch Saturday’s slalom.
  • Road to Aspen: Shiffrin leads the overall World Cup standings with 1,523 points. Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec is second with 1,145, followed by Italy’s Sofia Goggia with 1,057. Shiffrin clinched her fourth slalom crystal globe with 760 points. Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovenia is second with 515 points with one slalom race remaining next week at the World Cup Finals.

QUOTES
Mikaela Shiffrin
It definitely takes some pressure off in Aspen. I feel like I can go in and just try to enjoy the races a bit having secured the slalom globe and having such a big lead in the overall. But at the same time, the overall isn’t totally secure yet, and I really want to have a solid performance in front of the home-state crowd there.

Today was amazing! It’s incredible to have two wins here in Squaw Valley. I’m proud of the fight I put into the race. I think can ski a little bit better, but I definitely fought as hard as I could.

I love the crowd. They cheered so hard! It’s just awesome that 12,00 people today came to watch. In the U.S., that’s so big, and we loved hearing them!

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