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Shiffrin slalom streak rolls on as Eagle-Vail racer focuses on tech events

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December 12, 2016, 2:43 pm
mikaela shiffrin wins again

Shiffrin slays second run to take the win. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Christophe Pallot)

If Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin stays healthy this season and keeps on winning World Cup slalom races, she’ll end the season in Aspen very close to cracking into the top 10 for all-time victories on the women’s circuit — at the incredibly young age of 22.

But would she claim the overall World Cup title? That depends a lot on how defending overall champion Lara Gut of Switzerland does in the giant slalom and speed events of super-G and downhill this season.

Over the weekend, Gut won a GS on Saturday (Shiffrin was sixth), and then Shiffrin won yet another slalom on Sunday (Gut was 28th) to bolster her lead over Gut to more than 100 points.

The win for Shiffrin was the 23rd of her career (19th all time) and her sixth straight in slalom since returning from injury last season. Overall, Shiffrin has won 11 straight World Cup slalom races that she’s competed in.

There are six more slaloms this season, including two on U.S. snow (where she never seems to lose), and there are six more GS races, where Shiffrin is competitive but by no means dominant. She’s won just one GS race in her career, compared to 22 slalom races.

Now comes the announcement that Shiffrin will focus primarily on those two tech disciplines, skipping the speed event of super-G and downhill this coming weekend in Val d’Isere, France.

Shiffrin recently earned points in the downhill at Lake Louise, which could prove critical down the stretch in fending off Gut, who dominates in GS and is highly competitive in speed events. Her weakest event is Shiffrin’s best — slalom.

“It’s a heavy program,” Shiffrin said over the weekend. “I wanted to go to Lake Louise because speed is really fun and I wanted to see what it felt like to do that. All the overall winners in the past years all did the full speed circuit and the full tech circuit, or something close. It’s tiring and I always knew that, but I never knew how to expect it. It’s a lot!

“I have a lot of respect for the girls that can do all that. Now they’re going to Val d’Isere as well and I have to say stop. I don’t think I can compete well in slalom and GS if I keep going with so little training and fatigue, as well.”

Instead, Shiffrin will skip the speed events in Val d’Isere and focus on the next GS in Courchevel, France.

Here’s the full press release on Shiffrin’s latest win from the U.S. Ski Team:

SESTRIERE, Italy (Dec. 11, 2016) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) crushed the second run to take her sixth-straight slalom win at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Sestriere by over a second.

After winning the first run by only .12, Shiffrin stated that she was feeling stiff and was a little bummed with her skiing. So she took that frustration and channeled it into her second run, building almost a full second onto her first run time to take the win by 1.09 seconds over Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland finished third.

“I was definitely stiff (first run) and felt much better about the second run,” said Shiffrin. “I kept saying skiing down the course, ‘It’s not enough. It’s not enough.’ You have to want more and more speed and it ended up working. I’m happy to have another run like that this year.”

Shiffrin, who has been racing speed this season, said she will not go to Val d’Isere this week for the alpine combined, downhill and super G, and instead will focus on the Courcheval giant slalom as her last race before the holidays. “All the overall winners in the past years all did the full speed circuit and the full tech circuit, or something close,” said Shiffrin. “It’s a lot! I have a lot of respect for the girls that can do all that. Now they’re going to Val d’Isere as well and I have to say stop. I don’t think I can compete well in slalom and GS if I keep going with so little training and fatigue, as well.”

Behind Shiffrin, Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) broke into the top 15 for the first time this season, taking 15th overall.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mikaela Shiffrin won the Sestriere slalom – her sixth Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom win in a row since her injury and her third this season.
  • Shiffrin’s coach Mike Day set the second run of the slalom.
  • Resi Stiegler was 15th.
  • Lila Lapanja (Alpine Village, NV) and Megan McJames (Park City, UT) did not qualify for second run.
  • Road to Aspen: Shiffrin’s win kept her in first for the overall World Cup title, extending her lead over Lara Gut to over 100 points. Shiffrin also holds the lead in slalom.
  • Watch the broadcast of the slalom on Universal HD at 3:00 p.m. EST.
  • Next, the women’s speed team heads to Val d’Isere, while the tech team will go to Courchevel, France for a giant slalom.

QUOTES

Mikaela Shiffrin
After first run
Not perfect, that’s for sure. I was pretty stiff; I was a little bummed with my skiing. But I have another run, so we’ll see. I just tried to get as much rest as I could. I had a good night of sleep, so that was nice. This morning I’ve been trying to wake up my legs a little bit

After second run
Going from Killington to Lake Louise to here, there’s been a lot going on. It’s tough and part of the deal and it takes a really mature athlete to handle all that.

I was definitely stiff (first run) and felt much better about the second run. I kept saying skiing down the course, ‘It’s not enough. It’s not enough.’ You have to want more and more speed and it ended up working. But it’s the mindset I had last year: It’s never enough. I just wanted to go faster. I’m happy to have another run like that this year. Killington was the toughest slalom because of being in front of my home and having the expectations that I should win. That was tough. Every race in tough in its own way.

Today I was tight and was racing to win. Thinking that the pace I have was enough. Obviously, it was barely enough—the other girls were really close. I know they want to win races as well.

On not racing in Val d’Isere
It’s a heavy program. I wanted to go to Lake Louise because speed is really fun and I wanted to see what it felt like to do that. All the overall winners in the past years all did the full speed circuit and the full tech circuit, or something close. It’s tiring and I always knew that, but I never knew how to expect it. It’s a lot! I have a lot of respect for the girls that can do all that. Now they’re going to Val d’Isere as well and I have to say stop. I don’t think I can compete well in slalom and GS if I keep going with so little training and fatigue, as well.

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