Editor’s note: In the Kranjska Gora slalom on Sunday, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova won and Italy’s Federica Brignone was a DNF, so Mikaela Shiffrin maintains her 113-point overall lead. Vlhova now trails second-place Brignone by just 41 points in the overall and leads Shiffrin by 20 points in the slalom standings after winning the last three slalom races.
Despite missing the last three weekends of World Cup ski-racing action following the death of her father earlier this month, Edwards’ Mikaela Shiffrin will remain in first place in the overall chase at least one more week.
In Saturday’s giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, won by New Zealand’s Alice Robinson, Federica Brignone of Italy – Shiffrin’s nearest pursuer in the overall chase — was eighth, trimming Shiffrin’s lead from 145 to 113 points.
Even if Brignone wins Sunday’s slalom – she’s never even been top 10 in a World Cup slalom– Shiffrin would still hold a 13-point lead heading into World Cup speed events in Crans Montana, Switzerland, Feb. 20-23.
Shiffrin has given no indication of when or if she’ll return to action following the accidental death of her father, Jeff, on Feb. 2.
“Our continued thoughts go out to the Mikaela, [her mother] Eileen and [her brother] Taylor as they deal with the incredible loss of their father and husband Jeff Shiffrin,” Shiffrin’s management team stated recently. “At this point we have no information to share about a return to Europe or a return to competition. We ask that you continue to respect the family’s privacy.”
There have been 25 of 40 World Cup events contested so far on the women’s circuit. Shiffrin was on track to win an American record fourth straight overall title. The only other Americans to win three straight overall World Cup titles are former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn and Phil Mahre. Vonn skipped a season and then went on to win a fourth overall title – a U.S. record.
Sunday will be the first time since Shiffrin first landed on the circuit during the 2013 season that she skips her signature slalom event for a reason other than injury. She’s the all-time slalom record-holder and an Olympic gold medalist in the discipline.
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova was second in the GS on Saturday, closing in a little closer on Shiffrin’s overall lead.
Vlhova is in third position overall with 971 points to 1,112 for Brignone and 1,225 for Shiffrin. Vlhova will be a heavy favorite to pick up the 100 points by winning Sunday’s slalom in Kranjska Gora.
Shiffrin last tweeted on Feb. 9, thanking the Vail Valley for being so “special and supportive” during her family’s time of mourning. Jeff Shiffrin was an anesthesiologist at Vail Health hospital.