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Shiffrin, Vonn dueling in super-G Sunday with overall title chase in mind

Vonn going for third Lake Louise sweep after winning downhill on Saturday

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December 5, 2015, 5:39 pm
Mikaela wins slalom gold

Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin goes for gold on the World Championships slalom course in Beaver Creek in February. She’ll be competing in her first World Cup speed event, a super-G in Lake Louise, on Sunday (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard).

Sunday at Lake Louise, Vail’s Lindsey Vonn will be going for her 18th World Cup win at the venue in Alberta, Canada, and her women’s overall record 70th career World Cup win. That’s because on Saturday she won for the 17th time on what’s been dubbed the “Lake Lindsey” track, claiming her second straight downhill of the weekend by more than a second over second-place finisher Fabienne Suter of Switzerland.

Vonn, 31, will be going for her third Lake Louise sweep on Sunday, having won both downhills and the super-G in both 2011 and 2012. Eighteen wins at one venue is by far a record on the circuit and would match the number of career wins for the American woman who’s won the second-most career World Cup races, Tamara McKinney.

Closing in quickly on that same number is Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin, who has 17 career wins at the age of 20 (16 in slalom and one in giant slalom) and will be going for 18 Sunday in her first ever World Cup speed event, the super-G.

At a media event earlier this week at Avon’s Westin Hotel hosted by her major sponsor, Barilla Pasta, Shiffrin said she’s adding super-G and combined (one run or slalom combined with one speed event) in order to compete for the overall World Cup title for the first time.

“After [last] weekend [in Aspen, where Shiffrin won two slalom races], I’d say it is fairly realistic,” Shiffrin said of winning the overall title. She leads Switzerland’s Lara Gut 280 points to 222. Vonn is now third with 200 points after picking up 100 points each for winning two consecutive downhills.

“It’s a reasonable goal to shoot to win the overall,” Shiffrin added. “If I can keep my slalom going the way it is, and in GS if I can find the finish but keep the same amount of courage in those races, and then if I can get some points in the super-G, that will definitely help along the way. The combined events favor the slalom skiers.”

Only two American women have ever won the overall World Cup title — Vonn three times and McKinney once. Asked if a more technical super-G than Lake Louise would better suit her style, Shiffrin said she’s been training for the event on all types of terrain.

“Since I’m a technical skier and have been for the past few years, if I was to race my first super-G ever and it was my first day on super-G skis, I would choose a more technical hill over Lake Louise, which is higher speed and a glider course,” Shiffrin said. “But I’ve had a little bit of time on the skis now. It’s a little bit trickier for me to keep my skis pointed down the hill versus turning too much. That’ll be something I have to keep in mind going into this race.”

There are four combined races this season, two with a run of super-G and slalom and two with a run of downhill and slalom.

“The plan is to do those races and quite a few of the super-G’s starting with Lake Louise,” Shiffrin said. “I’m kind of anxious to get my first World Cup super-G out of the way.”

The Shiffrin, Vonn overall title chase could be one of the best story lines on the women’s World Cup circuit in years, especially with both athletes calling the Vail Valley home.

 

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

2 Responses to Shiffrin, Vonn dueling in super-G Sunday with overall title chase in mind

  1. A.M.C. Reply

    December 6, 2015 at 10:03 am

    odds are Mikaela will not win this, it being her first SG. anybody that knows anything about ski racing will tell you that. A top 10 finish would be a great result for her . Given time she will win in SG !

  2. David O. Williams Reply

    December 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Agreed. I think she’s not even expecting top 10, just hoping to crack into the points.

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