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Shiffrin dominates in Courchevel GS

December 21, 2021, 8:04 am
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the podium in Courchevel, France. (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards won the first of two giant slalom races in Courchevel, France on Tuesday to reclaim the overall World Cup lead.

With her third win of the season and the 72nd of her storied career, Shiffrin now leads Sofia Goggia of Italy 670 to 635 points in the chase for what would be an American record-tying fourth overall World Cup title — a record held by former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn.

Vonn also holds the women’s career victory record with 82, meaning Shiffrin is now just 10 wins behind her on that list.

Speed specialist Goggia did not finish her second run on Tuesday, but Shiffrin’s closest tech rival, Petra Vlhova of Slovakia was fourth.

In other Shiffrin news on Tuesday, here’s an announcement from Outside Interactive:

“Today, Boulder-based Outside Interactive, Inc. announced it has been working with two-time Olympian and World Cup champion, Mikaela Shiffrin, to launch an exclusive docuseries. Filmed across Colorado, the series is exclusive to members of Outside+, Outside’s premium membership. The first two episodes will be available starting Dec. 21.”

And here’s the press release on Tuesday’s race from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team:

The U.S. Alpine Ski Team packed four into the points in Courchevel, France, led by Mikaela Shiffrin, who threw down two stellar giant slalom runs to take her 72nd FIS World Cup win. Nina O’Brien and Paula Moltzan were 15th and 16th, respectively, and AJ Hurt was 28th. 

It was a bright and sunny December day in Courchevel, the home of the upcoming 2023 FIS World Championships, with the World Cup women attacking the long and demanding giant slalom. Sara Hector of Sweden—who Shiffrin has long lauded her skiing—had the fastest second run to land her in second place, .86 seconds behind Shiffrin. Michelle Gisin of Switzerland was third.

Shiffrin was the leader after the first run with a commanding .74 second advantage over the field and she continued to build on it throughout second run. She crushed the top of the exhausting course, and took a little off on the bottom to ski to her 14th giant slalom victory and sixth career win in Courchevel on the Emile Allais Slope—making her tally at Courchevel the highest at any resort. 

“It’s incredible,” said Shiffrin. “It was really quite difficult, to be honest—tiring today! Even after the first run, I wasn’t sure I could do the second run. It’s a big push and for every athlete racing, we had to dig very deep and just fight and be aggressive. I think I did that quite well. I’m certainly happy with the day.”

The win came directly after taking fifth in Val d’Isere super-G—a new stop on the World Cup tour for Shiffrin. “I feel some motivation now and feel a lot more fire after these last weeks,” said Shiffrin. “That was the first time I ever raced in Val d’Isere—years and years of wanting to go there and try it and we finally did it this year. To come here today was a big question in my mind if it was a right decision and if it was going to be too much, so to be able to ski this way today even with fatigue and less energy is very spectacular.”

The race was also one year after Shiffrin’s return to the World Cup podium after her father’s death. When asked about what Courchevel means to her, given the emotional weight of the venue on her mind, she said this year’s race was different than last year’s race. “There was just so much leading up to the victory last year,” she recalled. “It was so different from anything I knew or had experienced before. I feel like I’ve settled into my new self a little bit more at this point.”

Shiffrin’s win bumped her 35 points ahead of Sofia Goggia in the overall standings, who had overtaken Shiffrin after winning twice in Val d’Isere but did not finish second run in Courchevel.  

O’Brien and Moltzan also had excellent days, both putting down blazing second runs to take 15th and 16th place. “I’m just happy to finally put some good turns and link them top to bottom and come down in the green,” said Moltzan, who had the sixth-fastest second run. “I was really happy. As ski racers, you’re always looking for the green light and when you finally get it after not seeing it so much, it’s a good feeling. It’s definitely a really challenging GS course.”

AJ Hurt was 28th at the venue where she scored her first GS points and had her career-best finish in 2020. This was her fourth time scoring points in GS.

Keely Cashman did not qualify for a second run and Katie Hensien did not finish the first run but is OK. 

Following Tuesday’s giant slalom, the American women continue to lead in the nation’s standings. The Americans also currently lead the nation standings in slalom. The depth of this women’s tech team is something this generation of women has never before experienced. 

Notably missing from the race were Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland, Austrian Katharina Liensberger and New Zealand’s Alice Robinson who had all tested positive for COVID-19. 

The women gear up for a second giant slalom on Wednesday before the holiday break, which was added to make up for the canceled GS at Killington Resort, Vt. in November. 

Women’s giant slalom

*All times EST

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom, run 1 – LIVE, Courchevel, FRA, Ski and Snowboard LiveStreaming Peacock
7:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom, run 2 – LIVE, Courchevel, FRA, Ski and Snowboard LiveStreaming Peacock
9:45 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Slalom, run 1 – LIVE, Madonna di Campiglio, ITA, Ski and Snowboard LiveStreaming Peacock
12:45 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Slalom, run 2 – LIVE, Madonna di Campiglio, ITA, Ski and Snowboard LiveStreaming Peacock

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