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Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards is now the all-time recorder-holder for the most alpine ski racing victories in the history of the sport, surpassing retired Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark with her 87th career win on Saturday.
Shiffrin’s victory came in the slalom, her best event, and marked her 13th win of the season so far. With only the World Cup Finals left on this season’s schedule, Shiffrin has wrapped up the season giant slalom, slalom and overall titles — her American record fifth overall crystal globe.
“Pretty hard to comprehend,” Shiffrin said, according to the Associated Press. She tied Stenmark’s record on his home country’s snow on Friday, winning a GS, and now owns the mark outright.
“My brother and sister-in-law are here, and I didn’t know they were coming. That makes this so special,” Shiffrin added.
Shiffrin grew up in EagleVail and now lives in Edwards. Street signs in Avon bear her name, as does a park in EagleVail. With her all-time World Cup record only likely to climb at the age of 27, it seems likely more things in Eagle County may see the Shiffrin name.
Stenmark, 66, told reporters he expects her to surpass 100 wins before she’s done.
Shiffrin earlier this season took over the women’s all-time mark, passing former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn’s mark of 82 career wins.
“Congrats!! Dominating,” Vonn tweeted on Friday. Vonn has a run on Vail Mountain named for her, Lindsey’s. Could Shiffrin soon see a similar honor at either Vail or Beaver Creek, where in 2015 she won a world championship gold medal in slalom?
Saturday was Shiffrin’s sixth slalom win of the season and the 53rd of her career — a record for any skier in any discipline. She won the first run and was fifth-fastest in the second to beat Swiss skier Wendy Holdener by nearly a full second — a lifetime in ski racing.
“The best feeling is to ski on the second run when, of course you want to win, you have a lead, so you have to be sort of be smart, but also, I just wanted to be fast too and ski the second run like its own race,” Shiffrin told the AP. “I did exactly that, and that is amazing.”
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team:
Exactly 12 years after she began racing on the World Cup, Mikaela Shiffrin of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team won her 87th World Cup in the Åre, Sweden slalom on March 11, 2023, breaking the tie of 86 wins set by Ingemar Stenmark in 1989 to become the winningest alpine skier in history.
For the second day in a row, Shiffrin dominated the Swedish course to take her second win in two days and officially break the record. She held the lead in the first run by .69 seconds and skied an aggressive and smart run second run to win the race by .94 seconds. As she crossed the finish line, she took a moment to let her historic win soak in, and then she saw her brother Taylor and sister-in-law Kristi, who surprised Shiffrin by flying in from the U.S. to celebrate with her, and swept her up in a hug.
“I can’t put a name with the numbers,” said Shiffrin. “I don’t know how to define that. When you have these special moments like being on the podium with Paula Moltzan in Semmering, seeing my brother and Kristi and my mom in the finish today—that’s what makes it memorable. I’m so proud of the skiing I did both runs today and so proud of the team this whole season. Every step of the way, being strong and focused and positive and having the right goals and helping me manage my own focus and distractions. It’s been incredible. It’s been incredible to be part of that. I’m just really thankful.”
Just off the podium was Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team teammate Moltzan in fourth place, who recently had hand surgery after breaking it during the World Championships. But she ignored the three plates and 25 screws in her hand, and attacked the slalom course to secure a banner finish.
Shiffrin won her first World Cup at the same venue in Åre, Sweden in 2012 and has been on a streak since then, winning 87 Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cups throughout her 12 years on the circuit. Her dominance has been unmatched, winning 35% of the races she starts and podiuming in nearly 60%. The win places her securely in the history books and makes her the greatest of all time in the sport of alpine ski racing.
“It’s been hard to describe,” said Shiffrin of her record. “It’s not over yet, which is even more ridiculous! I still had the same feeling at the start of this run that I have every race—I shouldn’t feel pressure, but somehow I feel something in my heartbeat. That’s the anticipation we want to feel as ski racers and I have it—it’s stronger than ever. I’m just getting started.”
Shiffrin tied the World Cup wins record on March 10 in Are, Sweden with 86 wins, which had been held by Sweden’s Stenmark for 34 years. Shiffrin also tied and then broke Lindsey Vonn’s women’s record of 82 wins in January in Kronplatz, Italy. She has been unstoppable this season, winning 13 races so far, securing three World Championship medals in slalom, giant slalom and super-G and clinching the slalom, giant slalom and overall crystal globe for the 2022-23 season.
Shiffrin’s 87th win is just 12 years after she started her first race on the World Cup in 2011 when she was only 15. She won her first World Cup nine months later in December 2012, becoming the second-youngest American to win an alpine World Cup. Since then, she has won three Olympic medals—including two golds—and 14 World Championship medals—the record for World Championships medals in the modern era—and has 15 crystal globes, including the three that she will receive at World Cup Finals.
Out of her 87 wins, 53 of them are slalom wins, the most of any skier, man or woman, in one discipline. But while she started off as a slalom specialist, she quickly expanded her repertoire to win a race in each of the World Cup’s six disciplines and became the first skier in history to do so: slalom (53), giant slalom (20), super-G (5), downhill (3), combined (1) and parallel (5). She holds the record for the most slalom wins and is tied for a women’s record for the most giant slalom World Cup victories.
“It is truly magnificent to be able to watch Mikaela Shiffrin write her name into history,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President & CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “She is the definition of a champion, both inside and out, and the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team couldn’t be happier to celebrate this massive achievement with her. We can’t wait to watch Mikaela win even more in the future!”
Shiffrin and members of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team who have finished in the top 25 of a discipline will now head to World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra next to wrap up the season.