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Shiffrin snags second slalom win of the season in tough Killington conditions

November 25, 2018, 3:13 pm

EagleVail’s Mikaela Shiffrin picked up her second slalom win of the season on Sunday, battling through tough weather conditions and poor visibility to pad her overall World Cup lead.

Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin

Racing in front of a fired-up home-snow crowd of 15,000 at Killington, Vermont, Shiffrin turned in the fasted first-run time and then held off her hard-charging rival Petra Vlhova of Slovakia in the second run. Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter finished third.

“You guys, I could hear you from the start. That was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever experienced, so thank you,” Shiffrin said to the huge crowd, according to the International Ski Federation website.

Sixteen racers failed to finish the first run due to misty conditions and tricky visibility, but Shiffrin toughed it out for a first-run lead of .29 seconds over Austria’s Bernadette Schild, who wound up off the podium in fourth after a disappointing second run.

That was the same position Shiffrin finished in Saturday’s giant slalom at Killington, where she was just too far back in sixth place after the first run.

Still, Shiffrin has a podium (top 3) in GS this season and now two slalom wins heading into next weekend’s speed action at Lake Louise, Canada — site of her only career downhill victory.

Sunday’s win was the 45th of Shiffrin’s career — good for fifth on the all-time victory list. The defending two-time overall World Cup champion is now just one win from tying retired Austrian great Renate Goetschl for fourth on the all-time list topped by Vail’s Lindsey Vonn with 82.

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

Shiffrin Wows Crowd With Third-Straight Killington Slalom Win

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) skied away with her 45th World Cup victory Sunday, but the fans at Vermont’s Killington Resort were the real winners this weekend. More than 15,000 screaming fans braved mist, rain, and fog to cheer not only the best ski racer in the world to victory, but for the first time in years, three Americans who qualified for the second run.

“I could hear them from the start. It was deafening,” said Shiffrin, who won her second consecutive World Cup slalom of the season, and her third-straight Killington Cup slalom victory ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vhlova in second and Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter in third. “The crowd really carried me down the hill and it’s just amazing to race here in front of everybody. The atmosphere is just so incredible and it’s really, really a special race.”

Shiffrin skied to a 0.29 second first-run lead over Austria’s Bernadette Schild, and more than a half-second ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova on an “interesting” first run course set, which challenged a number of racers, in addition to the fog rolling in and out.

“I knew it was going to be a fight because of the tough conditions today, it was pretty sloppy snow, but I figured, ‘well, everybody has to fight, and if I fight harder, we’ll see what happens,’” Shiffrin said. “There were a couple points on the course where I wasn’t actually sure if I was still on the course, but I kept my skis moving and then I was like: ‘I’m in the finish!’ It worked!”

“I was really just hanging on at the end there,” said Nina O’Brien (Denver, Colo.), who made her World Cup debut at Killington in 2016 and finally in her 14th World Cup start, qualified for the second run after coming out of the 48th start position to finish 30th in the first run. “It feels so good to finally make it in there and be a part of the second run. I’ve had a lot of tries, and close calls, and a few not as close… but it’s really a breakthrough today.”

In addition to O’Brien, who finished 23rd, Paula Moltzan (Burlington, Vt.) wowed the home-state crowd with a career-best World Cup finish in 17th.

“It’s super unexpected,” said Moltzan, who was joined at the race by some of her current and former University of Vermont teammates. “It’s typical to have such a great hometown crowd, I’m a little sad that my parents aren’t here, but I’ve got a lot of other people that love me and it is an incredible atmosphere out here.”

Sunday’s race was the first time in years that three Americans have qualified for the second run in slalom, and all scoring World Cup points. Both Shiffrin and O’Brien agreed that it is the start of something special.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a really strong showing and Nina… I watched her first run today and I was like ‘that’s the kind of fight I’m going to have to have in the second run.’ It was so awesome,” Shiffrin said. “We’ve been training together and I’ve seen these flashes of absolutely brilliant skiing and I saw some of that today.

“We have some really good strong racers, and it’s really cool to have this kind of showing of Americans in the second run and on the final board,” Shiffrin added.

Up next, the women’s World Cup moves on to Lake Louise for a pair of downhills and a super-G. Shiffrin scored her first career World Cup downhill win at Lake Louise last season and plans to compete in all three events next week.

Women’s slalom

*Preliminary schedule, all time EST
Friday, Nov. 30

12:30 p.m. – World Cup men’s Super-G, Beaver Creek, Colo. – NBCSN
2:00 p.m. – World Cup women’s downhill, Lake Louise, CAN – NBCSN

Saturday, Dec. 1
1:00 p.m. – World Cup men’s downhill, Beaver Creek, Colo. – NBCSN
2:00 p.m. – World Cup women’s downhill, Lake Louise, CAN – NBCSN
5:00 p.m. – World Cup men’s downhill recap, Beaver Creek, Colo. – NBC

Sunday, Dec. 2
1:00 p.m. – World Cup women’s super-G, Lake Louise, CAN – The Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. – World Cup men’s giant slalom, run 2, Beaver Creek, Colo. – NBCSN
5:30 p.m. – World Cup women’s super-G recap, Lake Louise, CAN – NBCSN
5:30 p.m. – World Cup men’s giant slalom recap, Beaver Creek, Colo. – NBC



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