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Vail’s Lindsey Vonn and EagleVail’s Mikaela Shiffrin will face off for the first time this season in Cortina, Italy, next weekend after the International Ski Federation cancelled a downhill and super-G this weekend in St. Anton, Austria, due to excessive snowfall.
Vonn was scheduled to make her season debut in St. Anton after missing the first two-plus months of the season due a knee injury sustained during a training run at Copper Mountain in the fall. Shiffrin was sitting out the St. Anton races to rest after a brutal stretch of competition.
The St. Anton downhill originally scheduled for today (Saturday) will be made up in Cortina on Friday, Jan. 18, but there’s no word yet on rescheduling Sunday’s St. Anton super-G.
Shiffrin leads the World Cup super-G standings after two wins in the discipline so far this season, including at Vonn’s favorite venue in Lake Louise Canada, where the Vail-based racer has picked up 18 of her women’s record 82 World Cup wins. Shiffrin has won twice there.
After declaring she would retire at the end of this season, Vonn, 34, now plans to return next season to at least compete at Lake Louise and continue to pursue the all-time World Cup record of 86 victories held by the great Swedish racer Ingemar Stenmark.
Vonn is also quite comfortable in Cortina, where she’s won an even dozen times – six each in downhill and super-G. Last season Vonn very nearly won again at Cortina but made a crucial mistake and wound up second to Italy’s Sofia Goggia.
Shiffrin, a 23-year-old slalom standout, was third in that race last January, so clearly also has some level of comfort on the speed course in Cortina. Shiffrin is coming off a rare second-place finish to Slovakia’s Petro Vlhova earlier in the week that denied the EagleVail racer a record-tying eighth-straight slalom victory. Still, the two-time overall champion has 10 wins this season.
Vonn, meanwhile, will have to wait another week for her season debut. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the four-time overall champ.
“This is a positive, enabling her to have an extra week of training before she debuts at Cortina …,” according to a press release from the U.S. Ski Team.