ARE, Sweden (Dec. 20) Teenager Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) scored a historic first victory in an Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Thursday, taking a slalom win under the lights in Are. The 17-year-old Shiffrin came back from a .15-second deficit after the first run to ski a flawless second run and post a .29-second win over Sweden's Frida Hansdotter. The win boosted her into the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom lead going into the holiday break.
Shiffrin now leads the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom standings by 22 points over Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch. She is 11th overall.
"I love this hill," Shiffrin said after the race. "It has everything flats and steeps and you can really charge all the way.
"I felt all right (before the race), but I didn't feel one hundred percent. But I know from the past that sometimes that's actually an advantage for me. I felt the stars were aligned. It wasn't two perfect runs, but it was two fast runs. Ahead of the second run, I guess I didn't really feel any pressure. It felt more like something was pushing me forward rather than something pulling me towards the finish line."
Shiffrin (17 years, 9 months, 7 days) became the third youngest American to win an alpine World Cup behind Kiki Cutter (16 years, 7 months, 1 day) and Judy Nagel (17 years, 5 months, 12 days). Diann Roffe was also 17 when she won her first World Cup. Lindsey Vonn was 20 at the time of her first World Cup victory.
"My only focus is just to ski my best every day. I'll be happy with a World Championship medal or a 15th place, as long as I'm skiing my best," Shiffrin said.
"My mom is my biggest help. She keeps me focused and grounded. I'm sure she'll talk to me in the next couple of days to make sure my head doesn't get too big. Right now I want to hug her a lot. She'll be here for Christmas with my dad. Right now I just need to calm down and regroup.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.) was 27th for her first points since returning from injury.
Universal Sports TV will re-air the Are slalom at 6 p.m. MST Thursday.
Following the holiday break, the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup travels to Semmering, Austria, just outside Vienna, for a giant slalom and slalom Dec. 28-29.