Shiffrin shines in front of huge Killington crowd
Colorado native grabs 21st Audi FIS Ski World Cup victory
In front of a huge hometown crowd and her entire family, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colorado) shone under pressure to win the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom at Vermont’s Killington Mountain. Shiffrin’s win capped off a successful weekend in the east coast that will impact ski racing for decades to come.
Coming in as the odds-on favorite, Shiffrin had a couple of small bobbles in her second run, but put aside all the pre-race pressure to extend her first-run lead and win by .73 seconds ahead of Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia to take her 21st World Cup win. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was third.
“It’s been incredible,” Shiffrin said. “I knew it was going to be a big one, and special, and I was so excited. It’s the east coast, I know this place, I know these people love to watch ski racing. I’m so proud that they all came out and really cheered that loud!”
But Shiffrin admitted that she was nervous and feeling down prior to the race. “I put a lot of pressure on myself,” she said. “I went through a moment where I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t do this. I was so worked up and nervous and worried about the wrong things.”
However, Shiffrin’s day ended on a high note on Killington’s Superstar Trail, as she came through the finish and uncharacteristically celebrated when she saw the number 1 next to her name. Her whole family was there to watch, while she was particularly excited about skiing in front of her grandmother for the first time ever. “The fact that my nana was able to watch this race is amazing,” said Shiffrin. “I can’t put that into words. The proudest I’ve ever been is winning this race in front of my nana.”
Sunday’s crowd was equal to Saturday’s 16,000 fans, bringing the total to more than 30,000 fans in total to attend the Killington World Cup—the first World Cup in the east coast in 25 years. Every kid was smiling, as they waved flags and asked for autographs from their favorite skiers.
“It was incredible,” Shiffrin said. “Today you could peak over the break in the hill and see everybody. I could hear them chanting USA before my run. In these kinds of races, the crowd totally carries me down the hill.”
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw was also present at the race. “This event at Killington will have a lasting impact on this sport for a decade or more to come,” said Shaw. “The excitement and the motivation that this will generate for kids in New England in insurmountable and will help grow the profile of alpine skiing in the country.”
Next up, the women head to Lake Louise for a speed series Dec. 2-4.
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