Squaw Valley sweep for Shiffrin
Parkite McJames fails to qualify for second run
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colorado) did it again. A day after winning the giant slalom, Shiffrin won again, this time in slalom at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in front of 12,000 fans on a sunny California day.
“I love the crowd,” Shiffrin said. “They cheered so hard. It’s just awesome that 12,000 people today came to watch. In the U.S., that’s so big, and we loved hearing them.”
Saturday’s victory was Shiffrin’s 25th World Cup slalom win and puts her squarely in the driver’s seat to win her first overall World Cup title next week in Aspen, Colorado.
“It definitely takes some pressure off in Aspen,” said Shiffrin, who now leads Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec by 378 points with four races remaining. “I feel like I can go in and just try to enjoy the races a bit having secured the slalom globe and having such a big lead in the overall. But at the same time, the overall isn’t totally secure yet, and I really want to have a solid performance in front of the home-state crowd there.”
Shiffrin also won her fourth career slalom crystal globe, after Slovenia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova skied out on the first run, becoming the first skier in history to win the World Championships slalom title and the World Cup overall slalom title in the same year for the third time.
But it wasn’t easy. Skiing on a steep, relentless and fast course, Shiffrin finished second to Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener on the first run. In the second run, just two gates in, Shiffrin got twisted on the steep pitch. But she took the next few gates to find her rhythm, and in characteristic Shiffrin style, drilled the bottom third of the course to take the lead by 1.03 from Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic.
Then it was up to Holdener, who skied the top of the course well, but had to gas the bottom to unseat the American. After the third interval, Holdener held a slim 0.12 advantage, but disaster struck with a few gates remaining as she hooked a tip and skied out.
Strachova finished second, followed by Austria’s Bernadette Schild in third. Megan McJames (Park City, Utah) did not qualify for the second run. Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyoming) and Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, Nevada) did not finish the first run.
Up next, the World Cup Finals take place in Aspen, Colorado, March 13-19. Downhill training is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, with the downhill race scheduled for Wednesday.
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