World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin produced a courageous 1.06 wire-to-wire victory to open the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom season in Levi. Here she is posing with the reindeer she won in Saturday's race. (Getty Images/AFP/Markku Ulander)
LEVI, Finland (Nov. 16) - World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) dominated the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opening slalom with a wire-to-wire victory to notch the fifth World Cup win of her young career. The 18-year-old was the only athlete in the field to post two sub 58-second runs, besting 2010 Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany by a massive 1.06 seconds and reigning World Cup overall champion Tina Maze by 1.61. The women's World Cup tour now rolls to North America for a downhill, super G and giant slalom Thanksgiving Weekend in Beaver Creek, CO - host of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) won the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opening slalom by 1.06 seconds for the fifth World Cup win of her young career.
Shiffrin, 18, was the only athlete to post two sub 58 second runs with the wire-to-wire win despite amazing recoveries in each run.
In addition to prize money and 100 points toward the World Cup overall and slalom standings, Shiffrin was awarded a reindeer by the Levi organizing committee.
In only her third season on the World Cup tour, Shiffrin is already third among American women for slalom wins. Former overall champion Tamara McKinney has nine and Kristina Koznick six.
Shiffrin, who was sixth to open the season at the Soelden giant slalom, has now won five of the last eight World Cup slaloms.
Shiffrin's win matches her with Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) as the only other American to have won in Levi. America is now the only nation with multiple victories at the Finnish resort.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) and Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) also started, but among swirling winds did not make the top-30 final. Vonn and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) did not complete in favor of additional training in Colorado.
The women's World Cup tour now moves to Beaver Creek, CO for a downhill, super G and giant slalom Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The events will test the newly completed Raptor course, which will host all women's competition during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin Maybe I was a little bit lucky in the first run, I can't even really remember it. I just wanted to take the second run like its own race and really hammer it. I was in the gate and like, 'No mercy, charge down this course' and I think I did.
There's definitely some relief there…one of my goals is to keep my slalom standings, and it's nice to know I'm not that far off.
That’s the goal, try to ski fast both runs, to ski my skiing both runs from top to bottom. I don’t always like to start first, but if I’m going last in the second run that’s never a bad sign.
I’m a ski racer at heart, so I’m really happy to be back racing, back on snow, back in winter. It was really foreign to me this summer with all the media and everybody so excited abut the Olympics. It’s awesome and it’s a great place to be for sure, but I had no idea what to expect. So it’s nice to have my feet back on the ground, back in a place that I know.
It’s really cool to see a new group of girls coming up that’s like the next generation of girls from everywhere. It’s cool to see where they’re from, what they’re doing, how old they are and it makes me feel good to have a group of younger girls around me. I know if I was in their position it would be awesome to see a young girl winning and would think, ‘If she can do it, why can’t I?’ And that’s my goal here, to inspire younger racers to get there and they did today.
I’m really excited about Beaver Creek. I think we’re racing on the men’s hill and that hill is so much fun. It’s one of my favorite GS’s.