Mikaela Shiffrin blasted through swirling winds for 10th in the Soldeu-Grandvalira slalom (Getty Images/AFP - Javier Soriano)
SOLDEU-GRANDVALIRA, Andorra (Feb. 11) - Relentless gusting winds and blowing snow couldn't slow 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) from jumping from 20th to 10th in the final run at the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup held in Andorra. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) fell victim to the tricky visibilty did not finish the first run, but retained a 458 point advantage in the overall chase as Slovenian Tina Maze finished 11th and Austria's Marlies Schild claimed victory for the sixth time this winter.
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) was 10th for her third World Cup top 10 on what is her rookie season
Gusty winds pushed mostly uphill, but swirled throughout the race blowing snow across the surface creating tricky visibility
Shiffrin, 16, produced the fourth festest second run after finishing 20th in the opening run
Shiffrin recently won the giant slalom National Championships for Lichtenstein while using the race as a training opportunity
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) did not finish the first run, but retained a 458 lead in the World Cup overall standings
Austrian Marlies Schild charged from fifth in the first run to earn her sixth win in seven slalom races this season
It was the first alpine World Cup competition ever held in the small European state
A giant slalom, originally scheduled for Saturday, is scheduled for Sunday with the unpredictable wind still in the forecast
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin Oh my gosh, it was so windy. I trained a little bit yesterday after the giant slalom was canceled and it was really windy yestderday too so I was expecting it, but I wasn't expecting how hard it was blowing. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
The wind was mostly uphill, especially on the first run. I was heading towards the breakover on the first run and I couldn't see where I was going. I couldn't see the ground, I couldn't see my hands and I was like 'I hope I'm going around the right gate right now.'
I'm really excited to test another giant slalom tomorrow because I've really been working hard on my giant slalom and hopefully I'll be able to make a second run. I've been struggling with my giant slalom, but hopefully I can ski in the race like I have been in training.
I learned to never give up today. Michaela Kirchgasser totally beefed her first run, still made the flip and just hammered her second run to jump up as many spots as I did. She was behind me in the first run, but finished ahead of me. I learned the most from her and Marlies Schild, they're so solid and they know it. They're not afraid to go balls-to-the-wall. I can imagine Schild was thinking that she had to win and that was her only option. She was probably thinking, 'I'm going to win this thing and that's just the way it's going to go.'
Lindsey Vonn It was a surprise not to finish, because the hill is perfect, so I am disappointed not to have had a good result. There are a lot of children out, everyone is excited to have the race here. It was fun to ski and the crowd was great.
Tomorrow is important for the giant slalom standings. I'm third right now, so I hope I can make up some points.
Alex Hoedlmoser, women's Head Coach Mikaela was a little bit unlucky in the first run. I was super windy when she went and she really didn't have a chance. The wind was going all directions and she couldn't see the ground.
She [Shiffrin] trains a lot of slalom, so she's confident. She's pretty strong in her mind and she's learning a lot. She's always watching other racers and learning from what they're doing, that's why she's good.
Lindsey skied really well and was a tenth ahead on the first split and just nine-hundredths back on the second, but then got jacked a little bit, rotated and got caught on the outside edge on the next turn and couldn't make the next gate. We just hope that tomorrow the weather dies down and that it's a good race.