Shiffrin Trusts the Process, Snags Fourth in Courchevel Giant Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin battled through fresh snow and fog in Courchevel, France to finish just off the podium in fourth place in her first giant slalom FIS World Cup of the 2020-21 season.
Marta Bassino of Italy made it two for two, taking her second GS victory of the season after winning the opening giant slalom in Soelden in October. Sara Hector of Sweden was second—her first podium in six years—and podium mainstay Petra Vlhova of Slovakia finished third.
Mikaela sat in third place after first run, but hit a bump and threw her skis sideways on the pitch, which caused her to lose valuable time. But she acknowledged that the line she chose was a risk and the ever-positive skier was still happy about her showing and her future in giant slalom racing this season.
“I felt pretty good. I’m pretty excited,” she said. “My first run, I was more surviving. Some good turns—a good starting point—with a pretty big mistake in the second run. I was trying to go more aggressive, but I knew it would be bumpier with the snow and running later.”
Mikaela was also quick to shine a light on Sara Hector, who she’s long admired as a ski racer and has had a long return to snow after a major injury six years ago in Are—the same weekend Mikaela was injured. “She’s had a really difficult comeback,” said Mikaela. “She’s a fighter and she wants to be fast all the time and I’m always wondering if she would approve of how hard I’m trying because she's always the one who tries the hardest and is willing to put in the most effort into every single turn in order to make speed!”
Overall, Mikaela was excited about the progress she’s making, given her lack of training and over 300 days out of a World Cup giant slalom start gate. She had skipped the Soelden GS in October due to a back injury. “All in all, it was a pretty incredible day and not quite so stressful as Levi,” she said. “I felt like I could do some good skiing and the rest of it is just stuff I still need to pick up on—learn how to find the cleaner line and push through the bumps like the way some of these girls are doing. I know I can do it and it’s just a matter of getting to that point again.”
Nina O’Brien was another shining star for the Americans, snagging 19th place in Courchevel after finishing 15th in the first giant slalom this season. On top of that, Nina was skiing with a brace on her left hand after breaking her thumb in 15 places in a crash in training prior to the World Cup in Lech Zuers, Austria. Her skiing is one to keep an eye on this season as she continues to climb the ranks and score more World Cup points.
Paula Moltzan, Keely Cashman, and AJ Hurt also started for the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team but did not qualify for a second run.
The women get another chance at giant slalom on Sunday in Courchevel with the American women hungry for results.
Women’s giant slalom
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST.
Sunday, Dec. 13
3:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Giant Slalom, run 1 - LIVE, Courchevel, FRA, Streaming Peacock
4:00 a.m. FIS Europa Cup Women’s Slalom, run 1 - LIVE, Ahrntal, Italy, Streaming, U.S. Ski & Snowboard
4:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's Downhill - LIVE, Val d'Isere, FRA, Broadcast Olympic Channel
4:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's Downhill - LIVE, Val d'Isere, FRA, Streaming Peacock
6:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Giant Slalom - LIVE, Courchevel, FRA, Broadcast Olympic Channel
6:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Giant Slalom, run 2 - LIVE, Courchevel, FRA, Streaming Peacock
7:00 a.m. FIS Europa Cup Women’s Slalom, run 2 - LIVE, Ahrntal, Italy, Streaming, U.S. Ski & Snowboard
10:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Giant Slalom - Same Day Delayed Broadcast, Courchevel, FRA, Broadcast NBCSN