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Shiffrin 9th, Hurt 18th in Kranjska Gora Giant Slalom

By Mackenzie Moran
January, 6 2024
Mikaela Shiffrin skis in the first run of the Kranjska Gora giant slalom.
Mikaela Shiffrin skis in the first run of the Kranjska Gora giant slalom. (Getty Images)

Wet, grey and rainy are the three keywords to describe Saturday's women's giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, that resulted in a top 10 finish for Mikaela Shiffrin in ninth and a top 20 finish for AJ Hurt in 18th.

Athlete by athlete, the course slowly broke down, making for soft conditions unfavorable to the likes of athletes like Shiffrin, who thrive on hard-pack snow. Overall, the dreary mood of the day felt much like Shiffrin's overall energy as she fought to ski well while shaking off a cold and general fatigue.

"I was surprised because I've raced sick before, and I've been able to win when I've been sick, and I've skied my best still, so I was taken aback today about how much my energy was affected," said Shiffrin. "I haven't felt this low energy in a while. I was just not able to execute the right skiing."

"In the future, we'll see these conditions again, and they weren't bad conditions; they're just different from what I excel in," she added. "There's still learning I have to do in softer conditions; I have to take a different tactic and learn how to better approach that. And at this point in my career, I still have to be able to grow as a skier and handle those things tactically and mentally. So hopefully I start to feel better, learn from today and drastically improve over the next couple of GS races."

Paula Moltzan, who skied into 10th after the first run, felt good about her skiing coming into the afternoon. Unfortunately, she skied out of the course early on in the second run, in a style reminiscent of the infamous ski ballet back in the 80s. Thankfully, Moltzan was able to stay upright and skied away from the course without crash or injury.

Hurt, on the other hand, finished less dramatically, with a solid top 20 finish and a few more giant slalom points to her name. In the past, Hurt has yet to string together multiple World Cup giant slalom finishes in a row. Grey skies and wet conditions remind her of spring skiing at home at Palisades Tahoe, so overall, the weather and salted surface didn't bother her much.

"I feel like we all kind of weren't sure if anything was going to happen this weekend with the weather forecast, and it feels good to finish three World Cup giant slalom races in a row; I don't think I've ever done that," said Hurt. 

Despite her ninth place finish, Shiffrin remains in third in the FIS season giant slalom standings, and holds a healthy lead in the overall standings

The race series in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia continues on Sunday, where the Stifel U.S. Ski Team women will compete in the slalom to wrap up the weekend.

Women's giant slalom

3:30 a.m. EST - Women's slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, run 1 -
6:30 a.m. EST - Women's slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, run 2 -