Shiffrin Dominates Xfinity Killington Cup Slalom
KILLINGTON, Vt. (Nov. 26, 2017) – In front of 16,000 fans, her 96-year-old Nana and her best friend, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Co.) skied with dominating precision, powered by a thunderous roar from the crowd, to win her first FIS Ski World Cup slalom of the season on a steep, windy, icy track at the Xfinity Killington Cup at Vermont's Killington Resort.
“My Nana and my best friend are here, and those are two people that I rarely see, and they were able to come and watch me race here last year and this year, and these are just the moments that are above the Olympics, above the World Championships, above anything else,” Shiffrin said. “This day, in and of itself, will make this season successful for me.”
Shiffrin opened up a 0.89-second advantage in the first run and then blew the doors off the competition in the second to win by 1.64 seconds over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova - winner of the season-opening slalom in Levi, Finland earlier this month. Austria’s Bernadette Schild finished third.
With a cold north wind blowing, a number of athletes struggled in the second run with visibility and the slick, icy course. Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener skied to second in the first run, but then blew out early on in the second run, hiked, blew out again and DNFed. Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter also struggled, dropping from fourth in the first run to fifth in the second. That left the door open for Vlhova, who only managed fifth in the first run, to remain in the leader’s hot seat after a stellar second run, and put the pressure on Shiffrin.
“I saw her in the first gates before her mistake, and she wants it. She is skiing well,” Shiffrin said of Holdener. “Petra had a great second run, so there are quite a few girls who want it just as much as I do and the difference comes with the skiing, comes with the discipline, and that’s where I’m going to come out on top. Right now, I’m just focusing on my skiing, because if I focus on winning, it’s too stressful.”
With the season’s opening tech events in the rearview mirror, it’s time for Shiffrin to now focus on the upcoming speed events at Lake Louise, Alberta.
“I’m building momentum even more so now in GS and slalom. I’m really excited for the first speed races in Lake Louise,” she added. “Once you get the ball rolling, it’s usually a bit easier to keep it rolling, but anything can happen. So now I’m just trying to focus on my skiing and having fun with it.”
Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) finished 21st. Katie Hensien (Redman, Wash.) made her World Cup debut at Killington, but did not finish the first run. With her victory, Shiffrin extended her overall World Cup lead to 84 points over Vlhova. Shiffrin and Vlhova are also tied for the overall World Cup slalom lead with 180 points each.
Up next, the ladies FIS Ski World Cup moves to Lake Louise with a pair of downhill races and a super G, Dec. 1-3.
Ganong Top American in Lake Louise Super G
The first super G of the season for the men’s FIS Ski World Cup took place at Lake Louise, Alberta Sunday as Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud took the victory. Austrians Max Franz and Hannes Reichelt finished second and third respectively.
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.) was the top American in 16th, as Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, NY) was 20th and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) 21st. The men’s World Cup moves to Beaver Creek for the Birds of Prey Dec. 1-3 with a super G, downhill and giant slalom.