Mikaela Shiffrin wins World Cup slalom at Killington for her 71st career victory

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Mikaela Shiffrin competes during a women's World Cup slalom on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, Killington, Vt.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

VAIL — Edwards ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin beat Petra Vlhova of Slovakia on Sunday to win the first women’s World Cup race in North America in two years.

The win puts Shiffrin even with racing legend Ingemar Stenmark at 46 wins in a single discipline.

Shiffrin has won all four previous World Cup slalom races in Killington, Vermont, which returned to World Cup hosting duties in 2021 after last year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic.

While the 26-year-old Shiffrin lives in Edwards, she can consider Killington a hometown race as she lived at the nearby Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.

Shiffrin was passionately cheered on by the Killington crowd as she chased Stenmark’s record while also trying to protect her unbeaten streak there.

While the crowd was loving the history-in-the-making moment, Shiffrin said it was not her focus.

“I won’t say it’s not meaningful, it certainly is, but I’m trying not to focus on those numbers,” Shiffrin told reporters after the event. “The closer I get to these marks, it’s hard not to think about it, and want that. I think any person would want to have those records that are named, but everybody on the mountain today wants to win, and just wanting it is not enough to actually do it … wanting it doesn’t do anything for you to actually do the work or ski well enough to make that happen.”

Wendy Holdener of Switzerland finished third.

Leading the World Cup

It was Shiffrin’s 110th podium in 196 World Cup starts, and her 71st win.

Shiffrin won the season-opening giant slalom in Sölden, Austria, but finished second to Vlhova — her biggest rival — in both slalom races in Levi, Finland, last week.

Vlhova finished .20 seconds ahead of Shiffrin in the first run on Sunday in Killington, but Shiffrin won handily with a 48.26 second run that was by far the fastest on the day. In the slalom discipline of ski racing, two runs are taken, and the win is awarded to the skier with the lowest time when the two runs are added together.

Mikaela Shiffrin competes during a women's World Cup slalom on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, Killington, Vt.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Fifteenth-place Hanna Aronsson Elfman of Sweden, whose first run was 53.02, later notched the second-fastest run of the day with a time of 48.53.

Shiffrin, referencing her top speed on the second run, told reporters, “I don’t know if I can ski faster slalom than that.”

The win pushes Shiffrin ahead of Vlhova in the overall World Cup standings.

“As we get farther into this season, and farther into my career, I think you’ll see that it’s difficult for me to keep that focus,” Shiffrin told reporters after the event. “Some days it’s there, and some days I’m a little bit more caught up in the emotion of it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report