Mikaela Shiffrin returns home to Vail after record season on the ski slopes
AVON — Mikaela Shiffrin got back into town over the weekend and was already meeting with fans Sunday.
In what has become an annual celebration at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, Shiffrin was welcomed back by the community in Eagle County where she lives, meeting with fans and answering questions from local children.
Lars Wible, a fourth-grader from Stone Creek Charter School, asked Shiffrin what her favorite element of skiing or ski racing is.
Shiffrin’s answer — that feeling of linking together good turns — resonated with Wible.
“Just skiing in general is such a great sport,” he said.
Shiffrin said it’s important for her to meet with fans when she returns back home from a successful season.
“I remember the few times that I got to see my idols, even if they just skied by me getting on the chairlift,” Shiffrin said on Sunday. “Bode Miller, getting on the chairlift, I freaked out, because he’s my biggest idol, and I never even got to speak to him, so having a chance to meet somebody that you look up to and look them in the eyes and get a picture with them and feel that connection, it was important for me, so I’m hoping that it’s also important for the younger kids the same way that I always felt. And if that’s enough to inspire them to keep shooting for the stars, keep reaching for their dreams, then that’s huge.”
‘BEING YOUR BEST’
Representatives from The Westin said they feel honored to have hosted welcome back celebrations for Shiffrin, who lives in Eagle-Vail, over the past few seasons.
“Every year the event grows,” said Gaye Steinke with The Westin. “We had to move it to the ballroom this year.”
More than 250 people were in attendance Sunday, with adults and children waiting in line to get a picture with Shiffrin.
“People look forward to it every year,” Steinke said. “She just embodies good work ethic, health and wellness and being your best.”
Shiffrin’s season was one for the record books. She became the first ski racer to win 17 World Cup events in a single season and also became the first skier to earn more than $1 million in race winnings alone.
She said her success this season surprised even her.
“If you told me that this season was gonna go that well at the beginning, I would say you’re crazy,” she said.
Upon returning home, she’s been on a whirlwind media tour, appearing on “The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Good Morning America” and other popular national programs.
“I just want to push the limits of the sport,” she told Rob Marciano with “Good Morning America.”
Shiffrin said the media attention has been surprising to see in a non-Olympic year.
“It shows that there’s a lot of interest in ski racing and even more interest this year than I felt last year after the Olympics,” she said. “I’m really proud of that.”