Mikaela Shiffrin completes slalom sweep in Aspen
The Aspen Times
Now that’s a double-take.
Mikaela Shiffrin, who won Saturday’s World Cup slalom on Aspen Mountain in record fashion, performed a virtual instant replay Sunday with her second consecutive World Cup victory.
The 20-year-old from Eagle-Vail dominated Sunday’s two runs just like she controlled Saturday’s slalom, exiting Aspen with her 15th and 16th career wins and the overall World Cup lead.
After becoming the first American woman to win a World Cup in Aspen in 34 years, Shiffrin collected a second Aspen victory in winning her sixth consecutive World Cup slalom Sunday afternoon, saluted by a huge ovation from spectators in the packed bleachers.
Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, who was third in Saturday’s slalom, moved up one position and finished second Sunday.
Third place went to Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic, a former winner at the Aspen Winternational World Cup races.
“I think there’s something special about Aspen,” Shiffrin said after winning two races here and nearly winning a third.
After recording the fastest first-run time Sunday, Shiffrin came flying out of the starting gate in the second run and immediately nearly missed a turn.
But that was all part of the plan.
“I thought that it would be better to attack,” Shiffrin said. “I was charging out of the start. I chose to attack and go straight, and I made a bobble. I almost went off course.”
She recovered quickly, maintaining her winning speed.
“It was a little bit rough, but I’d rather take the risk than be slow,” she said.
Shiffrin was not slow, from her first run in Aspen to the last.
“I love racing in Aspen,” she said. “I love the hill for both GS and slalom. I’m really glad to get my first podiums here this year.”
She won Sunday by 2.65 seconds, another huge margin of victory.
Shiffrin won the Saturday slalom by 3.07 seconds, the largest margin in women’s World Cup slalom history.
She took a 1.69-second lead into the second run Sunday afternoon. With light diminishing, she completed the slalom sweep with a second run that mirrored her weekend of slalom skiing — flawless and fast.
Shiffrin also was fastest in the second run with a time of 52.45 seconds, for a composite time of 1:40.18.
Hansdotter was 2.65 seconds back; Strachova was 2.90 back.
“I just tried to … do a replay of (Saturday),” Shiffrin said. “It worked.”
Hansdotter, with two slalom podiums in Aspen, said she is very pleased with the start of the World Cup season.
“For me, it’s really good to have two podiums here,” Hansdotter said, adding that she will review video of Shiffrin’s racing in an effort to catch her.
“For sure, I will watch what she is doing,” Hansdotter said.
The Swedish standout said Shiffrin took advantage of familiar snow in Colorado.
“(Shiffrin) was born and raised on this snow,” Hansdotter said.
Third-place finisher Strachova said Shiffrin is so fast because of her technique, her mental toughness, her physical strength and her exactness as a skier.
“I think she is so stable,” Strachova said. “She’s cool.”
Resi Stiegler of Jackson, Wyoming, finished tied for 10th, giving the U.S. two skiers in the top 10 in the third World Cup race in Aspen in three days.
It marked the first time Shiffrin has raced on three consecutive days since she joined the World Cup tour.
Shiffrin described Saturday’s historic victory in Aspen as “a dream.”
“I felt good (Saturday). But I felt like I could even raise the bar more (Sunday),” Shiffrin said.
Shiffrin also nearly won the giant slalom Friday afternoon in Aspen.
After posting the fastest first grand slalom run, she was leading the race when she slipped down just two gates from the finish line.
Her anger at that mishap provided motivation, she said, answering with back-to-back slalom wins in Aspen.
American Paula Moltzan of Minnesota completed the first run Sunday but didn’t advance to the 30-skier second run.
Lila Lapanja of Truckee, California, who made her first World Cup start Saturday, completed her first Cup run Sunday. The NorAm slalom champion from last season did not qualify for a second run.
Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia, who finished second to Shiffrin on Saturday, skied out early in the first run Sunday.