Mikaela Shiffrin gets 2020-21 World Cup slate with no stateside races this season
VAIL — The International Ski Federation announced on Saturday that Saalbach, Austria, will host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2025.
Saalbach beat out Garmisch, Germany, and Crans Montana, Switzerland, and last hosted the championships in 1993. Austria will be hosting worlds for the first time in 12 years (Schladming, 2013), which is an eternity for the Land of Mountains.
This will be the ninth time Austria, the premier ski power in the world, is doing the honors since the event started in 1931.
The 2021 worlds are in Cortina, Italy, in February and Courchevel-Meribel, France, takes its turn in 2023. The United States has only hosted four times with Aspen in 1950 and Vail/Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999 and 2015.
Also on Saturday, FIS officially set its schedule for the 2020-21 World Cup season. While previously announced, there will be no North American stops due to COVID-19 on the tour. That includes the usual Birds of Prey men’s stop in Beaver Creek as well as visits to Lake Louise, Alberta (men and women), and Killington, Vermont (women).
Killington is a particular favorite of Mikaela Shiffrin. Not only are the races there the only on American snow for the women, but she went to nearby Burke Academy.
After the traditional giant slalom opener in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 17, the season starts in earnest with a parallel event in Lech/Zurs, Austria (Nov. 13). On what would be Killington weekend, the women are in Levi, Finland, for two slaloms (Nov. 21-22).
The first speed races of the year are now in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Dec. 5-6, when the women would usually be in Lake Louise and the men in Beaver Creek.
Fun with numbers
With the slate out, some observations:
- Advantage tech racers: There are only 15 speed events and 19 tech races.
- Shiffrin has won at every site hosting a World Cup giant slalom or slalom this season, except for Lech/Zurs, which has not hosted the circuit since December 1994. Shiffrin was born March 13, 1995.
- Shiffrin has four World Cup wins each in Levi, Courchevel, Semmering, Austria, Zagreb, Croatia, and Maribor, Slovenia, all stops on the white circus this season. She also has won four times in Are, Sweden, thrice on the World Cup and once at worlds in 2019.
- Speaking of worlds, Shiffrin has never competed in a World Cup tech event in Cortina. The Italian resort is traditionally a speed stop for the ladies. Nonetheless, Shiffrin won a super-G there on Jan. 20, 2019. While her focus during the championships is usually GS and slalom (she’s won this discipline in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019), she should be set up to compete in speed, if she so chooses.
- What about China? The women are scheduled to head out to Yanqing after worlds for a downhill and a super-G. This is relevant for Shiffrin because it’s the much-delayed test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics. While post-worlds is generally a bit of rest time for Shiffrin, this might be a go because she seems to like Olympic medals (gold in slalom in 2014 and a win in GS in 2018).
- World Cup finals are in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The last two times this course hosted finals in 2013 and 2014, some woman named Shiffrin won the slalom to close out the season.
Women’s Nordic combined will not be in the Olympics in 2026, preventing the Winter Games from reaching gender equality. The International Olympic Committee elected to not add the sport to the schedule on Friday.
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