Shiffrin hosts social-media session with teammates Thursday from self-quarantine
VAIL — If this skiing thing doesn’t work out, Mikaela Shiffrin might have a future in late-night television.
The three-time World Cup champion hosted a fireside chat Thursday on Instagram, taking questions from viewers and checking in with teammates on the U.S. Ski Team, including Steven Nyman, Bryce Bennett and cross-country skier Jessie Diggins.
And, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would have been proud, as Shiffrin was actually sitting in front of a fire during the session.
“My back is melting,” she joked.
Given this was meant to be the week of World Cup finals in Cortina, Italy, the event canceled two weeks ago because of the novel coronavirus, it was a well-timed social-media event for American ski-racing fans.
“Everybody is stressed and, no doubt, frustrated and worried about the COVID-19 situation,” Shiffrin said during the opening. “I think it’s important to keep the faith this is going to get better. There’s a lot of doomsday talk out there, but there are so many out there risking their lives to take care of the sick.”
Shiffrin went on to praise all the medical community and others dealing with the crisis.
Like most of America, Shiffrin is spending time at home. Having returned from Europe, she and her family are self-quarantining. With regard to her travel abroad, Shiffrin said she feels fine.
Of course, Mikaela, Eileen and Taylor are still grieving the loss of the family’s patriarch, Jeff, on Feb. 2.
“Again, it’s trying to find perspective,” Mikaela said when asked about how she is dealing with the loss. “People out there have it worse than you. … This is awkward. With losing my dad this February, one of the first things I thought about was you can you survive as a family being left behind? I know that sounds like it’s selfish. How is this even survivable?”
Ironically, as Shiffrin understandably struggled to articulate her thoughts on this delicate subject, the feed cut out.
“Inopportune timing there. I’m OK,” she said when the stream returned. “Whatever you’re doing, find something to be thankful for. It’s very important these days.”
In response to a question about the World Cup season being curtailed due to weather and COVID-19, Shiffrin described it as “a strange end to a strange year.” She said she felt she “got over a hurdle” by going to Are, Sweden, for those scheduled races and yet at the same time was happy they were canceled.
“I felt grateful to come back home. The entire time, I wanted to be back home,” she said.
Shiffrin showed her diplomatic side when asked about her favorite World Cup venue. While, of course, she loves every venue, she seemed split between two sites.
“I love racing in Flachau,” Shiffrin said. “The crowd is so big and amazing. Austria has such a passion and history for ski racing. For the same reason, I love Killington. It’s home, and we also get the biggest crowds.”
Nell steals the show
By and large, Shiffrin was her down-to-earth self with her “guests.”
Nyman, from Utah, was the first to join Shiffrin as guest, but his daughter, Nell, 2, unquestionably won the Adorable Prize, were it to exist. The two showed off her snow cave into which Nyman can fit, meaning it’s a big snow cave.
Another important disclosure, under the category of “things toddlers do,” was that Nell ate half of a stick of butter recently, while dad wasn’t watching.
“Maybe try putting it on something next time,” Shiffrin joked.
When sharing the screen with Bennett, the two discussed how fans ask them about skiing powder and that they are more into the corduroy because, well, that’s closer to what they ski on the World Cup.
A lot like most Americans these days, Bennett and Shiffrin discussed their favorite television shows and what they are streaming. Shiffrin remains a devoted fan of “Schitt’s Creek.”
Shiffrin and Diggins appeared to get along famously. They started by talking about how the World Cup cross-country event scheduled this month for Minneapolis was canceled because of the virus. Diggins is from Afton, Minnesota.
Diggins just had a book, “Brave Enough,” published last week and was scheduled to do a promotional tour. While that’s a no-go, Shiffrin heartily endorsed her friend’s new work.
Mikaela Shiffrin did a lot of soul searching after she didn’t win a medal and didn’t finish three of her five individual races at last year’s Beijing Olympics after entering the games amid enormous expectations.