Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin posts top-10 in Val d’Isere; Tina Weirather wins

Leave a comment

Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather was untouchable, while American Mikaela Shiffrin scored her third giant slalom top-10 this season in Val d’Isere, France, on Sunday.

Weirather upped her overall World Cup lead with her second win and sixth podium this season, posting a two-run time of 2 minutes, 24.10 seconds. Swiss Lara Gut was second, .73 behind, followed by Swede Maria Pietilae-Holmner.

Shiffrin improved from 12th after the first run to finish eighth.

“I was really tired coming from the U.S. to here, and I had to rethink how I was doing things, making sure I was getting my recoveries,” Shiffrin said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Before this race I actually got some rest, and I felt a lot better today, which just means that I have to ski faster. So it’s good and bad, but I’m very happy with a top-10.”

Shiffrin, 18, is the world’s best slalom skier but worked on improving her giant slalom in the offseason. In four giant slaloms this season, she’s finished sixth, second, DNF and eighth, putting her in the medal threat mix for Sochi.

“I’m really excited with where I’m taking my giant slalom right now,” Shiffrin said. “In training I’m skiing faster than in racing, so I have a lot of potential, but the trick is getting the training skiing into the races.”

Julia Mancuso, the 2006 Olympic giant slalom champion, failed to finish her second run after posting the 19th-fastest first run.

Gut dominated the World Cup circuit to start the season, but it’s been Liechtenstein’s Weirather who has taken control going into the holidays. She has finished second or better in at least one downhill, super-G and giant slalom this season.

Liechtenstein has not won an Olympic medal since 1988.

“Today was a very great day for me,” Weirather said, according to AFP. “It feels awesome for me to get a first win in the giant slalom.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Lienz, Austria, on Saturday.

Val d’Isere Giant Slalom
1. Tina Weirather (LIE) 2:24.10
2. Lara Gut (SUI) 2:24.83
3. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 2:25.05
4. Federica Brignone (ITA) 2:25.21
5. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 2:25.26
6. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (SWE) 2:25.27
7. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 2:25.28
8. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:25.57
9. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 2:25.74
10. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 2:25.79
26. Megan McJames (USA) 2:27.97
DNF. Julia Mancuso (USA)

Ligety beaten, career best for another American

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
Leave a comment

After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

Leave a comment

Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career