Mikaela Shiffrin not only won a reindeer in Levi, Finland, on Saturday, but also a backseat interview with Santa Claus.
Santa asked the 18-year-old from Vail, Colo., if she had been to Levi before (yes, last year) and what she thought of the Finland ski resort north of the Arctic Circle.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s the North Pole, basically. I mean, I got a reindeer today, and now I’m having an interview with Santa.”
Santa then asked Shiffrin what she thought about Christmas.
“I love Christmas,” she said. “It’s my favorite holiday. … It’s snowy and there’s lights everywhere. Yummy cookies.”
As for the Reindeer, which Shiffrin named Rudolph?
“I’m going to follow its growth,” Shiffrin said. “It’s staying here in Levi. Hopefully when I come back next year, I’ll be able to visit, maybe ride it. I want to look it face to face again.”
Santa closed by asking her what she wanted for Christmas. (Well, what she “hoped for”) Shiffrin’s answer was unlike what most teenagers would say.
“In some ways, you make your own gift,” she said. “I’m going to try and make my own gift this season and see how far it can take my skiing.”
Shiffrin’s taken it pretty far already. She’s the reigning world champion and World Cup champion in the slalom and posted a career-best sixth place in the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26.
The World Cup tour goes to Beaver Creek, Colo., for three races Thanksgiving weekend — a downhill, super-G and giant slalom. If Shiffrin keeps with her Olympic season plans, she will race the giant slalom.
Oh yeah, Santa gave her a gift anyway, a winter hat.