Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin plans to make her anticipated World Cup speed event debut in a super-G in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21, U.S. Alpine skiing technical coach Roland Pfeifer told The New York Times.
Pfeifer also said Shiffrin has the ability to beat Lindsey Vonn, who won Olympic super-G bronze in 2010 and the World Championship in 2009.
“Definitely she can beat Vonn, especially in the technical super-Gs like Beaver Creek [Colo.],” Pfeifer told the newspaper. “If Mikaela didn’t think she had a chance to win, we would not start racing super-G now.”
Shiffrin, who became the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever in Sochi, hopes to branch out from skiing only slalom and giant slalom her first three seasons on tour. Proficiency in speed events would help Shiffrin’s quest to win the World Cup overall title, combining results across slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill and super combined races.
Shiffrin won her first career World Cup giant slalom (in a tie) in the season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 25, giving her confidence that she could move up to the faster super-G and, later down the line, the even faster downhill.
Pfeifer mentioned Beaver Creek, which will host the World Championships in February. Shiffrin and Vonn both hope to compete in the super-G there.
Shiffrin and Vonn have not been in the same race since Jan. 27, 2013, when they both skied a slalom in Maribor, Slovenia.
Shiffrin will race in a slalom in Levi, Finland, on Saturday. She won the Levi race last year and its unique prize — a reindeer she named Rudolph.
Vonn plans to return for speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, the first weekend of December.