Mikaela Shiffrin finished 15th and 16th in two super-G races in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Wednesday, her second and third times competing in super-G since 2010.
Shiffrin, 19 and the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever, hopes to start racing super-Gs on the top-level World Cup circuit this winter. Super-Gs require faster skiing than Shiffrin’s two regular disciplines, slalom and giant slalom, which emphasize turns with more gates.
Her results Wednesday, in FIS races against shallower fields than World Cups, showed that adding speed is no easy endeavour.
“[Tuesday], I felt really awesome [in training], but today I took my foot off the gas little bit on the first run,” Shiffrin said, according to Ski Racing Magazine. “On the second run, I got more air than I anticipated, and I didn’t know how to handle that. I’m trying to take it all in stride and learn as much as I can.”
Shiffrin’s aim before Wednesday was to make her World Cup super-G debut in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21. The 15th- and 16th-place finishes, while more than one second behind the winners, essentially qualified her to be eligible for Val d’Isere.
“We’ll see. I have some stuff to work on in my slalom — and my GS, too. We’ll see if it ends up working out,” Shiffrin said, according to Ski Racing. “The goal was to give myself a chance, and I think I’ll be able to do that now. … I think it’s a little dream that I have to race the World Championship super-G [in Beaver Creek, Colo., in February] so I can race three races in my hometown — that would be so cool. But I don’t really want to race unless I have a shot at winning.”
Shiffrin won her first World Cup giant slalom race Oct. 25, her first race of the season. She finished 11th in her second race of the season, a slalom in Levi, Finland, on Saturday. Shiffrin won in Levi in 2013 and had prevailed in four of the final five slaloms last season.
U.S. veteran speed racers Laurenne Ross and Alice McKennis beat Shiffrin in both races Wednesday. Neither Lindsey Vonn nor Julia Mancuso competed.
No more than four skiers per nation can race in each World Championships event. Even if Shiffrin wants to compete in the World Championships super-G, she has her work cut out.