Mikaela Shiffrin finished sixth in a World Cup giant slalom in front of home fans in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday.
Shiffrin, who became the youngest Olympic slalom champion in Sochi, improved from 10th place after the first of two runs. She dealt with a stomach illness this week.
“It seemed like an insurmountable gap,” Shiffrin said of being 2.23 seconds behind going into the second run. “If I keep improving my skiing, and I get a little bit more confidence, I might be able to make up that kind of a gap someday.”
She finished 1.71 seconds behind Austrian Eva-Maria Brem, who won her first World Cup race. Another Austrian, Kathrin Zettel, was second followed by Italian Federica Brignone.
“It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now,” Brem said. “I tried to push the second run because I thought if I don’t win this now, I will never get over it.”
Shiffrin, 19, gave up her World Cup overall lead to Zettel, though the season is still very young.
Shiffrin won her first World Cup giant slalom in the season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 25. She’s aiming to expand from her specialty of slalom this season by adding victories in giant slalom and debuting in super-G.
Watch Shiffrin in the Aspen giant slalom on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET. Shiffrin will then ski her best event, the slalom, live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra on Sunday from 3-4 p.m. ET.